Comparisons of trucking to a slaughterhouse are unwarranted.

Comparisons of trucking to a slaughterhouse are unwarranted.

Slaughtered. The dictionary on my computer defines it as "kill (people or animals) in a cruel or violent way, typically in large numbers : innocent civilians are being slaughtered." The use of this word by the "Truck Safety Coalition" in the context of truck accidents is irresponsible and reprehensible.

As two competing bills on Capitol Hill renew the debate on truck size and weight as the next highway bill approaches, the Truck Safety Coalition put out a release supporting The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA), sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA). The bill would freeze current federal truck size and weight limits, close  loopholes that allow operation of overweight trucks, expand the highways where the limits are in force, and increase enforcement.

"Every year more than 4,000 people are slaughtered on our nation's highways while corporate trucking and shipping interests continue to push Congress for heavier trucks," said Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) in a press release. "Heavy trucks are deadly, dangerous and destructive. Families are paying with their lives and with their wallets."

"Slaughter" implies an intentional act -- and I'm quite certain it was used by the "truck safety" advocates to invoke exactly that impression.

The Federal Highway Administration is already working on a study on truck size and weight limits, to be completed by November 2014, as required by last year’s MAP-21 highway law. During a pilot project allowing heavier trucks on interstate highways in Maine, there were 14 fewer truck crashes compared with the previous year and no fatalities involving the heavier tractor-trailer configurations.

In their release, these safety advocates trot out surveys and heartrending testimony of truck crash "victims" (again, painting truckers as evildoers out to purposely hurt, maim and kill in the name of profit). Yet where are the studies, the statistics, the research? These groups rely instead on fearmongering and character assassination of the trucking industry.

About the author
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Editor and Associate Publisher

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology.

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