Truck Regulation Rollback Could Cause More Wilmington Truck Accidents
Between 2009 and 2013, there was a 17 percent increase in truck accident deaths, according to New York Times. For four years in a row, the number of deaths in truck involved crashes went up. Many of the people killed who died in truck collisions were passengers in cars other than the truck, and the rising number of people killed in truck-involved accidents happened at the same time as a three percent drop in overall car accident fatalities occurred.
Rising truck crash rates continue to be a big problem, which is what prompted the New York Times to publish this troubling data on truck accident deaths in an op-ed entitled: The Trucks are Killing Us. The op-ed lamented the fact that the trucking industry was having great success in getting regulations rolled back or repealed, even at the same time as truck crash rates were going up. While several important regulations had been repealed at the time of the New York Times op-ed, the situation is soon going to get a lot worse!
Some very important regulations designed to reduce truck accidents have been rolled back over the past several years. For example, a rule was suspended which required drivers to take a 34-hour rest break which spanned two overnight periods in order to restart the clock once they had driven the maximum allowable weekly hours. This rest break rule was one of many regulations that the trucking industry has been trying hard to get lawmakers to overturn for a long time. The suspension of the rest break rule was tacked on to a must-pass spending bill in congress, because otherwise it would not have passed.
Efforts at repealing regulations were largely stymied over the past year, despite some rollbacks such as the rest break requirement. The efforts to undo other rules and to loosen regulations on the trucking industry failed because of divided government. But the Republican House and Senate, and the president and congress both have expressed a strong commitment to cutting back on regulations.
CNBC indicates: "The American Trucking Associations is vowing to come back next month, when both the White House and Congress will be under Republican control, and seek to block state laws that require additional rest breaks for truckers beyond what federal rules require." The industry is also interested in achieving other goals with the help of a friendly congress, including upping the weight limit on trucks to 90,000 pounds and increasing the maximum truck length to 33 feet. Safety advocates are concerned about the impact these rollbacks could have on road safety, but it is a virtual certainty the rules will be relaxed when it comes to the trucking industry.