Dawn King Op-Ed: Trucking weight bill could impact safety, infrastructure

In 2015, 4,067 people were killed in large truck crashes in the United States

Dawn King Op-Ed: Trucking weight bill could impact safety, infrastructure

I became involved in the Truck Safety Coalition after my father, Bill Badger, was killed in 2004 near the Georgia state line by a tired trucker who had fallen asleep at the wheel after driving all night and crashed into his car.

The Michigan House of Representatives just passed an anti-truck safety bill, House Bill 4418, that would grant an exemption to seasonal weight restrictions, also known as the “frost law,” for trucks carrying maple sap.

As the president of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), I have educated myself and others about different policies affecting truck safety for more than ten years. At the same time, I have advocated for laws that would enhance truck safety and defended existing truck safety laws and regulations from being rolled back. I hope that others will join me and TSC in this opportunity to stand up for safety and protect a law that protects the people by opposing HB 4418.

Granting yet another exemption to Michigan’s “frost law” contradicts the original intent of the law. Seasonal weight limits, which reduce weight limits on maximum axle loads, maximum wheel loads and gross vehicle weights for commercial motor vehicles driven on state roads from March until May were established to protect our state’s infrastructure. Because of the freezing and thawing that occurs during the aforementioned months, the roads become far more susceptible to damage caused by heavy vehicles. Therefore, allowing heavier trucks carrying maple sap during these months will result in more road damage, in turn costing the taxpayers even more.

HB 4418 also ignores Michigan’s subpar infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers found 22 percent of Michigan roads are in poor condition and 28 percent of Michigan bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Lawmakers should not be enacting this exception that will further exacerbate Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Additionally, one of the arguments for HB 4418 is based on the erroneous claim that heavier trucks will result in fewer trucks. Increasing the truck weight limit will not decrease the number of trips, result in fewer miles traveled, or improve safety by reducing the number of trucks on the highways. Despite several increases in weights of large trucks over the past few decades, the number of trucks and miles traveled on U.S. highways has consistently gone up.

The number of fatalities as a result of truck crashes in Michigan has also grown. From 2011 to 2014, total fatalities from all crashes in Michigan increased by just 1.3 percent, while fatalities from truck crashes in our state increased by 61 percent during that same time. Clearly, truck safety in our state, like infrastructure, is worsening. Michigan lawmakers must address this problem, but allowing heavier trucks is not the solution.

Bills, like this one, that increase truck weight limits industry-by-industry are nothing more than a back door strategy by special interests to come back to our state legislature in several years and lobby for heavier truck weights statewide. We should not allow this special interest hand out to pass at the expense of our infrastructure and our safety.

Dawn King is the president of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), a nonprofit that is a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT).

Link to Article: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/opinion/contributors/viewpoints/2016/03/11/king-trucking-weight-bill-impact-safety-infrastructure/81605236/

From The Truck Safety Coalition… Truck Strikes Bridge in New Jersey, Driver Arrested

A tractor trailer became wedged underneath a bridge after the driver attempted to pass through it. The crash caused debris to be scattered on the road, which led to more than three hours of traffic. While there were no injuries or fatalities as a result of this reckless driver’s actions, property damage only crashes should not be ignored. These crashes create traffic, which results in productivity loss, and cause damage to our country’s crumbling roads and bridges, which are repaired using taxpayer dollars.

Link to Article: http://patch.com/new-jersey/holmdel-hazlet/truck-gets-wedged-under-laurel-avenue-bridge-0

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

Read this Statement from Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, on the 60 Minutes Report on our Crumbling Infrastructure

Last night, 60 Minutes aired a segment on America’s infrastructure, “Falling apart: America’s neglected infrastructure.”  Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, released a statement on this report. In this statement, Ms. Gillan stated that,

The data is clear and indisputable.  Bigger trucks mean bigger infrastructure damage, bigger safety threats and bigger economic costs to the public.

Read all of Jackie Gillan’s statement here.

Daphne Izer Speaks Out – Bangor Daily News

Keep on truckin’

On June 13, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development held a hearing about our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I was confounded to hear Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, decry the dire condition of highways and bridges throughout our state since she was the lead proponent of allowing behemoth 100,000-pound trucks on our interstate.

In January 2011, I urged members of the Maine delegation to stop the 20-year congressional pilot program allowing these overweight trucks on our roads. Despite clear and compelling facts demonstrating the safety risks and damage to our infrastructure, the program was enacted.

Now, Collins says that Maine’s roads and bridges are among the worst in the nation’s rural transportation system. Well, the senator should know that large, heavy trucks are a major cause of bridge and pavement damage.

The Maine Department of Transportation estimates that to maintain state highways and bridges in good repair would cost $335 million annually — $110 million above current levels. The senator should have considered the cost to Maine’s citizens and taxpayers before supporting legislation to allow more big trucks on I-95.

Aside from the damage to our infrastructure, large truck crashes continue to claim about 4,000 lives annually. In 1993, my teenage son, Jeff, and three friends were killed by a large truck while stopped in their car in the breakdown lane of the Maine Turnpike. The chance of surviving a serious crash with a large truck is slim, and now with 100,000-pound trucks, it’s even slimmer.

Daphne Izer

Lisbon

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/20/opinion/letters/friday-june-21-2013-background-checks-wind-power-and-adult-education/