2014 Was A Banner Year For Food Spills On Highways

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

2014 Was A Banner Year For Food Spills On Highways

Posted in Food Spin:

Early this morning, a cargo truck overturned on a Detroit highway, scattering boxes of frozen chicken wings across the asphalt, capping off what has been a remarkable year for highway-spill enthusiasts. Let us now stroll down food-spill memory lane. Watch your footing, it might be slippery.

Read more here.

Read Our Letter to Members of Congress Urging them to Vote NO on the Omnibus Appropriations Bill

December 10, 2014

Dear Member of Congress,

On behalf of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), the thousands of families who have lost loved ones, and the tens of thousands more who have been injured each year in truck crashes, we are writing to ask you to reject the Collins Rider to increase truck driver hours of service, and anti-safety riders to permit increases in truck weight limits in the states of Kentucky, Mississippi and Wisconsin, by voting NO on the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. These anti-safety riders will degrade highway safety and require expensive infrastructure modifications; and, will eliminate the two nights off-duty for truck drivers to rest, while significantly increasing working and driving hours for truck drivers up to 82 hours a week when fatigue is already a well-known and well-documented highway killer that results in deaths and injuries to innocent highway users and hard-working truck drivers.

None of these special interest riders has been subject to any committee hearings, adequate safety review or cost/benefit analysis.  However, all of them will have a profound impact on highway safety, deaths and injuries. By overwhelming margins in numerous public opinion polls, the American public consistently and convincingly rejects sharing the road with bigger, heavier and longer trucks and increasing truck drivers’ already arduous 70-hour work weeks, no matter the political affiliation, age, sex or geographic location of the respondent.

Truck crashes are a serious, deadly and costly problem to families, our infrastructure, our health care system, and to the economy.  Large truck crashes are on the rise.  In 2012, 3,921 people were killed and 104,000 more were injured. This is equivalent to a major airplane crash every week of the year. In the past ten years, a total of 44,204 people have been killed and nearly one million people have been injured in crashes involving large trucks. The annual cost to society from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles is estimated to be over $99 billion.

Our organizations and volunteers strongly oppose these anti-safety riders, and affirm that our families’ lives should not be needlessly jeopardized in order to pass a spending bill. Please vote NO on the Omnibus Bill.

Sincerely,

Joan Claybrook

Chair, CRASH

 

Daphne Izer

Lisbon, ME

Founder, PATT

Mother of Jeff Izer

Killed in a truck crash 10/10/93

 

Linda Wilburn

Weatherford, OK

Board Member, PATT

Mother of Orbie Wilburn

Killed in a truck crash 9/2/02

 

Larry Liberatore

Severn, MD

Board Member, PATT

Father of Nick Liberatore

Killed in a truck crash 6/9/97

 

Ed Slattery

Lutherville, MD

Board Member, PATT

Husband of Susan Slattery (killed)

Father of Matthew & Peter (critically injured)

Truck crash 8/16/10

 

Jennifer Tierney

Kernersville, NC

Board Member, CRASH

Daughter of James Mooney

Killed in a truck crash 9/20/83

 

Tami Friedrich Trakh

Corona, CA

Board Member, CRASH

Sister of Kris Mercurio,

Sister-in-Law of Alan Mercurio,

Aunt of Brandie Rooker & Anthony Mercurio

Killed in a truck crash 12/27/89

 

Jane Mathis

St. Augustine, FL

Board Member, PATT

Mother of David Mathis

Mother-in-Law of Mary Kathryn Mathis

Killed in a truck crash 3/25/04

 

Dawn King

Davisburg, MI

Board Member, CRASH

Daughter of Bill Badger

Killed in a truck crash 12/23/04

 

John Lannen

Executive Director, TSC

Maryland Truck Crash Victims’ Families Urge Chairwoman Mikulski to Remove Language from Omnibus Provisions to Increase Truck Driver Work Hours

MARYLAND TRUCK CRASH VICTIMS’ FAMILIES URGE CHAIRWOMAN MIKULSKI TO REMOVE LANGUAGE FROM OMNIBUS PROVISIONS TO INCREASE TRUCK DRIVER WORK HOURS

Eliminating Truck Drivers’ Weekend Off Will Result in Death, Devastation, and Danger on our Roads

WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2014) – Ed Slattery and Larry Liberatore, both Maryland residents who lost loved ones in truck crashes due to truck driver fatigue, sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) urging the chairwoman to ensure that critical regulations governing truck safety remain in full effect and are not rolled back in the 2015 government spending bill. Two days remain until the deadline to pass a spending bill expires. The letter comes in support of public safety, labor, public health, and consumer groups as well as Administration efforts to ensure that truck drivers receive adequate rest and are not driving fatigued on the nation’s roads and highways.

