Fatal Truck Crashes Pile Up as the Biden Administration Remains Blasé About Highway Safety

My friend and colleague Stephen “Vodkapundit” Green has said that Joe Biden has the “merde touch”; in other words, everything he touches turns to something foul-smelling and flushable. This includes the supply chain, which the Biden administration has tried to sabotage at every turn.

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been far more concerned with tilting at the windmill of “racist roads” than with the real problem of making sure that the American people receive goods and services in a timely manner. (Who cares if shelves are bare and prices are going up? He’s the first gay transportation secretary! Yay!) The entire administration is doubling down on electric truck regulations that will only slow the supply chain down even more.

There’s also the matter of the safety of tractor-trailers and buses on America’s roads. A couple of years ago, I wrote about a training program that would get more young truck and bus drivers on the road safely. The trucking industry and other safety advocacy organizations recommended the program to ensure that 18-to-21-year-old drivers start their careers off with proper safety training, but the Biden administration burdened the program by pairing it with onerous Department of Labor apprenticeship programs and making it cost-prohibitive for young would-be drivers.

At the time, I wrote that “everything has to be done the administration’s way with less concern for safety or for how much young truckers would pay out of pocket for their training and federally mandated apprenticeship. In this case, it’s their way before the highway, even if it doesn’t make sense.” Now we’re seeing the consequences of the administration’s decision.

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Related: The Biden Administration Ignores Trucking Industry Recommendations for a New Driver Training Program

Freightwaves is reporting new data on crashes involving younger drivers, and this horrifying data still isn’t enough to convince the administration to work on ensuring safety.

“Deaths resulting from large-truck crashes where newly licensed drivers are involved continues to rise, according to recent government data, but a proposed safety requirement that could help reduce those deaths will likely be delayed again,” writes John Gallagher at Freightwaves. The numbers are staggering.

“The percentage of fatal large truck and bus crashes involving new-entrant carriers has climbed from 4.6% to 7.4% from 2017 to 2022, according to a snapshot of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data taken at the end of 2023,” Gallagher continues. “In 2022, those crashes resulted in 494 deaths and over $5.5 billion in costs.”

These numbers go back to the Trump administration, but fatal crashes involving new drivers skyrocketed under Biden. During the Trump years, the rate only increased by half a percent, but under Biden, the rate jumped by over 2%.

There’s another caveat to this data. These percentages don’t distinguish between crashes where the drivers were at fault versus not at fault, but if it were possible to prevent any of those deaths with safety training and testing, shame on the administration.

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Nevertheless, you might think that this data would spur the administration to fast-track a planned testing program, right? Not so fast.

A representative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) — which published this sobering data — “acknowledged that despite the concerning trend, FMCSA has yet to establish a written proficiency exam, mandated by Congress in 2012,” according to Freightwaves.

“The deadline for meeting this requirement was April 2014 — we’re 10 years late,” FMCSA’s Kelly Stowe told Freightwaves. Even with the foot-dragging and the fatalities that have occurred as a result, Stowe admits that the next deadline of July 2024 “will likely slip. It’s a high-level work plan and it’s subject to change.”

Meanwhile, the crash rates keep rising, and the fatalities keep piling up. But hey, at least the Biden administration has prioritized solving the problem of those racist bridges and roads.

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