Trucks are making our highways much less safe

Several months ago, The Free Lance–Star had an editorial concerning the passenger car traffic on U.S. highways and recommended that more people ride trains.

This brought to mind a conversation I had with Sen. Bob Dole at the Republican National Convention some years ago in Kansas City. If you wonder why I was there, from the time of President Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan, I attended both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions as a representative of the Smithsonian Institution, serving as historian.

What I proposed to Sen. Dole was that we have a government-sponsored work program, similar to those of the 1930s, to restore the railroads so that they could haul long-distance freight and get trucks off our highways. That would only leave truck traffic for short-distance hauling.

Sen. Dole responded that while that was a good idea, since the National Truckers Union was such a strong lobbying group, he could never get it through Congress. For that reason, we see more and more trucks on American highways causing accidents and taking more American lives.

That’s not to say that all truck drivers are reckless, but because of their size and number on the highways, this is a problem not easily solved today. This coupled with speeding, drivers not being courteous, using cell phones and other devices, driving without proper rest, ignoring road conditions, and not obeying the law—not only by truck drivers, but passenger cars as well—one is taking their life into their own hands every time they enter our highways.

What is the answer?

Herbert R. Collins


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