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As truck crashes fatalities reach a record high in the US, safety advocates ask for lawmakers to update truck safety regulations

truckAs more and more truck traffic in the US leads to more and more truck accident fatalities, truck safety activists are pushing for  the government to revise safety regulations and laws related to truck traffic in the US.

5,600 people died in truck accidents in the US in 2021 compared to 4,965 in 2020, representing an increase of 13% from one year to the other.  This is the highest number of truck fatalities ever recorded in the US. Compared to 2010, the number of truck accident fatalities increased by 52%.

The Truck Safety Coalition released a statement pointing at multiple regulations updates that could prevent deadly truck accidents:

  • Automated Emergency Breaking (AEB) and Advance Driver Assistance System (ADAS) should be a requirement not only on large trucks but on all commercial motor vehicles
  • Setting a truck speed limit using electronic engine devices as soon as possible
  • The Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot –an under-21 pilot program for truck drivers has proven to be deadly and must be stopped
  • Abolish the Fair Labor Standards Act Motor Carrier Exemption and guarantee overtime pay to truck drivers too
  • FMCSA must complete the rulemaking that requires a knowledge test for new truck drivers
  • Protect existing safety measures and prevent them to be rolled back, especially those related to driver fatigue

Until the 1980ies truck drivers who were strongly supported by a union, the  Teamsters, had good working conditions. However the industry was deregulated during the Carter administration and trucking companies started to decrease pay and increase demand on truck drivers to the point that over the last 40 years, truck driving became one of the most difficult and demanding jobs. Trucking companies are experiencing an average 95% turnover, which indicates that most truck drivers don’t even stay in their position for a year. Last year there was a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers in the US. No wonder why the supply chain is disrupted.