“As you know from our meetings, letters and emails, truck driver fatigue irrevocably altered our families and left our remaining members afflicted with grief and pain,” the safety advocates and Truck Safety Coalition volunteers wrote. “Larry lost his son, Nick, when a tired trucker carrying a load of steel veered across three lanes, and ran over the car in which Nick was a back seat passenger. Ed lost his wife, Susan, and his sons, Matthew and Peter, were seriously injured when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel of his triple-trailer truck and ran over their family’s car and then burst into flames. Peter was conscious to hear the paramedics declare his mother dead and Matthew suffered permanent traumatic brain injury. Truck driver fatigue crashes are sudden, brutal and unforgiving.”

Special trucking interests are now working with Senator Collins (R-ME) to repeal a truck safety regulation that will result in a significant increase in the working hours of truck drivers from 70 to 82 hours and a reduction in their off-duty rest time. This rider comes despite overwhelming public opposition (80 percent) to raising the number of work hours for truck drivers. In addition, 80 percent of Americans say they would feel less safe if legislation were passed to raise the number of hours a semi-truck driver is allowed to work in a week from 70 to 82 hours. Truck driver fatigue is a known major safety problem, and has been for over 70 years. The crash that happened last summer, when comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured and his friend, James McNair, was killed on the New Jersey Turnpike by a tired Walmart truck driver, is but one example of the devastation that occurs from fatigue.

The letter continues, “The current hours of service rules governing rest requirements for truck drivers are based on years of study and sound scientific research in addition to a review of public comments. They should remain firmly in place.  In 2012 large trucks were involved in 3,700 accidents with close to 4,000 fatalities and 104,000 injuries. With so many crashes, we should be examining further limitations on hours of service, not suspending the rules currently in place. At the very least, hours of service requirements should not be suspended during further study, but rather maintained until evidence illustrates a change would not pose a threat to public safety.”

Read the full letter here.

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Statements of Joan Claybrook and Daphne Izer On the Collins Rider Rolling Back Rules Limiting Hours of Service for Truck Drivers

Statement of Joan Claybrook, Chair of Citizens for Reliable and Safety Highways

On the Collins Rider Rolling Back Rules Limiting Hours of Service for Truck Drivers

December 9, 2014

While the final gavel has not fallen on the omnibus federal funding bill for 2014, tonight’s release of the House version includes the deadly rider sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) which may become law.  Her rider rolls back current federal rules giving truck drivers a reasonable two nights off after 70 hours on duty and replaces it with less rest time and 82 hours of driving and working.

Senator Collins led the assault on behalf of the trucking interests, with no Congressional hearings or scientific studies to support her rider except for the greedy demands of well-heeled corporate lobbyists.  Her proposal completely disregards public opinion which shows that 80 % of the American public opposes longer work hours for truckers.  The public knows the deadly consequences of tired truckers:  more fatigued drivers, more crashes, more deaths, more crippling injuries, and more costs.  Our nation already suffers 4,000 deaths annually and more than 100,000 injuries.   The trucking industry overrode this strong public opposition by cashing in on its financial support to elected officials.

Sen. Collins has now guaranteed that truck driver fatigue will continue to be a growing problem.  Our drivers are being driven to death.

No other transportation sector is responsible for so much death and destruction yet its critical safety rules were targeted for wholesale assault.   It seems you can get away with murder if you are well-heeled trucking industry lobbyists.

Several Members of Congress including Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Representatives Nita Lowey (D. NY), and Jim McGovern (D-MA) fought to protect the public and stop the trucking industry onslaught along with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and we commend their efforts.

