Many readers throughout the state of Georgia remain saddened by the tragic and fatal truck accident that occurred less than a month ago. Five students from Georgia Southern University were killed in a truck accident involving several other vehicles. The students were on their way to do nursing clinical work at a hospital in Savannah.

Truck accidents claim the lives of about 4,000 people on U.S. roads each year. In 2013, there were approximately 163 traffic fatalities in Georgia that involved a large truck. What makes these statistics especially unacceptable is the fact that the majority of truck accidents are preventable. In many cases, the problem is not lack of technology, it’s politics.

In the wake of the crash, Georgia’s two U.S. senators wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. They expressed anger that there is still no rule in place to require the use of speed limiting devices on large trucks – a proposal that has been discussed and kicked around since at least 2006. Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue believe that such technology could have prevented the tragic truck accident that occurred last month.

When it comes to trucking industry regulation, the U.S. Department of Transportation is usually fighting against legislators backed by powerful lobbying groups. It often takes years for practical and commonsense regulations to get enacted. But in the case of speed limiting devices, trucking industry groups have actually supported regulation and have asked the government for the mandate. For unclear reasons, the DOT seems to be dragging its feet on this issue.

Politics can be a powerful force for change or a powerful force to maintain the status quo. Hopefully, this tragic accident will remind politicians and regulators alike that real lives are on the line and that there must not be any undue delay in passing commonsense regulations.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Senators urge DOT to limit truck speeds after deadly South Georgia crash,” Daniel Malloy, May 14, 2015