Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Assault on safety


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.

Thank you.

Special Dad

Special Dad

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

12 thoughts on “Assault on safety

  1. We saw this on the news last night and also a second one but I think the second one the bus actually rain into the truck. I think the only real safe option is just to have ‘truck only roads’ – that would be nice not to have to deal with them


  2. I’ll call today.


  3. Here’s the vote result. The Cartwright amendment was voted down. If you see your Representative in the No count, please email them and express disappointment that they don’t even want a study regarding minimum insurance requirements.


  4. Done. Done right away. Thanks to you, Dawn.


  5. I am so sorry I missed this, Dawn, and the opportunity to tell my (idiot) representative my thoughts on the matter (although I’ll be sure to do so now that I know his was a No vote, but I wouldn’t have expected anything more from him).

    I was reading this blog article:

    And there is a section about wording that made me think of you and your work with truck safety, and the way these things are worded in the media (or at least in the local media here). Here’s the example given for using concrete words (rather than vague words) for more impact:

    “Psychologists Nisbett and Ross offered this – unhappy:-(– example of why concrete specifics are more impactful than general statements. Compare your reaction to these two sentences: “Jack was injured by a semitrailer that rolled over on his car and crushed his legs.” vs. “Jack sustained injuries in an auto accident.”

    To paraphrase Nisbett and Ross, when semitrailers roll over on people and crush them, it is time to take action – whether to reinforce passenger compartments, crack down on speed violations, or at least decide to wear your own seat belt. In contrast, when someone “sustains injuries in an auto accident,” it’s just one of those unfortunate things that sometimes happen.”


    • We don’t call them accidents when they are preventable…they are crashes. I agree the news needs to step up to the task and realize that a crash is more than just a traffic delay.


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