Poll shows support for reversing highway bill safety changes

Poll shows support for reversing highway bill safety changes
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Safety advocates are touting a poll showing public support for reversing a host of regulatory changes that are included in a highway funding bill that is being negotiated by lawmakers. 

The poll, which was conducted by the ORC International on behalf of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, shows a majority of U.S. residents support efforts to roll back changes to rules for automakers and truck companies that have been inserted into the highway bill. 

The poll shows 84 percent of U.S. residents support to jail automakers who cover up car defects that was left out of the highway bill by lawmakers, which only 15 percent oppose the idea. 

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Additionally, the poll found 73 percent of U.S. residents oppose a provision to lower the minimum age of truck drivers from 21 to 18-years-old that is include in both chamber's versions of the highway bill. Only 26 percent of respondents said they supported the proposal to allow teen truck drivers. 

Elsewhere, the poll shows 86 percent of U.S. residents support a proposal to ban car dealers from using recalled vehicles for loaner cars, while just 13 percent oppose the idea. 

The poll also found that 77 percent of U.S. residents oppose a controversial proposal to increase a current limit on the length of double-trailer truck rigs from 28 feet to 33 feet. Only 22 percent of the poll's respondents said they support the longer truck proposal. 

Safety groups said the polling shows lawmakers should ditch regulatory changes in the highway bill because they would weaken the safety of the nation's transportation networks. 

"These critically important bills not only will set transportation policies and funding levels for the construction and repair of highways, bridges and transit systems but they will also have a deadly impact on safety if changes are not made," the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said. 

"Decisions about how safe or how dangerous our roads and highways will be are being made this week," the safety groups continued. "Even though the bills will be paid for by taxpayers, anti-safety special interests aided by their friends in Congress have succeeded in carving corporate earmarks, industry giveaways and special exemptions from safety rules, all at the expense of public safety." 

Trucking groups dismissed the safety group's survey as "junk polling." 

"A special interest-funded group opposed to reducing the number of freight trucks on federal highways today released the results of a poll question it commissioned on twin 33s, and given the loaded negative language in employed, it’s a wonder ANYONE indicated support for double trailers," Coalition for Efficient and Responsible Trucking spokesman Ed Patru said in an email to reporters on Tuesday. 

"The question on 33s, specifically, was embedded with a litany of misleading and hostile statements designed to trigger negative feelings," he continued. "It asked whether respondents support extending the length of 'large trucks' to 'the length of an 8-story building,' allowing them to 'carry more freight' while making them 'heavier, harder to pass, and more dangerous.' Not surprisingly, it had the desired effect."