Earlier this week, we began a discussion about a piece of legislation currently being considered by federal lawmakers. The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act seeks to freeze current weight and size limits for trucks and close loopholes that allow overweight trucks to continue operating.
Proponents of the bill argue that truck accidents on American roads already kill more than 4,000 people each year. If we allow the size and weight of trucks to continue to grow, the number of truck accidents and fatalities will almost assuredly rise as well.
The legislation has the support of several safety advocacy groups, as well as those who have lost loved ones in a truck accident or have been injured themselves. Research shows that the majority of Americans also support freezing the size and weight limits on trucks.
A national poll sponsored by the Trucking Safety Coalition found that 68 percent of Americans are opposed to increases in the weight of trucks, with 47 percent saying they are “strongly opposed.” Heavier trucks would also cause more damage to roads and infrastructure, and 88 percent of Americans said they are not willing to pay higher taxes to cover damages caused by heavier trucks. About 75 percent of respondents were strongly opposed to tax increases related to truck damages.
Perhaps the most compelling arguments against heavier and larger trucks are the increased risks of devastating truck accidents. Commenting on her own tragedy, a mother from here in Illinois said: “My son was hit by a drunk and drugged truck driver in 2005, and 22 surgeries later he is permanently partially disabled. In the first three years after the crash, his health care costs exceeded 1.3 million dollars and exhausted the truck company’s insurance policy.”
Others told their own stories of losing loved ones; including some who lost several family members in a single accident. If this bill passes, it will not only honor those who have been killed in truck accidents; it will almost assuredly prevent even more Americans from suffering the same fate.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “Truck Crash Victims Urge Congress To Pass Lifesaving Truck Safety Legislation Introduced In Congress Today As New Poll Shows Strong Public Opposition To Heavier Trucks,” May 7, 2013