With their family in a wooden shack on the back.

Normally before you can drive a big Freightliner truck with a trailer you have to earn a Class A Commercial Drivers License. That means passing a bunch of written and road tests to prove you have the essential knowledge and skills in areas like air brake operation and trailer dynamics to safely operate a big rig. Same with any bus that seats over 15. Makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense (unless you’re a politician) is how the same big rig or bus can be licensed as an RV, pay peanuts for plates instead of thousands, and never get weighed our inspected. Worse yet, anybody with a basic driver’s license whether they be a teen testing the limits of vehicular physics or an octogenerian half blind diabetic with a bad heart can get behind the wheel of these big rig “RVs” and cruise the nations highways to their heart’s content. And unlike a bus which is required to pass a ton of safety standards, any idiot can build the flimsiest of shacks on these “RVs” and pack in as many people as they please.

Now I was turned loose in a big truck at the same tender age of 17, and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t ready. I had no concept of just how slowly air brakes responded (or didn’t) I didn’t realize that the same quick twitch of the wheel that was amusing in a car would put a big truck on its side. Fortunately, I was lucky and survived whole to eventually acquire the maturity and skills to safely operate a big rig.

Enough with the driver, who if he survives will have his own private hell to live through. Take a look at the crash pics- The Freightliner cab is intact- Daimler did their job well. Heck, even the trailer is in one piece. But the “RV” body- nothing but wood and upholstery scraps. Even the cheapest freight carrying truck or trailer body made for the last several decades is made of metal. Looking at the pics of the wreck, I see no metal structural members- nothing but an upholstered wood shack. Not one seat belt for the 16 passengers in the “RV”, but given it’s flimsy construction that flew apart on impact, probly wouldn’t have helped.

A couple families have all been decimated in this horrific accident. Yet back in Minnesota, my home state where this “RV” was licensed, the legislature is still in session but not a single legislator has had the courage to introduce a bill to close the “RV” loophole that’s big enough to drive a Freightliner with a big old wood shack on the back through and carry five family members to their death.