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Road Safe America cites hike in big rig crash deaths, again calls for speed limiters

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Road Safe America said statistics show that from 2009 to 2016, miles driven by heavy commercial trucks slightly decreased while the crashes involving them continually increased.  (FOTOSEARCH)

ATLANTA — Road Safe America Tuesday federal crash data it had analyzed showed that all but six U.S. states had increases in big-rig truck crash deaths from 2009 to 2017, the most recent year of available data.

From 2009 through 2017, a total of 35,882 people died in large truck crashes, the organization said in a news release.

“The sad fact is that many of these deaths could have been avoided if use of existing speed limiting and automatic emergency braking technologies had been the law,” said Steve Owings, co-founder of the highway-safety non-profit Road Safe America.

Statistics show that from 2009 to 2016, miles driven by heavy commercial trucks slightly decreased while the crashes involving them continually increased.

The data shows the top five states with the greatest number of truck crash fatalities in 2017 were in order: Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The five states with the largest percentage increases in truck crash deaths from 2009 to 2017 were, in order of greatest increase – Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Texas and Nevada.

“Most of the states in this top five list have truck speed limits of 70 mph or more,” Owings said. “There is no good reason for big rigs that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, or more in some states, to be operating at speeds this high since they cannot stop in the same distance in an emergency as vehicles with which they share the roads.

“Yet, unlike many other leading nations, our country does not require the use of automatic emergency braking or even speed limiters, which would help to save lives of people in passenger vehicles and professional truck drivers, too. In fact, required use of speed limiters is so prevalent around the world that they have been built into America’s big-rig trucks since the 1990s.  So, all that is needed is a requirement to turn them on and set them at a reasonable top speed such as 65 mph. A recent national survey found 80 percent of voters across all demographics join us in calling for these requirements.”

In 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Newsal Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposed equipping heavy-duty vehicles with devices that limit their speeds on U.S. roadways, and requiring those devices be set to a maximum speed, a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.

However, the NPRM never gained any traction.

Most industry stakeholders said the initiative fell victim to President Donald Trump’s order to reduce federal regulatory efforts.

Owings said speed governors improve truck safety by limiting the top speed a truck can travel, thus allowing a truck driver to have more time to avoid a crash or reduce the severity of crashes that do still occur.

Most big-rigs already use them for this same reason and because doing so saves fuel, improving profitability, he said.

Automatic emergency braking also enhances safety on our roads by alerting truck drivers of slow-moving and non-moving objects and then applying the brakes if the drivers fail to for whatever reason, Owings said.

“Road Safe America encourages all trucking companies who have not already done so, to cap the maximum speed of their fleets by setting their speed limiters at 65mph and to install AEB on every truck,” Owings said. “We also encourage the public to learn more about these life-saving technologies by visiting our website: .

 

 

 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Lisa Schmitt

    January 29, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    UM Let me explain something to you. A car doing 80, coming up over a hill, to a semi doing 65 Will cause MORE accidents. Do any of you even DRIVE a truck???

  2. Shaq

    January 30, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    The automatic braking system does more harm then good. I nearly jackknifed because of that system.

  3. JEFFREY B DUGGER

    February 1, 2019 at 4:49 am

    The accidents are caused by these commercial truck co. not by the drivers or speed of truck’s. These companies hide behind the ELD, FORCED dispatch, abusive treatment of drivers. These companies have a very high rate of driver turn over. The dispatched pick up and del. times are always off/short, such as having about one hour left to drive and dispatched for a pick up 90 miles away in heavy traffic, and the driver is fired if he or she doesn’t make it. The truck companies looking for drivers on The Trucker are part of the commercial companies that are the bad guys here. Remember we honor our drivers and get our drivers home, NOT, when they allow you home time after being hired.

  4. Pjen

    February 1, 2019 at 5:07 am

    Just keep on assuming every accident is the truck drivers fault…everyone else does

  5. Talbot

    February 1, 2019 at 6:36 am

    ok then limit all autos cars trucks everything problem solved cars run a lot faster than trucks and cause most of the accidents from doing dumb things sorry but i have been out there and seen it all.

