Truck Safety Groups Respond to Freight Panel Recommendations

In 2015, 4,067 people were killed in large truck crashes in the United States

Truck Safety Groups Respond to Freight Panel Recommendations

To view the press release, please click here.

Truck Safety Groups’ Letter to Panel on 21st Century Freight

To read the letter from truck safety groups in response to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Panel on 21st Century Freight’s hearing “Perspectives from Users of the Nation’s Freight System” please click here.

THE DANGERS OF TRUCK CRASHES IN WORK ZONES

My name is Amy Fletcher and on January 24, 2012, my life was forever changed.  My husband, John Fletcher, was killed and two of his coworkers were seriously injured when a truck drifted into the closed lanes of the construction area where they were working. The truck struck all three men as well as three maintenance vehicles. John’s death and the injuries of his coworkers were even harder to bear when we realized that this crash was entirely preventable. Words cannot describe the pain of losing a loved one because of someone’s negligence and carelessness.

john-fletcher-and-family

Nearly 4,000 people are killed on average in truck crashes and an additional 80,000 are injured every year. Although truck crash fatalities did decrease between 2005 and 2009, they are on the rise once again, increasing nearly 9 percent in 2010, and 2 percent more in 2011. The increases in truck crash fatalities are particularly troubling because they occurred during a time when overall traffic fatalities dropped in 2010 and then again in 2011, marking the lowest level since 1949.

Unfortunately, projections for 2012 indicate an increase in highway fatality statistics and include over 700 work zone deaths, one of which is my husband John. These statistics, though horrifying in their scope, fail to touch upon the individual grief and sorrow felt by the families, friends, and coworkers of those killed and injured. Every time I hear of another work zone crash, it breaks my heart and I am taken back to the emotions of that awful day and feel again as a victim of these tragedies. Those that are lost in work zone accidents touch me personally because my husband was known as the most safety-conscience person on the Turnpike.

I hope that you will find the information on this page helpful.  Please do not hesitate to call or email the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) if we can help in any way.  The TSC can be reached at info@trucksafety.org or 703.294.6404.

Fact Sheets

Helpful Links

To add your loved one’s name to the work zone memorial:

$5000 competitive Scholarship available to worker’s children:

Legislation to Reduce Work Zone Crashes: Ohio, Senate Bill 137, offered by Senator Tom Patton:

Recent Work Zone Truck Crash Articles

Twenty Years Later – the Tragic Truck Crash That Led to P.A.T.T.

Daphne and Steve Izer Remember their Son Jeff and his Friends and the Tragic Truck Crash That Led to Parents Against Tired Truckers – P.A.T.T.

Download Press Release Here (PDF)

Download Truck Driver Fatigue Fact Sheet (PDF)

20th-anniversary-patt-1Lisbon, Maine (October 10, 2013): On October 10, 1993, Daphne and Steve Izer received the worst news that a parent could get when a state trooper knocked on their door. A truck driver fell asleep at the wheel of his 80,000 pound rig, killing four innocent teenagers and seriously injuring one more. One of those killed was their son Jeff.  He and four of his friends were on their way to a haunted hayride and had just pulled into the breakdown lane on the Maine Turnpike with the car’s flashers on when a Wal-Mart truck driver fell asleep at the wheel of his big rig and crashed into Jeff and his friends.  As a result of this horrific, preventable crash, four beautiful teenagers: Jeff – age 17, Angie – age 16, Dawn Marie – age 15, and Katie – age 14 were killed.  Linda – age 15, survived but was seriously injured.  Five families suffered incomparable personal loss as a result of a single tired trucker. The Izers were devastated when they learned that truck driver fatigue had been a known truck safety issue for decades and that there were hundreds of thousands just like them — parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, co-workers and friends who had lost loved ones in preventable truck crashes.

 

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20th-anniversary-patt-2With the help of a family friend, Steve and Daphne formed Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) in May of 1994, to try to make a difference, to protect other families from what they had gone through, and to support the families who suffered similar losses.  P.A.T.T. has grown from a Maine grassroots group meeting around the Izer’s kitchen table to a nationally recognized organization.

Daphne recalls, “Our first action was to ensure that the Wal-Mart truck driver who killed our son was not merely fined and allowed to continue driving, which was the norm back then. After we raised a tremendous fuss, he was sentenced to only four months in prison. Then and there we knew we had to do more to change industry practices, improve enforcement of the regulations, and increase prosecution of violations.”