Statement of Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT)

In response to the Anti-Truck Safety Rider in the Omnibus bill just released by the House, Endangering All Motorists on America’s Roadways

December 9, 2014

It is shocking that again and again Senator Collins has put the economic interests of the trucking industry before the safety of Maine families and the entire American traveling public.  80% of the American public opposes Congress increasing longer work hours for truck drivers, and yet Senator Collins forges ahead with pushing the corporate agenda.  If my loving son Jeff had been killed in an airplane crash involving a fatigued pilot, Congress would take swift and direct action to improve air traffic safety.  Yet, his death, like so many of the preventable deaths happening each year in crashes involving tired truckers, occurred on just an ordinary day in a small town and did not result in any change in policy protections.  Instead, today Congress responded by turning its back on families like mine and rolling back an important safety rule to prevent overworked and overtired truckers from jeopardizing the safety of everyone. Sen. Collins’s enduring loyalty to corporate trucking interests drove this safety attack and will be a major setback to keep tired truckers off the roads.

Read Maryland Truck Crash Victims’ Families Letter to Chairwoman Mikulski

December 9, 2014

Dear Chairwoman Mikulski:

Thank you again for meeting with us before the mark-up of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) FY 2015 Appropriations bill, S. 2438, on June 5, 2014, to discuss our serious concerns about Senator Collins’ amendment to change the current federal truck driver hours of service limit. We find it unconscionable that this dangerous rider is now being considered for inclusion in the Omnibus spending bill. This rider has not been the subject of any congressional hearings, undergone any comprehensive safety review or analysis by experts, or been part of an open rulemaking process for the public to provide our views and concerns.

As you know from our meetings, letters and emails, truck driver fatigue irrevocably altered our families and left our remaining members afflicted with grief and pain. Larry lost his son, Nick, when a tired trucker carrying a load of steel veered across three lanes, and ran over the car in which Nick was a back seat passenger. Ed lost his wife, Susan, and his sons, Matthew and Peter, were seriously injured when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel of his triple-trailer truck and ran over their family’s car and then burst into flames. Peter was conscious to hear the paramedics declare his mother dead and Matthew suffered permanent traumatic brain injury. Truck driver fatigue crashes are sudden, brutal and unforgiving.

As a nation, we cannot continue to pay the high cost of commercial motor vehicle crashes that are estimated at over $99 billion each year. As a society, we cannot continue to experience the loss of 4,000 lives and 100,000 people injured in preventable truck crashes every year. Given the known dangers of truck driver fatigue, the abundant scientific evidence that supports the current hours of service limit, and the significant and lengthy decade-long process to ensure the veracity of the hours of service rule and to engage all stakeholders, Congress should not be considering any change that would suddenly alter this rule and exacerbate truck driver fatigue leading to more deaths and injuries.

When we met with you before the bill mark-up and took photos together, we were touched by your sincere expression of sympathy for our losses. Our losses should not have to be felt by other families nor should you have to console another Maryland family because of a fatigue-related truck crash. Now is the time to act to ensure that we do not roll back safety to the previous low standard set during the Bush administration years.

We urge you to stop this dangerous rider in its tracks, and we will stand together with you to protect our Maryland families and families across the nation.

Sincerely,

Larry Liberatore

Board Member, Parents Against Tired Truckers

Severn, Maryland

 

Ed Slattery

Board Member, Parents Against Tired Truckers

Lutherville, Maryland

 

Senators Blumenthal and Booker Urge Leader Reid to Prevent Longer Hours for Truck Drivers

For Immediate Release:

December 8, 2014

Contact: Josh Zembik (Blumenthal) – 202-224-6452

Josh_Zembik@blumenthal.senate.gov

Monique Waters (Booker) – 202-224-8150

Monique_Waters@booker.senate.gov

BLUMENTHAL, BOOKER URGE MAJORITY LEADER REID TO REMOVE FROM OMNIBUS PROVISIONS THAT ROLL BACK REGULATIONS GOVERNING TRUCK SAFETY

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging the Senate Majority Leader to ensure that critical  regulations governing truck safety remain in full effect and are not rolled back in the 2015 government spending bill, which will likely be on the Senate floor later this week. The letter comes in support of Administration efforts to ensure that truck drivers receive adequate rest and are not driving fatigued on the nation’s roads and highways.

“We are extremely disappointed that despite our grave concerns, this matter is moving forward through the appropriations process, rather than with extensive study and debate,” the senators wrote. “This issue is far too important to have been altered outside of the committee of jurisdiction and without debate by the Senate.

