Most of you know that my dad was killed by a tired trucker in 2004, and that since then I’ve been working with the Truck Safety Coalition trying to make changes in the interest of safety.
Today there was a semi and tourist bus crash in Pennsylvania. At least 3 people on the bus are dead and more are injured, some critically. I usually like to reserve judgement until we know the cause, but photos seem to indicate the semi crossed the median and the tour bus struck the trailer of the semi in the center, breaking it in two. There are photos showing the dark gash through the median, the front of the bus buried inside what’s left of the semi trailer.
Multiple dead, multiple injured. People who were here from Italy just enjoying the sights on a beautiful day. And on this same beautiful day I received an urgent message from Truck Safety to call my House Representative because the trucking industry is leading a full assault on safety in the latest appropriations bill.
Among other things they want to take away funding for a study that will determine whether the current minimum liability insurance commercial carriers are required to carry should be increased. The minimum amount of insurance is $750,000. That hasn’t been raised or reviewed in over 35 years.
Think about medical expenses which have skyrocketed in the past 35 years. Then consider there hasn’t even been a cost of living increase.
Think, too, about multiple people injured in a crash who need intensive medical attention. Did you know all claims from a crash are paid from the total available liability insurance? So if the company has the minimum $750,000 of insurance, and there are, for example, four injuries or any other claims for that matter, they all split the total. The minimum won’t be nearly enough, and expenses over and above have to be covered by the families. And when the families run out of money taxpayers pick up the rest in the form of medicaid.
The trucking industry would rather all of us shoulder the cost of crashes caused by their race for profits.
So on this beautiful day people were killed and injured through no fault of their own. And at the same time Congress is getting ready to pass a bill that will gut our ability to even get the minimum insurance requirements studied. The trucking industry appears to be in charge of our Representatives.
But there’s an amendment that will negate the part of the bill which would defund the minimum insurance study. It’s called the Cartwright Amendment, and it will be voted on very soon, perhaps tonight, perhaps tomorrow. Possibly Friday.
Here’s how you can help.
Call or email your House Representative. You can find out who it is by going to this site and putting in your zip code. Tell your Member of Congress to vote for the Cartwright Amendment which will remove the provision to defund rulemaking on minimum insurance in the THUD Appropriations Bill. Tell them that minimum insurance that hasn’t been increased or even reviewed in 35 years is not acceptable. Tell them that anti-safe trucking measures don’t belong in an appropriations bill.
Tell them you care about safety on our roads. That you believe they should stand up for safety rather than profits.
You can make a difference.