Federal studies affirm dangers of longer truck trailers | Letter

I am writing in response to Mark Rosenker’s July 28 letter, “Longer truck trailers have a good safety record.”  Nearly three years ago my husband Brad, a truck driver, was killed by a fatigued truck driver who swerved off the road and struck Brad while he was standing on the shoulder. Sadly, this crash is not unique. All too often I read about a construction worker hit by a semi in a work zone, or a family crushed in their minivan simply because the truck driver did not apply the brakes soon enough.

Yet some people in Washington believe it’s time to increase the length of double tractor trailers, from 28 feet per trailer to 33 feet. Proponents of the increase rely on one study — industry-funded junk science that claims these longer trucks to be safer. That is false.

In 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board highlighted regulators’ failure to implement more than 100 recommendations to improve truck safety, something the NTSB has long considered a top priority. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation recommended no increases in truck size, citing insufficient data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s truck size and weight study.

The study did however, affirm the dangers of longer trucks. The length increase would result in a six-foot-wider turning radius and an additional stopping distance of 22 feet. The wider turning radius could be the difference between life and death for a bicyclist next to a truck. The stopping distance of 22 feet could be the difference in a family getting home.

These differences could be what prompts yet another wife or mother to write a letter to the editor on truck safety.

Kim Telep

Link to Article: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/07/federal_studies_affirm_the_dan.html