While we need to reform government we also must reform truck safety

Congratulations, we have a new president in America! We are told this will garner government reform, a new emphasis on less regulation and more competition based outcomes. We need to take a look at truck safety in America and how regulation of safety can embrace this competition oriented model. We are already headed in my opinion in the wrong direction. The Underride Roundtable threw out 30 years of victim support of energy-absorbing underride guards, the only type of guards capable of protecting motorists in higher-speed real world type crashes that kill a majority of trucking victims in favor of low-speed stiff guards that only legalize guards already on the road. In an anti-regulation environment we would be stuck with this anti-victim law well into the future.

There is already talk of a truck driver fatigue roundtable, less talk about underride guards and other critical issues and a return to the smothering all-encompassing trucking union workplace safety issue that the media loves to cover above all other issues. Truck driver fatigue kills mostly truck drivers in drive off the road crashes, in 3 to 4 % of fatal crashes the occupants of cars are involved. It is an issue that must be included in our efforts but 5 million current and retired truck drivers and one of the most powerful lobbies with millions of dollars already deal with the issue far more effectively than trucking victims can only dream of. Lane scanning and object detection warning technology will drastically reduce these type of crashes and we should place our efforts on demanding these technologies be required in new trucks. Our media efforts can no longer be wasted on issues already receiving saturated coverage at the detriment of all other issues.

America in ignoring safety and technological improvement in cars at one time fell far behind Japan in new car sales. This settling on the cheapest equipment and adopting 50-year-old solutions could come back to bite U.S. manufacturers. My grandfather used to say if it was not our best effort it was not worth doing! We must lead in safety technology or fall behind, this does meet this new emphasis on competition. High-speed real world crash testing at FHWA will encourage competition to perform well on difficult crash tests. Currently, we crash test at IIHS with low-speed ineffective for safety tests that most companies are now passing. Everyone gets an easy A! There are no winners pushing the technology envelope. We can push ourselves and lead or we can coast and fall behind again, those are the only choices.