Federal regulations are not doing enough to prevent truck collisions in Pennsylvania. This is the claim made by many safety advocates, according to Consumer Affairs. One such safety advocacy group, AnnaLeaha and Mary for Truck Safety, was formed after two sisters were killed in a truck collision which could perhaps have been prevented if National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had heeded warnings about the inadequacy of underride prevention efforts.
In the first nine months of 2015, there was almost a 10 percent rise in car accident fatalities compared with in 2014. As the number of deaths on U.S. roads rises, it has become more important than ever for federal regulators to do a better job imposing rules which are aimed at making trucks and other vehicles safer and imposing rules aimed at changing dangerous driving behaviors. With stricter regulations, particularly to prevent truck accidents, thousands of lives could be saved.
Regulators Must be More Efficient in Preventing Truck Accidents
The organization, AnnaLeaha and Mary for Truck Safety, was formed after a motor vehicle collision in which a truck driver allegedly had been on the road for too long. The driver's tractor trailer hit the vehicle with the sisters and their car was forced underneath the truck.
Underride guards could have stopped this from happening. For more than a decade, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had been alerting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the fact there were inadequate requirements in place to ensure the proper safety equipment was used to prevent cars from going under trucks. Cars can get under trucks in collisions from either the back or from the side.
Finally, NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making, but this didn't happen until December of 2015. The NHTSA acted long after the two sisters were killed, and long after many other people were hurt and killed. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making is just the first step in a long process, so there could be more deaths before the rules actually change.
Part of the reason NHTSA may take so long in issuing regulations is because it has limited funding. Safety advocates have lamented the fact NHTSA only gets two percent of the budget of the Department of Transportation. Safety advocates also criticize DOT for spending taxpayer funds on celebrating and advertising its progress when an estimated two million Americans have died under the DOT's watch while the agency has been in charge of highway safety.
Advocacy groups including AnnaLeaha and Mary for Truck Safety urge stronger efforts on the part of regulators, including putting forth a Vision Zero plan, which would include a tough package of new rules and regulations aimed at reducing traffic deaths down to zero.