A recent New York Times article addressed the growing rate of truck accidents across the country as well as the fatalities that follow as a result. The article referenced studies that compared the rate of deaths between those who died in commercial airline accidents versus those who have been killed in trucking accidents. Startlingly, more people have been killed this year in accidents involving trucks than the total number of people killed in the past 45 years in airline crashes.
Even with the prevalence and severity of trucking accidents, Congress has still attempted to thwart many safety procedures that have been implemented by federal regulators. For example, Congress has fought to allow truck drivers to work 82 hours over eight days. This number is 12 hours higher than is currently allowed.
Furthermore, Congress has tried to suspend the rule that drivers need to take a 34-hour break over two nights before starting their week. Additionally, Congress has even tried to lower the minimum age of drivers to 18 years old. Congress has continually pushed for these changes, even though the death toll in truck accidents has risen over 17 percent over the past five years while there has been about a three percent drop in accidents involving cars. This drop, the article suggests, is likely due to the increase in technological safety devices, of which many trucking companies oppose the widespread or mandated use. Although statistics indicate that large trucks are disproportionately responsible for fatalities, Congress continues to push for potentially dangerous rule changes.