“The current hours of service rules governing rest requirements for truck drivers are based on years of study and sound scientific research in addition to a review of public comments. They should remain firmly in place.  In 2012 large trucks were involved in 3,700 accidents with close to 4,000 fatalities and 104,000 injuries. With so many crashes, we should be examining further limitations on hours of service, not suspending the rules currently in place. At the very least, hours of service requirements should not be suspended during further study, but rather maintained until evidence illustrates a change would not pose a threat to public safety.”

The full text of the letter is below and as a PDF here.

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

We have serious concerns with the suspension of hours of service rules designed to prevent truck driver fatigue in the Fiscal Year 2015 omnibus appropriations bill. The suspension of the rules could force tired truckers to stay on the road for longer periods of time, impairing the safety and wellbeing of the public. This provision should not move forward without further study and debate. We urge you not to include it in the omnibus legislation.

In August, we wrote to Senator Mikulski outlining serious safety concerns and highlighted important testimony from a recent hearing held in the committee of jurisdiction that underscored the dangerous implications of rolling back these critical, life-saving rules. We are extremely disappointed that despite our grave concerns, this matter is moving forward through the appropriations process, rather than with extensive study and debate.  This issue is far too important to have been altered outside of the committee of jurisdiction and without debate by the Senate.

The current hours of service rules governing rest requirements for truck drivers are based on years of study and sound scientific research in addition to a review of public comments.  They should remain firmly in place.  In 2012 large trucks were involved in 3,700 accidents with close to 4,000 fatalities and 104,000 injuries. With so many crashes, we should be examining further limitations on hours of service, not suspending the rules currently in place.  At the very least, hours of service requirements should not be suspended during further study, but rather maintained until evidence illustrates a change would not pose a threat to public safety.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and former Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne Ferro, have both stated the current rules enhance safety and there is no data or evidence to support suspending the rules. It is estimated that the current hours of service rules can prevent 1,400 crashes, 19 fatalities and 500 injuries each year.

Some in the industry, however, seem more interested in the profits that come with drivers working longer hours than with the safety benefits that come from ensuring truck drivers receive adequate rest.

America’s truck drivers work long grueling hours to deliver goods across the nation.  They are a vital part of our economy, and we owe it to these workers and the people driving on our roads to ensure that fact-based science-driven policies are in place, rather than throwing out the rules to put profits over safety.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. If there is any further compromise that can be reached to protect individuals from needless accidents, injuries and fatalities, we urge you to give it due consideration.

Sincerely,

Richard Blumenthal                                                               Cory A. Booker

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

Truck Crash Victims and Labor and Safety Groups Urge Congress to Put Public Safety Before Industry Profit

Eliminating Truck Drivers’ Weekend Off Will Result in Death, Devastation and Danger on our Roads

 WASHINGTON, DC (Monday, December 8, 2014) – Today, families of truck crash victims and labor and safety groups joined U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to stop a special interest anti-safety provision being considered in the omnibus spending bill.  This provision being pushed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) would be a major change to federal truck safety regulations and dramatically increase the number of working and driving hours for truck drivers as well as repeal their two-day weekend off.

 Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), said, “Christmas is still a few weeks away but Senator Collins already is working to wrap up and deliver an expensive gift for her trucking industry allies.  She is trying to quietly slip language into the omnibus spending bill that will put trucking industry profits ahead of public safety.  Her proposal will allow trucking industry executives to force truck drivers to get behind the wheel and work for more than 80 hours a week, double the 40-hour work week of most Americans.  Unfortunately, this gift to industry will be paid for by the families across the country and tired truckers who will be put at unreasonable and unacceptable risk of death and injury on our highways.”

 Teamsters Director of Federal Legislation and Regulation, Fred P. McLuckie, said,  “As our General President Jim Hoffa aptly stated last week, Senator Collins should not be trying to use the Omnibus as a testing ground for policies that denigrate highway safety and put all the traveling public at greater risk.”

 A recent survey conducted by Lake Research Partners shows that the public understands this industry-wide problem of fatigue and the dangers it poses to motorists. This survey found overwhelming public opposition (80%) to Congress raising the number of hours a semi-truck driver is allowed to work in a week. The American public convincingly rejects increasing work and driving hours for truck drivers no matter the political affiliation, age, sex or geographic location of the respondent.