    • Judy Ochs

      February 1, 2019 at 10:00 am

      Make the cars who always pull over to the side of the highway to take their dog to go pee or do that themselves with their flashers on, go to an on ramp instead… Common sense.. We have to move to the other lane when these idiots pull over on the side of the highway for stupid reasons.. Cars are almost ALWAYS the cause of semi crashes… No one wants to take someone’s life so we do what we have to to avoid that so we don’t have to live our life out knowing we killed someone… The authorities do NOTHING to keep cars from cutting us off or tailgate us or brake check us.. The dash cam is the most valuable thing we can use… But yet, we are always at fault…

  6. Tony Jenkins

    February 2, 2019 at 11:03 am

    i’ve noticed that people who want these limiters are people who’ve never drove a truck. How many people at ata have drove a truck and yet they know what’s best for drivers. They say people want speed limiters on big trucks, that’s because their only getting one side of the whole story.

  7. Jason

    May 31, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    If you notice this BS is the work of the ATA which is nothing but a scumbag organization for the big carriers that are already forced to govern there trucks to 65mph or less because they put inexperienced morons in there trucks that have no business driving a truck by themselves and there insurance carriers will not insure them unless there trucks are governed!!!! So basically the ATA does not like the fact that a owner operator or small trucking company can legally run the speed limit and the ATA wants everybody to be punished for there stupidity!!!

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Michigan Democrat wants businesses, trucks to pay more for road repair

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Michigan House Minority Leader Christine Greig says new ideas need to be brought to the table for how to fund road repairs in the state. She and her colleagues have introduced a proposal that would increase corporate taxes and institute a 6-cents-a-mile tax on heavy trucks and a bridge toll on tractor trailers. (AP: David Eggert)

LANSING, Mich. — With state Republicans lawmakers firmly opposed to a 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax hike, Democrats want businesses to do more to help fix the state’s roads.

A new $1.2 billion proposal from House Democrats would raise the state’s corporate tax, create a new 6-cents-a-mile tax for heavy trucks and charge bridge tolls to tractor trailers. It also includes portions of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget plan, such as raising taxes on certain businesses so they are taxed the same as traditional corporations and restoring tax breaks for pensioners.

House Minority Leader Christine Greig said Democrats agree with the Democratic governor’s call for $2.5 billion in new revenue and know that a fuel tax increase would likely be part of any final deal.

“We just felt it was important that we brought other ideas in since we haven’t seen anything other than a shell game and shifting around revenue from the Republicans, but yet they’ve said that they’re not going to support a 45-cent gas increase. So let’s put some new ideas on the table to get us to the $2.5 billion,” she said Friday.

By releasing the plan, Democrats risked looking like they oppose Whitmer’s fuel tax hike, which Republicans, who control the Legislature, have said is going nowhere and which Democrats have not introduced as legislation. Greig said Democrats are “100% supportive” of generating new revenue and their proposal is based on feedback from constituents.

“We just think that if you’re really struggling to a negotiation, that implies that you bring a bunch of different ideas and come up with a compromise,” she said.

Some in the business lobby have said raising gasoline and diesel taxes is simple and fair because everyone pays, including companies that move goods or have employees on the roads. But Greig said what they pay is not “proportionate.”

“To attract business, to attract talent, to keep our communities strong that support businesses, we have to have good roads and bridges,” she said, noting that businesses saw a $1 billion-plus tax cut under a 2011 overhaul enacted by Republicans. “Since that happened, we’ve seen our roads and infrastructure deteriorate. We’ve seen our ranking in schools drop nationally. So something is not right. To put this all on the backs of individuals is shortsighted.”

