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Thursday, January 04, 2007

75 - Highway Deaths Continue Because Right-Wing Policies (As Usual) Fail

Today, we're going to start off the new year with some new evidence -- as if you really needed any more -- that right-wing policies cause increased human misery, suffering, pain and death. This example concerns thousands of unnecessary highway deaths from accidents involving large trucks.

Safety advocacy groups, along with the insurance industry, presented studies showing that tired truck drivers caused a high percentage of accidents.

But trucking company associations countered with their own statistics that supposedly proved it was passenger cars that caused more than 80 percent of the accidents, fatigued truckers being responsible for only 2 percent.

The federal agency, filled with right-wing Bush appointees, adopted the trucking industry position.

In April 2003, as modified in 2005, the agency increased the maximum continuous driving time from 10 to 11 hours. This is even though the better research shows that

After 8 hours of consecutive driving, crashes increase dramatically, and even more steeply in the 10th and 11th hours of consecutive driving.
Are they crazy?

The continuous driving rules hadn't been changed since the 1930's. Just think of it: what kind of safety rules haven't been toughened since the 1930's? But the Bush administration not only doesn't toughen them, it loosens them!

For more details, and to hear a debunking of the ludicrous justifications offered by the right, listen to the entire podcast!

Jack Clark 3:40 PM [+]
Post #116789412780983701

Comments:  This section is for listeners. To receive a reply from Jack Clark, you should call the comment line.

"Safety advocacy groups, along with the insurance industry, presented studies showing that tired truck drivers caused a high percentage of accidents."

OK, so consider your sources. The 'Safety Advocacy' groups you refer to are probably the Safety Nazis that would have everyone not only drive 45 on the interstate but would also try to pass laws dictating when and where we could drive, in the name of 'safety'. And as far as the insurance industry goes, can anyone name a greedier or more dollar-bent ear than that?

"But trucking company associations countered with their own statistics that supposedly proved it was passenger cars that caused more than 80 percent of the accidents, fatigued truckers being responsible for only 2 percent."

That just goes to show that there are no longer any truths, only opinions that are passed off as truth but are actually bought and paid for by those who back the study. I once saw an ancient document that actually cited that smoking was good for you...go figure.

"After 8 hours of consecutive driving, crashes increase dramatically, and even more steeply in the 10th and 11th hours of consecutive driving.Are they crazy?"

Again, consider your sources. You are citing 'evidence' provided by the Safety Nazis. In reality, a study was done by the NTSB(an independent federal agency), on the effects of 'tired driving' and the results were the modifications of '05. The entire study can be found at "http://www.jjkeller.com/informationcenters/hos/082505t.htm?ticket=5200863054170066306198603626&pageseq=10000". pay close attention to section F.

"In April 2003, as modified in 2005, the agency increased the maximum continuous driving time from 10 to 11 hours. This is even though the better research shows that..."

Come on, 'better research', aren't we getting ahead of ourselves. By implying the 'better' of the studies, you've already polluted the waters of objectivity.

I'll say this and leave it alone. I am a truck driver by trade and I have always followed the rules, before and after 2005. My stand is this; I know when I'm too tired to drive and I stop. Having the government make the decision for me is not only ludicrous, it is by definition, unAmerican. Freedom must be handled with responsibility and respect or else the government will see fit to systematically take it from us as has happened not only more frequently in recent years, but also more unabashedly. Let's be concerned with that and the fact that the irresponsibility of the few need not facilitate the degradation of the many of us truck drivers who follow the rules, know when to stop, and above all maintain a "Safety First" attitude because that is the only thing that keeps us in a job.
posted by Blogger TeamVia  3:30 AM   [+]
Jack, I love the podcast (I still try to think of them as radio shows). However, I have to dispute the decision attack the agency for not passing more regulations.

Yes, hand logs can be forged, and electronic records could be easier to keep good records, but, not all trucking companies can afford to implement such a system.

Personally, I work about 4 to 5 weeks a year with a seasonal trucking company. We use leased Ryder and Penske trucks. To implement an electronic system would seriously curtail the ability to operate, as "profit" is already minimal at best.

