The job of a Congressman is to be the voice of his or her constituents in Washington. But too often the voice of the people goes unnoticed in favor of large, wealthy special interest groups. The issue at hand: trucking regulations.
85,000 Serious TRUCKING Injuries Per Year
Tractor-trailers cause an average of 4,000 fatalities every year in our country and over 85,000 serious injuries. Accident victims, their families, and safety advocates have appealed for stricter federal regulations on the trucking industry, but their voices are being overshadowed in Congress by trucking companies that spend millions on congressional campaigns and lobbying.
The trucking industry is pushing Congress to lower the minimum age of truck drivers, eliminate required rest periods for drivers worked extended hours, and increase the overall size of big rig trailers and the amount of cargo they can carry. Additional proposals include removing company safety ratings from the Internet and blocking any increases to minimum insurance requirements.
FedEx and UPS Say Don’t Post Our Safety Ratings
Supporters of these proposals include the American Trucking Associations and major shipping companies like FedEx and UPS. They claim looser regulations will lead to fewer accidents because they will allow companies to ship more product using fewer trucks. Opponents see the potential for more accidents caused by inexperienced drivers operating bigger, heavier, and more unwieldy trucks without enough rest. Trucking companies would also be protected from public scrutiny if their safety ratings were taken down, and accident victims would be very limited in the amount of compensation they receive for injuries or wrongful death.
Proposed Legislation: Longer Hours, Heavier Cargo, Younger Drivers – Big $ to Congress
Dorothy Wert lost her husband in 2011 when he collided with a broken down truck left in the middle of the road by its inexperienced driver. One of her state representatives Bill Schuster (R-PA) has received over $335,000 from special interest groups connected to the trucking industry and recently voted in favor of an appropriations bill allowing for bigger trucks and heavier cargo. Other senators are now considering allowing truckers as young as 18 to drive big rigs across the country.
In 2004, Jane Mathis’s son and daughter-in-law were killed by a truck driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel. Thousands of accidents are caused by fatigued truck drivers, many working over 60 hours a week. Current regulations require two nights of rest for every 60 hours worked, but representatives in the House are working to eliminate that requirement. Mathis is now the vice president of the Truck Safety Coalition, but says her organization can’t compete with the money trucking companies spend in Washington, and as a result many of the trucking proposals before Congress will probably be passed.
Laurie Higginbotham lost her son in 2014 when he collided with a big rig attempting an illegal turn. Her Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has received over $100,000 from trucking groups and has repeatedly voted to loosen trucking restrictions.
Senator Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) campaign has received nearly $230,000 from the trucking industry in the past six years. He sits on the Senate Appropriates Committee and has voted in favor of bills loosening trucking regulations. Missouri resident Lisa Shrum, who lost family members in a big rig accident, visited Sen. Blunt to discuss her opposition to current trucking proposals. Although he spoke with her personally, he still voted in favor of looser restrictions. Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) is also supported by the trucking industry and took in $174,487 in campaign contributions since January 2009.
Missourians cannot depend on Congress to protect their rights. If a trucking accident has affected your family, you need the legal representation of the best Missouri lawyer for high stakes truck-related serious injury cases against the powerful insurance companies and special interest groups.
Chris Faiella specializes in serious injury cases against transportation companies and will fight aggressively to get you the compensation you and your family deserves after a trucking accident. Call today 1-800-264-3455.