by Sam Hieb
Here’s an interesting NY Times article on one of the Triad’s major industries: trucking. More interesting is the article’s anti-Bush bias. Bottom line: George Bush is responsible for trucks killing people:
As Dorris Edwards slowed for traffic near Kingdom City, Mo., on her way home from a Thanksgiving trip in 2004, an 18-wheeler slammed into her Jeep Cherokee.
The truck crushed the sport-utility vehicle and shoved it down an embankment off Interstate 70. Ms. Edwards, 62, was killed.
The truck driver accepted blame for the accident, and Ms. Edwards’s family filed a lawsuit against the driver and the trucking company.
In the course of pursuing its case, the family broached a larger issue: whether the Bush administration’s decision to reject tighter industry regulation and instead reduce what officials viewed as cumbersome rules permitted a poorly trained trucker to stay behind the wheel, alone, instead of resting after a long day of driving.
It’s certainly legitimate for the Edwards family to address the possible impact of a government policy on Dorris Edwards’ death. And there has been a slight spike in deaths in accidents involving large trucks in ’04 and ’05. But if you take a look at the sidebar graph, you’ll notice that the largest spike in fatal accidents came in ’97, ’98 and ’99 — the Clinton years.
You can make the point that Clinton recognized a problem and tried– somewhat ineffectively- to do something about it, and his administration’s policy was just taking effect when Bush took over:
In 1995, Congress directed regulators to study truck driver fatigue and its safety consequences and to consider new rules. But the agency then charged with truck safety, the Federal Highway Administration, never did so. Two years later, the Clinton administration vowed to cut the annual death toll of truck-related accidents in half within a decade. In 1999, Congress created the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in response to what lawmakers considered ineffectual regulation and high casualties.
But if you’re going to hold the mere number of deaths as an example of Bush administration policy that puts automobile drivers at the mercy of large trucks -and that’s what the Times article does- then you certainly have to say that the Clinton administration was certainly not effective in making our roads safer.