Additionally, I think a better way to do this would be more weigh stations, not necessarily to weigh people in, but to record what trucks were where. By creating a nationwide tracking of trucks they could pull them off the road when they could not have driven a certain distance without going over hours, or speeding excessively.

The teamvia commentator stated that "but trucking company associations... that more than 80 percent of accidents". This isn't just the trucking companies. If you are ever on the NYS Thruway, sit and watch the safety videos they play at the service plazas. They are very adament of informing people about this... don't screw around with trucks, and they cite the same statistic.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  6:42 AM   [+]
Here in Europe we have had electronic recording devices for drivers hours for 20+ years, almost as long as i have been driving.
I'll tell you that the only people over this side of the pond who dont like them are the bosses and those who are a danger to others and themselves [the rule breakers]
If you are drving for 10 hours or more without a break then you want locking up. Would you allow a rabid dog to run loose? we are only aloud to drive for 4.5 hours then we must have a 45min break. 4.5 hours without a break is just about right, 10 hours is suicide
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:16 AM   [+]
Luckily, I was able to get out of the biz a few years back. Trucks don't kill people, just like 'Guns' don't kill people. IMHO, most of this began when the trucking industry was DEREGULATED. Today, the ONLY way a driver can make a decent living is when the wheels are turning. You also have people running a trucking company that will push the drivers to exhaution. Don't get me wrong, drivers enjoy driving the trucks, but do not stay planted in that seat from shear enjoyment. They HAVE to be there to make a paycheck. This brings me to a subject I've been thinking about for quite a while. I honestly believe that you can trace every problem this country has back to 'one GREEDY American'. I love this country: I can't think of any other country I'd rather be in (well, mabe Australia), but just like the trucking industry...do you think the 'truckers' lobbied to have their driving hours extended? I would be more apt to believe the owners of the large trucking companies lobbied for that in order to have their 'worker ants' make more money for them.

Keep up the good work though, Jack. We need people like you to get people like us thinking.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  8:25 PM   [+]
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Great podcast - a must listen to
Jack Clark documents the right's wars on the poor, civil liberties, the right of workers to organize at work and obtain a decent working wage and work conditions, and against other countries who refuse to accept American domination. Jack provides all the sources so that you can see for yourself how the right is out to enrich itself at the expense of everyone else. Great job, Jack!
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awesome show
Clark always backs up his statements against the right wing with fact and data, which gives him all the more credibility. As conglomerate media controlled by politics clouds the mainstream news media, Jack Clark, along with NPR and Democracy Now! have become my primary news source. Awesome podcast!
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In-Depth, Meaty, Hardcore Knowledge
This podcast is not just entertainment, humor, chimp-bashing, or gee-whiz recap of the weeks events. Instead, it hits hard and in-depth on the world economic situation and how right-wing policies impact the poor and less advantaged all over the world. He examines Americas support of the World Bank, IMF,multinational corporations, etc., and connects the dots. This is a podcast for grown-ups. He gives good reasons why the right wing is NOT living up to its precious Bible, without putting down the Bible. As a Jesus-loving Christian and moderate Democrat, I respect this podcast for its subject matter. The grown-up manner of the speaker is just icing on the cake. He IS funny, but hes not trying to be, he just has a deadpan delivery but doesnt have to make jokes to make it interesting. The facts make it interesting and devastating.
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Jack Clarks Blast the Right podcast is truly a breath of fresh air when it comes to political commentary. Jack is not like some commentators who simply climb on their soap box and state their own opinions as fact. Instead, Jack welcomes competent challenges to his way of thinking, and with logical analysis and sound research, debunks the lies, distortions, and self-deceptions of the right wing. I strongly recommend Blast the Right for people who seek the truth and care more about the long term health and well-being of the whole citizenry than the short term personal gain advocated by modern conservatives. Listen as Jack carefully shows how the high-sounding "God and country" rhetoric of the right wing is really just a smokescreen for policies that ultimately lead only to the increased misery, suffering, and death of the less fortunate for the particular benefit of the wealthy and the well-connected. And, if you find yourself in agreement, return to Podcast Alley to place your vote! Thanks!
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