The tragic death last year of two teenage girls in a semi-truck accident has spurred an online petition drive organized by their family, and an advocacy movement for tighter regulation of large trucks.
“Their lives were abruptly ended and we want to see that same thing does not happen to others,” the girls’ mother said, according to Washington DC TV station WJLA, as she delivered a petition with over 11,000 signatures on it to the Department of Transportation earlier this month. The North Carolina family was driving down an interstate highway a year ago when “their family vehicle was struck, propelling it under a tractor trailer and killing the two girls,” the TV station reports.
In response, the grieving parents organized an online petition drive seeking tighter regulation of the trucking industry (you can see, and sign, the petition here). Specifically, the couple is calling for “improved under-ride guards to prevent vehicles from sliding under trucks, and also wants to require electric monitoring devices to decrease the number of truckers driving while fatigued. They also want to increase the minimum liability insurance required for drivers,” according to WJLA. The girls’ father told reporters that installing the under-guards would cost only $20 per truck.
Semi-trucks are an essential part of modern life, moving goods throughout our country. Too often, however, companies get away with placing profit ahead of public safety. Published schedules often require drivers to drive too fast and to do so with too little rest. Regulatory agencies do not always do everything they can to ensure that the laws we have are properly enforced. All too often, simple fixes like the changes this family has proposed to under-guards are ignored for the narrowest of commercial reasons.
It is inspiring to see a family working so hard to build something positive from such a terrible event. As an Oregon semi-truck accident attorney I have long used this blog to warn of the dangers that large trucks, fatigued drivers and inadequate regulation all pose to everyone on our roads here in the Pacific Northwest and nationwide. A cynic might say that in today’s Washington DC little is likely to come of a citizen-driven petition drive, but activism, like our court system, offers ordinary Americans one of the few forums where people can take on large commercial interests and catch the attention of legislators.