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Will the Transportation Appropriation Bill make roads unsafe?

There are essentially two things to consider while debating the idea of truck safety. First, trucks are vehicular giants that tower above every other car and automobile. Second, truck drivers being commercial drivers are subjected to more stringent laws, which make them as well as the trucking companies accountable to other people on the road. Victims of a truck accident can suffer serious injuries and can even die because of those injuries.

Under current Federal law, there is a restriction on the number of hours a truck driver can be behind the wheels for a continuous period of time. They are not allowed to work for more than 12 hours continuously and must have a mandatory two day off period. This is because one of the major factors that contribute to truck accidents is driver fatigue. However, a new Transportation Appropriation Bill proposes to eradicate the working hour restrictions and even proposes to increase the number of working hours to 82 hours a week.

Furthermore, the new bill also proposes to bring back the 33-feet double tractor trailers on the highways, which have been banned by most states because of the terrible injuries that can occur in a truck accident. The bill also proposed to increase the weight restrictions on these trucks up to 129,000 pounds from the previous restrictions of 80,000 pounds.

The new bill has met with a lot of opposition from the truck safety advocates, many of whom have lost loved ones in truck accidents. Recent figures indicate that the number of truck accidents has decreased. The reason for the increased level of truck safety is due not only to the greater training of the truck drivers, but also to current laws that make them accountable. Many people believe that eliminating such necessary rules for truck drivers will make the roads unsafe for all the other vehicles and people on the roads.

Source: Huffington Post, "Enough! Stop more giant truck-trailers on your highways," Ralph Nader, July 7, 2015

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