 Jacqueline Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated, “The Collins proposal to gut a key truck safety rule has not been the subject of a single House or Senate congressional hearing, undergone any comprehensive safety review or analysis by experts, or been part of an open rulemaking process for the public to provide their views and concerns.  In sharp contrast, the deal-making is happening behind closed doors as Congress rushes to finish up legislative business.  Let’s be clear.  The American public opposes it as well as truck crash victims, safety and labor groups, law enforcement and the Secretary of Transportation doesn’t want it. We urge Congress to stop this assault on safety.”

 Daphne Izer, of Maine and a founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) stated, “It’s outrageous that the Senator from my home state would try to attach this language to a must-pass spending bill. I’m also personally offended by Senator Collins’s attack on Secretary Foxx for sending a letter to Congress urging retention of the evidence and research-based current rule. Secretary Foxx’s objections are consistent with the DOT’s mission to reduce fatalities and injuries and protect the driving public.”  Izer’s 17-year-old son Jeff and three of his friends were killed on October 10, 1993, when a Walmart truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

 Ron Wood, whose mother Betsy, sister Lisa and her three children, Chance (age 4), Brock (age 2) and Reid (6 weeks old), were killed near Sherman, Texas when a tractor trailer driver fell asleep behind the wheel and crossed a median into oncoming traffic, said, “I urge our Members of Congress to support their constituents, and prevent the dangerous Collins Amendment from progressing any further. A fatigue-related truck crash happens in a second. Grief and loss last a lifetime.”

Download/Print PDF

CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088
beth_weaver@verizon.net or
Cathy Chase, 571-243-7282
cchase@saferoads.org

Read Joan Claybrook’s Statement in Response to the American Trucking Associations (ATA)

Statement of Joan Claybrook, Chair and

Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves is trying to bamboozle the American public into thinking that big rigs driven by overtired and overworked truck drivers is really safer for everyone.  Fortunately, the American public isn’t buying it.  A recent public opinion poll conducted by the well-respected Lake Research Partners shows that 80% of the public strongly opposes allowing truck drivers to work and drive up to 82 hours a week.  It’s not surprising that large margins of the American public also believe it will make our roads less safe.

Mr. Graves also makes the phony claim that the provision being pushed by Senator Collins (R-ME) benefiting corporate trucking interests is not being added to the funding bill at the11th hour.    Here are the facts.  There has not been a single congressional oversight hearing in either the House or Senate on making this dangerous and deadly change to current law.  There has not been any comprehensive safety review and analysis by experts.  And, there has not been an open rulemaking process for the public and others to express their views and voice their concerns.  Transparency is what is expected in a democracy when the public’s interests are put ahead of the interests of well-heeled and well-connected industry lobbyists.

This is not a new tactic for Senator Collins and the ATA.  Five years ago Senator Collins was responsible for a one-year exemption for Maine from federal truck limits allowing 100,000 pound trucks throughout the state.  The year after the exemption ended, Senator Collins came back and pushed through a twenty-year exemption.  Once again, Senator Collins and the ATA are using the same “playbook”.  We urge Congress to stop this unconscionable and dangerous deal-making at the expense and peril of the American public.

Finally, the rebuttal offered up by Mr. Graves is an analysis by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).  ATRI is the research arm of the ATA located at the exact same address as the trucking industry trade association and whose board is comprised of industry executives.  This is hardly an objective, conflict-free, or credible scientific analysis on the impacts of gutting an important existing safety rule.

We will continue to fight the enactment of this anti-safety proposal.  This proposal will make our highways more dangerous and that’s why every major public health, consumer, safety and law enforcement group and the families who have lost loved ones in truck crashes oppose the Collins Amendment.  The end result of this David versus Goliath battle against the “who’s who list” of corporate America will have a profound and lasting impact on the safety of our roads.  We urge Congress to put public safety before industry profit.

Media Advisory: Truck Driver Fatigue is a Major Factor in Truck Crashes – Truck Drivers Need a Weekend Off

CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088

beth_weaver@verizon.net or

Cathy Chase, 571-243-7282

cchase@saferoads.org

UPDATE: Battle Over Truck Driver Hours of Service Law Reaching Peak

12/5: Sen. Collins Issues Statement Saying U.S. DOT Secretary Foxx’s Letter is “Inaccurate” and “Inflammatory”

12/6: ATA President and CEO Graves Issues Statement Saying Obama Administration Doesn’t Understand the Consequences of Its Rule; Safety Groups Using “Deceptive Tactics”, “Outright Lies”, “Falsehoods” and “Half-Truths”

12/6: Parents Against Tired Truckers Founder Daphne Izer Sends Letter to Sen. Collins Defending Sec. Foxx for Putting Safety First

12/6: Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways Chair Joan Claybrook Issues Statement Highlighting Provision Being Pushed Through Without Any Hearings, Safety Reviews or Analysis in Final Hours of Session

12/8: Press Conference

Every Minute and a Half, a Large Truck Crash Occurs

Truck Driver Fatigue is a Major Factor in Truck Crashes – Truck Drivers Need a Weekend Off

Public Will Pay with Their Lives and Wallets if Trucking Industry “Wish List” Becomes Law

WHEN:           Monday, December 8, 2014, 10:30 a.m. EST

WHERE:        U.S. Capitol, House Visitor Center room 215

WHAT:           Congress is Considering a Major Change to Federal Regulations that Will Dramatically Increase the Number of Hours a Semi-Truck Driver is Allowed to Work in a Week from 70 to 82 Hours.  Only 6 months ago comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured and James McNair was killed in a horrific crash caused by a fatigued truck driver.  U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sent a letter urging Congress to reject this change.

This special interest rider is being pushed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to be included in the overall government funding bill being negotiated before Congress adjourns.  There have been no Congressional hearings and no safety reviews.  Also, there has been no Senate debate or vote on the amendment to strip the anti-safety provision sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and numerous Senators.* Safety groups and truck crash victims sent a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders urging them to stop assaults on truck safety and a letter to Secretary Foxx urging recommendation of a presidential veto if anti-safety provisions are included.

WHO:             U.S. Congressman James McGovern (D-MA)

Jackie Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Fred McLuckie, Legislative Director, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Daphne Izer (Lisbon, ME), Co-Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Daphne lost her 17-year-old son Jeff on October 10, 1993, when a Wal-Mart truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel. Jeff and three of his friends were killed, and another was seriously injured.  She is a recipient of the 2014 White House Champions of Change award.

Ron Wood (Washington, D.C.) On September 20, 2004, Ron’s mother Betsy, sister Lisa and her three children, Chance (age 4), Brock (age 2) and Reid (6 weeks old), were killed near Sherman, Texas when a tractor trailer driver fell asleep behind the wheel and crossed a median into oncoming traffic.  The driver collided with two vehicles, killing a total of ten people and injuring two more.

BACKGROUND:      

  • Truck driver fatigue and Hours of Service compliance has been recognized as a major safety concern and a contributing factor to fatal truck crashes for over 70 years.
  • Adoption of Sen. Collins’ provision will revert the HOS rule to the one in effect when a 2006 survey of truck drivers found an alarming 65% of truck drivers reported they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half admitted to falling asleep while driving in the previous year.(Truck Driver Fatigue Management Survey, FMCSA, 2006).
  • Truck crashes are on the rise.  From 2009 to 2012, truck crash injuries increased by a staggering 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 people injured in 2012.  During this same period, truck crash fatalities increased three years in a row, a cumulative 16 percent increase, resulting in nearly 4,000 deaths in 2012.
  • Commercial motor vehicle crashes result in a cost of $99 Billion to the U.S. every year.
  • The current Hours of Service rule issued by U.S. DOT took effect last year after consideration of 21,000 formal docket comments submitted from drivers, carriers, state law enforcement, safety advocates and trucking industry associations; 6 public listening sessions and an online Q&A forum; review of 80 sources of scientific research and data; a Regulatory Impact Analysis of nearly 50 scientific sources.
  • The current rule allows truckers to take a short rest period of just 34 hours off-duty before beginning a new work week, which can include up to 60 or 70 hours of driving. The “Collins amendment” will suspend the safety requirements that prevent drivers from taking back-to-back short rest periods after long weeks, and require two periods of rest between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., dramatically increasing allowable driving hours of truck drivers to more than 80 hours a week.

*Sponsors of “Booker Amendment” to retain current 34-Hour Restart Provision: Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Edward Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

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Read Daphne Izer’s Letter in Response to Senator Collins’ Deadly and Dangerous Provision to Increase Working Hours for Truck Drivers

Dear Senator Collins,

I am personally offended by your attack on Secretary Foxx for sending a letter on Friday to House and Senate Members stating his objections to your deadly and dangerous provision to significantly increase the allowable working and driving hours of truck drivers.  Your response on Friday, released through your spokesperson Kevin Kelley, was that the letter was “inflammatory.”  What is inflammatory is that I have been meeting with your staff and writing to you for many years about the problems of truck safety nationally and in Maine.  You have only responded to the needs of the trucking industry and not to the needs of families like mine and the thousands of others who have had loved ones killed every year because of overworked and overtired truck drivers.