20th-anniversary-patt-3Soon after beginning P.A.T.T., the Izers started getting telephone calls from truck drivers and devastated families telling their stories.  Daphne remembers the early days, “Every call was answered.  Every conversation was part of P.A.T.T.’s education.  We held public meetings throughout the state of Maine, educating people, including law enforcement, prosecutors, drivers at truck stops and civic organizations. We did media interviews, radio talk shows, anything to get the message out.”

“We met other families who had suffered losses from truck crashes as well.  We printed “Stay Alert-Stay Alive” cards and fatigue prevention pamphlets that we all handed out, as well as, T-shirts and bumper stickers saying “Asleep at the Wheel-You Snooze We all Lose.” We raised money with bake sales, spaghetti dinners, and raffles.  We regularly produced a newsletter and I tried to send hand written notes to all victims of truck crashes I knew about on their anniversary date.”

20th-anniversary-patt-4“We quickly realized that we had to learn the legislative process. We worked almost 60 hours a week for years to build P.A.T.T., often exhausting ourselves in the process. We were constantly talking to the press, doing research for reporters, and were widely featured in a major AP story, and a series in the Portland, Maine press.”

Daphne continues, “At some point Steve and I knew that we needed help and that we needed to reach a wider audience and maintain a presence in Washington, DC. In 2002, we combined efforts with Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and formed the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC). Together, we are dedicated to reducing the number of preventable deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policy-makers and media about truck safety issues.”

 

20th-anniversary-patt-5“Steve and I wish that there’d been no reason for us to get involved in truck safety issues or to start P.A.T.T. but we had no choice. We are proud of all the work we’ve done and the organization we helped to build. Most importantly, our efforts have helped keep other families safe, and we’ve kept Jeff’s memory alive and close to our hearts.”

The Izer’s will spend the day privately, with family and friends, sharing memories of Jeff, Angie, Dawn Marie and Katie.

P.A.T.T.’s accomplishments include:

  • Increased the Maine wrongful death limit, which was only $75,000 at the time of Jeff’s crash;
  • Passed a tired trucker bill in Maine to strengthen enforcement and prosecution;
  • Passed a law requiring qualified investigators from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement unit of the State Police to investigate truck fatality crashes;
  • Served on the Motor Carrier Review Board for 13 years;
  • Participated in law suits to overturn the 2003 hours of service (HOS) rule, which raised the behind the wheel time from 10 to 11 hours;
  • Worked with Members of Congress to mandate the requirement for electronic logging devices (ELDs) in all commercial vehicles to prevent cheating on paper log books and to reduce truck driver fatigue;
  • Testified at numerous congressional hearings on fatigue and other truck safety issues;
  • Held hundreds of press conferences, interviews, and advocacy actions to support truck safety improvements;
  • Appeared on national television programs including Dateline and Geraldo;
  • Worked with every Secretary of Transportation since 1994; and
  • Hosted five Sorrow to Strength Conferences in Washington DC to teach truck crash survivors and the family of truck crash victims how to advocate for truck safety improvements, to educate them on truck safety issues and to provide a safe environment to connect and share stories about our loved ones.
  • 2001 PATT Brochure Download (PDF). Highlighting many more accomplishments.

P.A.T.T., working through the TSC, continues efforts to reduce fatigue related truck crashes by:

  • Ensuring that the ELD rule is completed and implemented as soon as possible;
  • Preventing exemptions to HOS limits;
  • Advocating for a requirement for sleep apnea screening for truck drivers;
  • Supporting the creation of safe and easily accessible rest areas for truck drivers;
  • Advocating for screening of prescription drugs which cause fatigue;
  • Protecting improvements to the HOS rule from being removed or weakened; and
  • Seeking changes to truck driver compensation so that truck drivers are paid for every hour worked.

Recent Media:

http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/2013/10/05/20-years-after-tragic-maine-crash-parents-still-ho/1430176

http://www.timesrecord.com/news/2013-10-10/Front_Page/Killed_by_tired_trucker_20_years_ago.html

Mother Loses Daughters, calls attention to insufficient underride guards

To see Marianne Karth’s interview, please follow the below link:

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/call-6-investigators/mother-loses-daughters-raises-truck-underride-concerns