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I ♥ safe truckers

Written by Steve Gursten Posted May 10th, 2017

‘Sad’ how Trump publicly declared his affection for truckers, but his Administration & FMCSA were diligently working to withdraw a key trucking safety proposal

Trump I Heart Truckers

I ♥ safe truckers.

That’s the pin I wish President Trump had worn when truckers, trucking associations and motor carrier lobbyists descended on the White House on March 23, 2017, for their one-on-one with the U.S.’s new ‘BusinessMan-in-Chief.”

Sadly, instead, the Leader of the Free World worn a pin that merely said:

“I ♥ truckers”

True, that last pin doesn’t seem so bad. But when coupled with his subsequent remarks, it’s clear the President’s love for trucker may and likely will come at the cost of innocent drivers’ – and truckers’ – safety.

Here’s what President Trump said:

“I’m honored to welcome all of the many truckers and the trucking industry leaders to the White House. … [W]e’re going to do everything we can to make sure truckers stay busy … We will … eliminate job-killing regulations where – you guys are so subject to regulations, and we’re going to free it up. It’s going to be freed up. You’re going to be back to business.”

The problem isn’t too many safety regulations.

The problem is too many truckers and companies that choose to ignore them.

To a truck attorney like me — and to my fellow co-founders of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable — what I hear in President Trump’s message, it makes me think of the frustration and dismay that so many of the good truckers who do play by the rules (the rules that are meant to keep them and the public safe) must feel. These truckers see every day how unsafe trucking companies who choose to ignore safety can undercut them on price. Because at the end of the day, safety is an added cost.

Companies that ignore safety have a competitive advantage over those who follow safety rules.

I’m sure it’s no mere coincidence that on the same day that the trucking industry had its road trip to the White House, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) withdrew its proposed revision to the “Carrier Safety Fitness Determination,” which would have:

“[D]etermined when a motor carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in or affecting interstate commerce based on the carrier’s on-road safety data; an investigation; or a combination of on-road safety data and investigation information.”

What makes all this even more troubling is the fact that, as President Trump and his administration demonstrate their love for truckers by relieving them of vital safety regulations, more people – including the truckers who drive these commercial vehicles – are dying from truck accidents:

  • “Fatal crashes involving large trucks” increased from 3,429 in 2014 to 3,598 in 2015.
  • “Total fatalities in large truck crashes” increased from 3,908 in 2014 to 4,067 in 2015.
  • “Injury crashes involving large trucks” increased from 69,000 in 2013 to 82,000 in 2014 to 83,000 in 2015.
  • “Persons injured in large truck crashes” increased from 95,000 in 2013 to 111,000 in 2014 to 116,000 in 2015. (Source: U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2015,” FMCSA Analysis Division (November 2016), pages 17 and 23)

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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