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New Survey Finds Majority of Michigan Residents Reject Lowering Truck Safety Regulations

July 7, 2016 by Steven M. Gursten

A survey by MichiganAutoLaw.com finds that only 13% of Michigan residents approve of the trucking industries’ push to allow drivers to work 82 hours a week


Courtesy: Rene Schwietzke/Flickr

A majority of Michigan residents clearly want to keep truck safety standards intact. And Michigan residents also oppose efforts by the trucking industry to lower safety rules governing the trucking industry.

The survey found that only 13% approve of the trucking industries’ request of allowing drivers to work 82 hours a week.

More than 71% percent believe the HOS (hours of service) should be reduced.

This is important. Many of the more serious truck accident cases that Michigan Auto Law attorneys have litigated have involved truck drivers who were driving well over hours, or simply didn’t get enough rest.

This reflects many of the same safety violations that are the cause of so many preventable truck accidents nationwide.  According to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, nearly 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year.  Driver fatigue is a leading factor of crashes and fatalities.

It isn’t just the tractor trailer hours of service violations that are making our roads so dangerous. Size and speed are deadly combinations as well.

The recent survey shows that nearly 59% of Michigan residents disapprove of increasing the max weight limit for trucks to more than 90,000 pounds. Almost 58% disapprove of increasing the maximum length of tractor trailers to 80 feet long.

The survey results stem from the trucking industry’s recent attempt to put 18-wheelers the height of an eight-story building rumbling down the road at 65 to 70 miles per hour. They’ve also repeatedly tried to allow heavier trucks on the road, a move opposed by safety advocates.

An 80,000 pound tractor-trailer is extremely dangerous.  I remember how the truck driver in my Shekoski case described his truck as a moving brick wall, and compared it to a loaded weapon. That’s always stuck with me. The heavier the truck, the greater the chance of a serious injury accident. It’s simple physics.

Last year, Congress proposed legislation that would allow drivers as young as 18 to get behind the wheel of big rigs on the nation’s interstates. Federal regulations currently require drivers be at least 21 before they can drive commercial trucks across state line. Nearly 65% of Michigan residents oppose dropping the age any lower than that.

I’ve been interviewed many times about why younger drivers are statistically more unsafe than the rest of the driving population.  The efforts by the trucking lobby to lower the driving age of truckers is a very bad idea. Inexperience, coupled with poor driving judgment, and higher-risk behaviors all factors that when combined with putting an 18-year-old behind the wheel of a large truck is a formula for highway carnage.

To view the survey, click here.


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