Increasing the 6% corporate income tax to 8.5% and raising taxes on flow-through entities, Greig said, would lead to businesses paying $800 million more annually — but still less than they were before the 2011 change. Assessing a vehicle-miles-traveled tax on the two heaviest classes of trucks would generate $390 million from those who cause the most road damage, she said, while the bridge tolls — based on a unique program in Rhode Island — would raise about $50 million.

Road-funding and budget negotiations are expected to extend into the summer as legislators scale back their voting days starting this coming week.

Greig urged the business community to “come to the table and say, ‘We will accept contributing more directly to the solution.’”

Republicans and business groups oppose raising business taxes, however, saying lower taxes help the economy. To soften the impact of a 45-cent gas tax increase by easing the tax burden on seniors, Whitmer has proposed boosting taxes on 150,000 corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies whose income is passed through to the entities’ owners and taxed at the personal rate of 4.25 percent. The Senate’s Republican leader has called it “stupid.”

So far, the main component to emerge from Republicans’ road-funding work is a budget plan in the House that would ultimately ensure $850 million in sales tax being collected at the pump goes to roads, without raising taxes. The revenue now primarily is dedicated to schools and municipalities.

Greig said it is “confusing” that a portion of fuel taxes funds other priorities and she has no problem “cleaning up revenue streams.” But new revenue should be generated to replace it, she said.

“They’re not doing that. That’s the problem,” she said. “We’re basically doing it on the backs of local governments and kids, frankly.”

Big rig loaded with mail crashes in Little Rock; tractor ends up on guard rail

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Part of a tractor hangs over the Interstate 440 railing after the driver couldn’t decide which ramp to take and crashed. (Courtesy: ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The old saying about those who deliver the mail goes something like this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

But Sunday some indecision did.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation posted on its social media site that the driver of a tractor-trailer carrying a load of mail couldn’t decide which ramp to take off Interstate 440 Terminal Interchange with Interstate 30 and ended up striking the guard rail.

The tractor separated from the trailer and wound up hanging partially over the bridge railing.

Officials said one of the tractor’s fuel tanks became dislodged and fell onto Interstate 30 below causing an explosion and fire.

The driver was taken to a hospital, but her condition is unknown.

Traffic was delayed on both I-30 and I-440 which is the main thoroughfare between Little Rock and the Bill and Hillary Clinton Newsal Airport.

 

 

Colorado DOT kicks off project to install media cable barriers on I-25

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DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation kicked off a seven-month project in June that aims to install new median cable barriers along Interstate 25 between Pueblo and Colorado Springs as a safety measure to prevent median crossover crashes.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Colorado agency noted in a June 14 statement that it is using a “multi-phased approach” based on vehicle crash history and traffic volumes to specifically locate the new cable median barriers – part of its Whole System – Whole Safety initiative that takes a systematic approach to safety that includes driving behaviors, the built environment, and operations.

“Improving the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving safety conditions for travelers is our main goal,” Shoshana Lew, executive director of the Colorado DOT, said in a statement. “The statewide program’s whole system approach is unique in how it brings together all areas of the driving experience, resulting in improved and enhanced safety for motorists.”

The $3.5 million project – expected to be completed by December – will remove any existing barrier structures and replace it with media cable barrier along with “added offset” from the travel lane and flattened median side slopes.

That will continue to eliminate vehicle cross-over crashes, the agency noted, while additionally reducing nuisance hits as the northbound cable barrier can be removed. The net effect will allow better maintenance access, reduced maintenance costs, better traffic flow, and further enhancing safety, Colorado DOT said.

A 68-page study wrapped up last year by the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University determined that cable median barriers “significantly” reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities and injuries, though they do lead to an increase in “property-damage only” crashes, according to the collected data examined by the school’s researchers.

That study found that out of the 6,718 median-related crashes it examined over a nine-year period stretching from 2007 to 2015, cable media barrier safety devices reduced fatalities, incapacitating injuries, and non-incapacitating injuries by 68.7, 36.8, and 23.9 percent, respectively.

 

 

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