One proposal would create a 10-year “pilot project” allowing 91,000-pound trucks — five and a half tons heavier than today’s limits. The goal: to see how many of these trucks are involved in crashes and to report the number of injuries and deaths. The usual years of data analysis and testing? Not for these 91,000-pound behemoths. The goal is to skip the typical due diligence and put them on roads immediately across America. Motorists become the guinea pigs in this experiment, with lives on the line.
The country is in the throes of a disturbing trend in road safety. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System, considered the most complete and accurate crash dataset, shows 5,866 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks in 2021, the most recent year with data available. This is a 17.2 percent increase compared to the previous year and the most in a single year since 1980. Opening our highways to an experimental 10-year “pilot project” given these trends would make addressing these public safety challenges more difficult.