It has been more than 30 years since my father, James Mooney, was killed in a large truck crash. He was driving on a dark rural road at a time when truck conspicuity was barely a consideration. I see too many crashes, like the one that occurred in Pierce County, Nebraska, this past June, in which the truck driver rear-ended a stationary vehicle, which constantly reminds me of the dangers posed by large trucks and underscores legislators’ inaction to improve truck safety.
The recently passed long-term Senate highway bill is a step back, and the greatest assault to public safety on our roads since losing my father (“Work together on roads, U.S. transportation chief says in Nebraska,” Aug. 12). While I support a “robust freight policy,” it should not come at the expense of more deaths and injuries. Provisions in the bill, like allowing 18- to 20-year-old interstate [truck] drivers and permitting greater exemptions to hours-of-service requirements do not advance public safety. Actual safety advances, like mandating forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems on all large trucks, should be a key component in the re-authorization bill.
The current Senate legislation does not reflect a consideration for safety, nor a consideration for families. Lawmakers should realize the lasting effects of a six-year surface transportation re-authorization bill and engage in a thoughtful deliberation about a “robust” safety title.
Jennifer Tierney, Kernersville, N.C