Family hopes new senator will be ally in fight against trucking industry

Family hopes new senators will be ally in fight against trucking industry

ATLANTA — A local family who lost their son in a trucking accident is hoping Georgia’s newest lawmaker will help them pass new rules.

Even with the support of several other trucking agencies, the local family has not been able to get Congress to budge for 17 years.

They hope they will have a new ally in Sen. Kelly Leoffler.

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Steve Owings said his late son's friends are flying to Washington, D.C., to talk with lawmakers, including Leoffler, to urge them to pass tough new restrictions for truck drivers.

Cullum Owings was killed when a truck driver slammed into the back of his car.

“It’s heartbreaking, disgusting and unbelievably wasteful, that he was taken out for no reason whatsoever, trying to get back to college his senior year,” Owings said.

Since the wreck, the Owings family has been pushing to get speed limiters and automatic braking systems on semitrailers for 17 years.

Several trucking groups support it, but one powerful group opposes it.

"You should abandon meaningless, unproven, unsafe policies," said Lewie Pugh with Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

Pugh told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston what Owings has been pushing for would force many truckers to lose wages and jobs, crippling the industry with unnecessary regulation.

The group’s leader testified in early February, because lawmakers are discussing a current transpiration bill that includes Owings’ proposals.

"Do not mandate speed limiters, do not mandate front and side underweight guards, do not mandate higher insurance minimums," Pugh said.

"This is another major, major piece that will make this country much safer on our highways," Owings said.

The truck driver who killed Cullum Owings was convicted of reckless driving and spent 30 days in jail and was fined $1,000.

Family fights for truck speed regulations for highways