AUGUSTA — Over the past few weeks, children of all ages returned to school after a beautiful Maine summer. With the beginning of a new school year comes the return of millions of students across our country traveling on buses, on bikes, in carpools and on foot during the busiest, most accident-prone time of day: morning rush hour.

Imagine if during this already-busy time, a surge of commercial trucks flooded our residential streets, where many schools are located, weaving in and out of chaotic morning drop-offs, impeding and bolstering traffic and increasing the chances of an accident.

Thankfully, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has fought to help prevent such a scenario from occurring. As chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation, she successfully secured two provisions that have helped make morning commutes across the country safer for our children and the driving public.

The first moved many commercial trucks off our residential streets and onto interstate highways where they belong. The second suspended a federal rule that increased truck traffic volume during the morning rush hour, when the risk of accidents is the highest.

This rule, referred to as the “restart rule,” allows more truck drivers to drive at night, when the number of truck crashes leading to injury is five times less than during the morning rush hour. Since the restart rule went into effect in 2004, fatal truck crashes have declined by 25 percent. When accounting for increased truck volume, the reduction is more than 40 percent.

For more than 19 years, Collins has represented Maine and worked hard to protect every American who uses our nation’s roads and interstates, including individuals commuting to work, families traveling for vacation and children on their way to school. I’m grateful for Collins’ efforts to improve the safety of our roads and for her ongoing willingness to rise above the incivility that seems to saturate our politics these days.

For these reasons, I was concerned to read a recent Maine Voices commentary written by two representatives of Parents Against Tired Truckers, Daphne Izer and Christina Mahaney, that was rife with inaccurate information and baseless personal attacks on the senator and her work on these issues.

It is evident that PATT has very different views on the steps we should take to make our roads safer. They vigorously opposed these two common-sense measures to keep commercial truck traffic to a minimum during rush hour and keep large trucks on our interstate highways rather than forcing them onto city streets.

These measures have helped make our roads safer, not less safe. But when the measures were debated in the Senate, these representatives resorted to accusing proponents of these changes of ignoring safety in favor of corporate interests.

Now they are at it again. Lacking facts, ignoring the success of these measures and attempting to spin the truth, they are resorting to unfounded personal attacks against Susan Collins. For nearly a decade, I have worked to support good Maine jobs in the retail industry, and I can tell you that none of our employers wants to put their workers, their subcontractors or the public at risk.

First and foremost, doing so would be against our values. But it would also be against our financial interest as well.

Like Susan Collins, Maine’s retail industry recognizes the critical role trucking plays to keep our economy moving, safely delivering goods to our stores. These deliveries happen day and night, seven days a week.

Truck transportation helps restock grocery store shelves after a holiday weekend, delivering Maine-made goods around the country or coordinating with municipalities in the aftermath of the recent hurricane to distribute food and water in the southeastern part of the country. We rely on trucks for safe, efficient and professional deliveries.

Maine jobs are dependent on good and safe roads. Nobody understands that better than Susan Collins. As the chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that helps fund improvements to our roads and bridges, nobody is a greater champion for the safety and efficiency of Maine’s transportation infrastructure than she is.