Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Hard hit

18 Comments

Stormy times

Stormy times

The safety of everyone on our roads and highways took a big hit last week. The Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 (S. 1732) passed out of the Commerce Committee and is headed to the full Senate complete with all the anti-safety aspects that we fought to extract. The ability for a truck company to hide safety statistics from the public, to allow the hiring of 18 year olds to drive across the country (some states had higher minimum ages, but this will now be overrun by federal law), creating more hoops for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to jump through in order to mandate higher insurance requirements, all of these and more are still included in the bill. Every amendment presented by a safety conscious Committee Member lost by one vote, or by a voice vote. Every amendment offered by a American Trucking Association supported Committee Member passed.

The voting was straight down party lines.

I don’t understand. If you’re elected by the majority of people in your state, but you’re only going to vote the party line without listening or even considering another opinion, what’s the point of discussing anything at all? If you can’t listen to the safety concerns of many of your constituents, if you can’t let the overwhelming evidence sway you even the slightest toward safety, if you are more concerned about your campaign contributors than the safety of regular citizens, well, then there is no hope for the future.

I’ll be honest. It has been a difficult few months. It’s hard to look forward and figure out what the next move is. Obviously the next move is to call Senators when S1732 gets to the floor of the full Senate. But sill, it’s been so discouraging. It would be easy to just let it go. I’m beginning to wonder if we’re wrong. Maybe this is what the population wants…larger trucks, younger drivers, longer driving hours, the public shouldering the expenses when a crash occurs…if so, so be it.

I was driving this morning, looking for a photo challenge shot. Out in the cornfields of rural America I had all sorts of negative thoughts bouncing around my brain. But as I drove the dirt roads, past farms and small towns, other voices started to push their way into my brain. Voices of the families. The sons and daughters, wives and husbands, siblings, grandparents, and parents of those we’ve lost. I remember saying years ago that if we saved one life my family would be even, and my sister responding emphatically that no we wouldn’t. We’ll never be even, never be whole, no matter how hard we work.

But that’s no excuse for giving up. It’s no excuse for abandoning those who can no longer speak, no excuse not to expose the horrors and the grief, no excuse not to push for change.

By the time I made my way back home I had taken a deep breath and begun thinking about what’s next. There is more than one way to approach safety. If we can’t get it done through Congress maybe we can get something done through the DOT. And if the DOT can’t get anything done then maybe we go straight to the big trucking companies. We’ve already done that with one, that company realizes that safe can be profitable. Maybe we just have to spread that word. Meanwhile we still provide support and advice and love to the families who have been forever changed by truck crashes, one family at a time.

We lost big time this month. But we won’t give up and we won’t go away. There’s only one way to move and that’s forward.

Did I get the photo I was looking for? You’ll have to wait and see.

Clouds around every corner.

Clouds around every corner.

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Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

18 thoughts on “Hard hit

  1. sigh – what happened to government representing people and not companies?

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  2. I am sorry for your frustration. It must be so hard on you knowing that you want to make a difference and meeting so many challenges along the way. Please don’t give up because what you want to change just makes sense! Others would care if their families had been impacted as well. Keep at it. Keep writing and keep being as loud as possible. Take care and hope some success is forthcoming.

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  3. In the midst of all the discouragement at the legislature, that one note of hope came through to me in this post — the one company your group convinced that safety can be profitable. Sounds like that’s a direction for future time and energy to take.

    Another thought: Government will change only when people in government stop profiting from special interest groups. But that’s the long way around, isn’t it?

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    • Campaign finance reform….sigh. Yes, working directly with trucking companies who might go above and beyond the regulations in the name of safety may work.

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  4. I’m sorry your sister is so negative. If one life is saved, it really does matter.

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    • My sister wasn’t negative. She was truthful. All she did was point out we can’t recover what we’ve lost…but she’s very supportive of helping save lives.

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  5. I’m sorry to hear such discouraging news, Dawn, but I’m glad you have your Thinking Cap on and are considering other options. No, legislation won’t bring back those who’ve been lost, but perhaps it might save another family from similar heartache. Every time I travel, I’m aghast at just how MANY big rigs are on the roads, at how FAST they’re zipping along, and at how distracted many of them seem. Chin up!!

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  6. Ergh…stupid government!

    I like your idea of going directly to the trucking companies. You would think if they took strict safety measures they might be able to lower the cost of their insurance? Kind of like companies who have workout equipment at work get lower rates…..just a thought. I know money talks.

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    • One of the (minor) reasons we want the minimum level of insurance increased is that with more at risk the insurance companies will begin to demand better safety measures. Just like they do in auto manufacturing plants. And yes, premiums for those with better safety measures will be less than those without.

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  7. I wrote to my senator . . . again!
    The gerrymandering doesn’t help us here

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  8. I’m sorry, Dawn. I don’t believe for a minute that the majority are against having safer roads to drive on. I could rant about the politicians and big money buying their votes and campaign finance reform, but instead I want to thank you so much for all that you do and for keeping us informed so we can do what we can to help. There is hope in your post. If you can convince one trucking company that safety is profitable, than you can convince another. If the government won’t step up and protect its citizens, maybe it can be done one company at a time.

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