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Over the last several years, the Bush administration has rejected tighter standards on the trucking industry and instead reduced what the trucking industry and their lobbyists have viewed as cumbersome rules. Following intense lobbying by the powerful trucking industry, regulators in the last several years have rejected proposals to tighten drivers’ hours and have instead relaxed the rules on how long truckers could be on the road. Government officials also turned down repeated requests by safety groups and insurers to require more rigorous training of new truck drivers.
By loosening standards, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was fulfilling President Bush’s pledge to free the trucking industry of “cumbersome rules.” In the last six years, the executive branch has embarked upon the boldest strategy of deregulation in a generation.
Even with restrictions on the number of hours a trucker can be on the road, it is an open secret in the trucking industry that truck drivers’ logs are routinely falsified. Truckers commonly refer to their drivers’ logs as “comic books.” Even so, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has, with support from the White House over the last 6 years, eased rules on truckers work hours, rejected proposals to impose electronic monitoring to prevent widespread cheating on drivers’ logs, and resisted calls for more rigorous training of truck drivers.
The death rate for accidents involving trucks is double the death rate for accidents involving only cars. The number of deaths each year from trucking accidents in the U.S. is the equivalent of 25 major airplane crashes annually.
There are approximately 5,000 deaths annually in truck related accidents on America’s highways. Last year, there were approximately 114,000 injuries sustained in truck accidents.