By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
Let’s lay this out very clearly: Not everything on the highways is the trucker’s fault. Period.
I’ll break it down a bit.
Highway fatalities and truck-related fatalities continue to drop to record lows. It’s already a known fact that in 75 to 80 percent of all truck-related fatalities it’s not the fault of the trucker.
New trucks are already running so clean that they literally scrub the air in some “non-attainment” areas, which is just a nice way of saying cities with really, really dirty air.
The roads are not crumbling because big trucks run on them. They are crumbling because lawmakers have hijacked highway money – paid by truckers – for other pet causes.
Yet, every time there is a perceived problem, the big kid on the highway is the first to be blamed and smacked down.
Look at distracted driving. The first group to be targeted: truckers.
Everyone is all hot to trot about fatigued truckers. The last report had fatigue as a factor in 1.4 percent of all truck wrecks.
Fuel mileage, EOBRs, safety systems? Isn’t it enough already that the emission standards added somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 to the price tag of a new truck in less than a decade?
Truckers have their Fourth Amendment rights trampled on repeatedly. And a lot of people think that’s OK. You drive a truck. You have “no” expectation of privacy is what they want you to believe. Bull. If it wasn’t for OOIDA, that would still be going on in Minnesota.
And then there are Mexican trucks. Regulate the hell out of truckers to the point that if they pass gas they will need to take an emission test, and then bring trucks up from Mexico.
We’re starting to feel like the big, quiet kid on the highway playground. It’s been too easy for the regulatory agencies to pick on trucking and it’s got to end.
Trucking and truckers haven’t been the problem in a very long time. It’s time for the regulatory agencies to quit being the playground bully. LL