Lowcountry woman seeks to increase semi-truck safety efforts
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Living in a port city like Charleston we see dozens of semi-trucks on the road, and we don't even think twice about it. But for one Goose Creek woman, the trucks serve as a haunting reminder.
Last spring, Pina Arrington's husband Scott was heading to work on his motorcycle in North Charleston. According to witnesses, a semi-truck made a wide turn onto Remount Road, crossed two lanes of traffic, and crashed into Scott, killing him.
"My husband was a big part of my life, our boy's life, and all his friends in town," said Pina.
Now Pina is using her husband's passing to keep other families from having to go through the same loss experienced by her and family.
A recent study found South Carolina ranks 13th in the nation when it comes to deadly accident involving semis. Between 2007 and 2011, more than 400 people have died in semi-truck related accidents.
"I have nothing against truckers or the trucking industry," said Pina. "We need that to survive, but I just don't want them to get any bigger than what they already are."
President Obama signed into law a new 2-year transportation bill, MAP 21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) in July 2012. The bill, which went into effect last October, included many requirements intended to help reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.
The same bill requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to complete a comprehensive truck size and weight limits study. The study will evaluate and compare the differences between trucks loaded at or below current federal truck size and weight limits to those operating over the limit.
"Trucks can currently carry up to one axle and up to 80,000 pounds, and they're trying to get congress to pass a law to go up to three axles and up to 97,000 pounds," said Pina.
According to TruckingInfo.com, "During a pilot project allowing heavier trucks on interstate highways in Maine, there were 14 fewer truck crashes compared with the previous year, and no fatalities involving the heavier tractor-trailer configurations."
But the trucking industry has come against some opposition from Pina and safety advocacy groups like the Truck Safety Coalition that supports SHIPA, the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act.
"We're just trying to urge congress and as many that will listen to us to try to keep them from getting any bigger than what they are," said Pina.
The Federal Highway Administration expects the comprehensive truck size and weigh limits study to be done by November 2013.
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