Monday, March 11, 2013

A Poor Combination

About a year ago, I saw this in AAA World, the member magazine of the American Automobile Association. "Some large companies and special-interest groups ... are lobbying Congress, urging legislators to boost the national weight limit on tractor-trailer trucks from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds" (Jan/Feb 2012, p. 9).

A few months after that, I saw an article on National Review Online quoting from this article on American Thinker. "According to the Brookings Institution, a 500-lb weight reduction of the average car increased annual highway fatalities by 2,200-3,900 and serious injuries by 11,000 and 19,500 per year. USA Today found that 7,700 deaths occurred for every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy standards."

Smaller cars and larger trucks, while at the same time truckers are driving more aggressively than ever. I make two 200-mile round trips per week, and on each leg of each trip there is at least one truck traveling close to 80 MPH, and since they are legally barred from using the left-hand lane*, they barrel up behind slower moving vehicles attempting to intimidate them into moving.

Airport security theater causes highway deaths. Automobile fuel efficiency standards cause highway deaths. Relaxed truck regulations will cause highway deaths. But as long as officials get to look compassionate instead of reckless when they propose such rule changes, we'll all quietly accept that we'll be dying more frequently on the road.

* = They're legally barred from traveling at 80 MPH, too, but it's easier to quickly identify when a trucker is violating the left-hand-lane ban.

NB: Why am I blogging in March 2013 about articles from January and April of 2012? Stuff stays on my "to blog" list for a LONG time.

No comments: