Zach Cahalan, Jane Mathis: Protecting trucking companies at the expense of crash victims, public safety

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The next time it could be you who is in the wrong place at the wrong time in the presence of a large truck.

Florida Trucking Association’s Alix Miller would have you believe that those responsible for the carnage on Florida’s highways should not be held accountable, which sounds nothing like the American Dream I know.

Try telling that to Truck Safety Coalition volunteer Jane Mathis, whose newly married son, David and daughter-in-law, Mary Kathryn, were violently struck by a tired trucker while stalled in traffic on I-95. The force of the impact spun their car around, wedged it under the semi and it burst into flames, killing their dreams before they had a chance to begin.

Miller fails to mention that since 2014 Florida fatal truck crashes have increased by over 80%, claiming 344 lives and accounting for over 10,000 injuries in the last year. Truck crash injuries are severe and among the leading causes of spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries which require a lifetime of expensive care.

In no universe, should the answer to Florida’s truck crash crisis be to grant carriers and their insurer’s immunity for the pain and suffering they inflict and allow them to foist the costs onto crash victims instead. This re-traumatizes victims and increases the likelihood of future crashes by allowing bad actors to avoid accountability and continue their reckless behavior unchecked.

The next time it could be you who is in the wrong place at the wrong time in the presence of a large truck. Contact your representative and tell them to vote “No” on House Bill 837; the life you end up saving might be your own.


Zach Cahalan is the Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by large truck-related crashes by providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policymakers and media about truck safety issues.

Jane Mathis is a former Truck Safety Coalition Board member and vice president of Parents Against Tired Truckers. She serves on FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Advisory Safety Committee and has been a leading voice for safety reform in the trucking industry since she tragically lost her son, David and daughter-in-law, Mary Kathryn, in a preventable truck crash.

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