Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Two more dead


Wednesday near Charlotte NC a Swift semi ran off the road and hit a bridge. Watch this two minute news video that cites statistics about Swift, a large national carrier. These two deaths are numbers 56 and 57 for the truck company in the past two years. Other articles I’ve found say that Swift has been cited over 4000 times during the past two years for driving violations.

I don’t know how much more has to happen before the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stops rating them as acceptable.

As many of you know I work with the Truck Safety Coalition, and we’ve been fighting to lower the maximum number of hours a driver can drive before having to take an extended rest break. It’s an uphill battle, with small victories later repealed by legislation backed by the deep pockets of the American Trucking Association which is out to maximize truck company profits. A news report yesterday said fatigue of the driver was a likely cause of this particular crash. He fell asleep behind the wheel at 4:30 in the morning.

So. Two more people are dead. This time they weren’t in a passenger car, they were in the cab of the truck that crashed.

In stories like this the news focuses on the traffic delays or the cost of repairing the infrastructure. I can tell you from personal experience the families of the two deceased don’t care about traffic delays or bridge repair today. As they move forward and figure out what caused their loss they’ll learn what so many other families have learned. That driving up to 11 hours a day is unsafe. That it doesn’t make any sense. That people die because they are pushed to work longer hours than in any other industry. It’s a complicated issue.

Five hundred truck drivers die in crashes each year. Yesterday two gave their lives just trying to make a living.

Sometimes I think that fighting the ATA on hours of service rules is useless. That we’re just playing defense, sticking our fingers in an deteriorating dike. That our time is better spent on issues we have a chance of winning. And then two more people die and I realize we have to keep fighting on all the issues.

Even hours of service.

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.

5 thoughts on “Two more dead

  1. Wow, this is interesting, and also infuriating. Thanks for bringing this to my feed.


  2. I think you are exactly right. Keep on keeping on, Dawn.
    I am so sorry for the fresh grief this must visit on you–and for the terrible new grief of those two families.


  3. Who in their right mind can think driving up to 11 hours a day is safe?? Driving is hard enough on short trips; long trips are especially stressful. How many more deaths will we have to see from this sort of thing before the powers-that-be wise up?? Hang in there fighting the good fight, Dawn!


  4. This is an important point in your crusade, Dawn. Your organization is not anti-trucker (which some people might want to argue), because truckers are losing their lives, too. Highway deaths due to truckers being pushed too hard are part of a much larger world reality we all need to work against — profits to corporations taking precedence over human lives. No one can do it all. You are working from your platform, and it’s noble, necessary work. Don’t give up, Dawn! (Actually, I know you won’t.)


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