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A Brief (and Scary) History of Truck Industry Deregulation and How It Directly Threatens the Lives of Motorcyclists

truck-industry-deregulationPrior to 1980, the federal government regulated the trucking industry in the United States. However, thanks to a complex political battle, the government sudden lurched libertarian with respect to this issue, removed industry state regulations and reduced oversight. The arguments for deregulation included: increased competition, greater productivity, increased efficiency and reduced prices for goods. Opponents to deregulation worried about pollution, environmental safety, economics and conglomerates eating up small businesses and the accidental creation of monopolies. Both conservatives and liberals embraced the pro-deregulation ideas proposed through the Chicago School of Economics, also supported by at least two think tanks in Washington.

An Overview of Deregulation

  • 1980 – The Motor Carrier Act deregulates the trucking industry.
  • 1984 – The Few Commission of the American Trucking Association (ATA) works together to overcome public aversion to the downsides of deregulation by portraying “a more professional, more progressive [and] more public-oriented industry.”
  • 1990s – Throughout the decade, the ATA fights for cross-border trucking with Mexico and Canada, while the agency continues to stand against high fees and taxes.
  • 1999 – A new agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, is born to provide industry oversight.
  • 2007 – The U.S. and Mexico agree to traverse international borders. Although the program is eventually closed down, it reopens in 2011.

The Impact of Deregulation on Truck Accidents

Due to industry deregulation, companies place more exacting demands on truckers than ever. Drivers need to drive farther, carry loads faster and do it all in less time than ever before. They often cut corners, sacrificing sleep or speeding in order to meet deadlines, putting motorcyclists at extra risk. If a trucker’s vision is compromised due to a lack of sleep, for instance, small bikes will be especially difficult to see, increasing the risk of an accident.

A Snapshot of the Statistics: Big Trucks Versus Motorcycles

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 4 percent of all annual motorcycle accidents involve a semi-truck. Furthermore, 82 percent of all large truck injury accidents result in a fatality or a debilitating injury, leaving the victim incapacitated.

Collisions between trucks and motorcycles are often deadly due to the weight disparity between the two vehicles and the lack of protection for the cyclist. Contact our Colorado motorcycle accident lawyers to schedule a free appointment to discuss how you can obtain fair compensation with respect to your recent collision.

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