While speaking with chambers of commerce, Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, told Oklahomans “… we shouldn’t have to be afraid of anything.” Yet I am afraid of driving next to longer trucks, and I am afraid of driving next to inexperienced and under-trained teenage interstate truck drivers. Thirteen years ago, my son was killed when a tired truck driver slammed his semi into the rear of his car at 75 miles per hour. Since the crash, I have worked to ensure that trucking is safer so another family doesn’t have to experience the grief that we do. Unfortunately, the safety rollbacks and missed opportunities in the Senate’s multiyear transportation bill, which Lankford supported, constitute the worst changes to truck safety since losing my son.
If Lankford actually cared about not “(putting) our sons and daughters in harm’s way,” then he shouldn’t have voted to make trucking less safe. Fatalities from all crashes between 2009 and 2013 in Oklahoma decreased by 8 percent, while fatalities from crashes involving large trucks during that same period increased by 19 percent. More than 500 Oklahomans were killed in large truck crashes during that time. Instead of mandating safety reforms, like speed governors and forward-collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems, which would save lives, Lankford voted for handouts for trucking companies. He voted to weaken safety for Oklahoma families.
Linda Wilburn, Weatherford, OK