In reference to your Business section article Sunday, June 30, “Truckers, slow your roll” in RED script by AP writer Tom Krisher. A good example of politicians perceived good, can be unknowingly manipulated and overridden by uninformed/misinformed bias of public opinion and industry conflict by powerful representative politicians (Sen. Isakson — relief worker Kenya, real estate businessman; Sen. Coons — Lawyer, legal clerk, counsel for manufacturing firm) and an AP Journalist (Krishner — auto writer, slow bicyclist) backing an issue circumventing government experts who have many reasons to list as “undetermined” in a complex rule-making study that has major effects on the public, motor industry and trucking eating up valuable resources and adding questionable rules.
Starting with speed-limiting hardware. Dangerous — Restricting truckers’ ability to pass, even causing jams on multiple lane interstates.
Split Speed limits — dangerous (poor risk — benefit) — cause accidents requiring passing, especially on two-lane secondary roads. Impedes traffic flow. But feels good to uninformed public (much like the cougar/predator co-existence issue).
Training and professional drivers — Semi-truck drivers are extensively trained professionals and become experienced drivers (driving 100,000 +/- miles a year) trained by not only recognized schools such as Coeur d’Alene’s 30-year-old “Sage Truck Driver Training Center” at a great cost ($3,000 – 5,000 +/-) and training time, class and on-the-road (3 to 6 months) for beginning drivers. Sage school Director Tina Sykes has been there 16 years developing lesson plans and training drivers shortly after the CDL was first required (early ’90s), training requirement beginning in 2005. The large semi-truck drivers and bus drivers are the only ones that go through an extensive training and government licensing program along with many company requirements, training and evaluation.
New semi-trucks — state-of-the-art technology, comfort and safety are well capable of handling today’s highway speeds.
Public perception — the public is awed by the size and are largely unaware of the improvement of safety, uneducated/misinformed by the training and experience of the drivers, young and old.
A larger danger is in untrained, inexperienced and no specialty licensed holders of large vehicles such as large RV diesel pushers, straight trucks, and even large SUVs and pickups pulling large RV and long trailers!
Generally, here are a few interesting statistics, but with many variables supporting the above:
Fatal Auto Accidents (2018) est. more than 40,000 deaths, 4.5 million seriously injured.
Fatal semi tractor-trailer accidents (2017) 3,043 fatalities, with 279,000 million miles driven (low percent of traffic deaths) … and compare to (1995) 5,000+ fatal semi tractor-trailer accidents with 178,162 million miles driven (2.5% of traffic deaths), a big increase in miles driven and decline in semi deaths.
On interstates fatals total 32%, Other major roads 52%, and minor roads 15%.
This is the telling statistic: Fatal Rollovers — Auto 13,775, SUV 5,174, Pickups 4,407, and last semi-trucks 683. A mirror of all fatal accidents. And the most crash fatalities involving semi-trucks is rear-end crashes with automobiles going under trailer.
Fatalities involving alcohol, BAC >.08%; Cars 5,065, Semis 17.
Many statistics include different agencies and not only semi-trucks, but straight trucks, etc. making accurate comparisons difficult.
To sum all this up maybe they should require speed limiters on automobiles, training and special licenses for other large vehicles and require lawmakers to have hands-on subject matter and discard special interest lobbyists before submitting something like this!
James H. Mundy IV of Coeur d’Alene is a long-haul truck driver, big cat specialist and enjoys many other pursuits.