My teenage son Jeff and three of his friends needlessly died in a preventable truck crash when a Walmart driver fell asleep at the wheel.  Truck driver fatigue has been recognized for decades by the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal government and confirmed in scientific studies as a major safety problem and factor in truck crashes.  Yet, despite the evidence and the thousands of innocent deaths you still push the industry’s agenda to require even more weekly, monthly and annual hours of working and driving.  Since Jeff’s death there have been other tragic fatigue related truck crashes in Maine, such as the death of five-year-old Liam Mahaney, when a 104,000 pound logging truck crashed onto the Mahaney family’s lawn, overturned, and spilled its load into their house. The truck driver had fallen asleep, and as a result, Christina and Gary Mahaney suffered serious injuries, but Liam was killed instantly.

Secretary Foxx has often stated that safety is his highest priority.  He demonstrated that by writing a letter to the Senate and House Members objecting to your proposal to gut a key safety feature of the current rule on truck driver hours of service.  I stand with Secretary Foxx and all of the other public health and safety groups, law enforcement, and other parents who have also had to bury their children because of truck crashes involving fatigue and commend him for speaking out for all of us.

Sincerely,

Daphne Izer

Lisbon, Maine

Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT)

Mother of Jeff Izer

PRESS RELEASE: Truck Crash Survivors and Victims Urge Congress to Stop Assault on Truck Safety

Contact: Beth Weaver 301.814.4088,/beth_weaver@verizon.net

Congress Poised to Increase Truck Driver Hours of Service

In Aftermath of Tracy Morgan Truck Crash

Truck Crash Victims & Survivors, Public Health & Safety Groups and Truck Drivers Urge Congress to Stop Assault on Truck Safety in Government Funding Bill

Secretary Foxx Should Recommend Veto if Anti-Safety Strikes Are Taken

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 3, 2014)-Leaders of the nation’s public health and safety, labor, environment and consumer groups together with victims and survivors of truck crashes urged Congressional leaders involved in the negotiations of the funding bill to reject non-related, anti-safety provisions from being included. Crash victims and organizations also pressed the Obama Administration to veto any spending bill that will result in more highway deaths and injuries. Corporate trucking and shipping interests are pushing a long and deadly “wish list” including allowing significant truck weight increases for several states; forcing 39 states to allow longer trailer lengths of 33 feet on streets and highways to benefit FedEx and other trucking companies; and, rolling back the current hours of service limits for truck drivers by eliminating the two-day weekend off-duty for truck drivers to rest. The industry-backed proposal will increase the current working and driving hours of truck drivers from 70 to 82 hours a week and greatly contribute to fatigued truck drivers.

With only 8 days before funding expires to keep the federal government open, truck crash victims and survivors and organizations also sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx urging him to recommend a presidential veto of any funding bill that includes anti-truck safety, special interest exemptions to federal safety laws and rules. Enactment of any of these anti-safety measures will have a profound and lasting impact on highway safety, deaths and injuries for years to come.

Joan Claybrook, Chair of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), stated, “President Obama took a bold stance objecting to legislation being negotiated to extend expiring tax breaks for well-connected corporations while neglecting working families. Similarly, we urge the White House to reject any funding bill that puts greedy special interest exemptions for well-connected corporate trucking and shipping interests before the safety of millions of innocent American families and truck drivers on our streets and highways every day.”

“The Omnibus should not be a testing ground for policies that denigrate highway safety and further deteriorate our crumbling infrastructure,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President.

Jackie Gillan, president, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated, “These special interest riders have not been subject to any committee hearings or adequate safety review and are being decided by Congress behind closed doors. Public opinion polls clearly and consistently show that Americans do not want to share the road with bigger and longer trucks driven by overworked and overtired truckers. The American public will pay with their lives and their wallets if Congress gives in to the anti-safety agenda of trucking interests.”

Truck crashes are a serious, deadly and costly problem to families, our infrastructure, our health care system, and to the economy. Large truck crashes are on the rise. In 2012, nearly 4,000 people were killed and 104,000 more were injured. The annual cost to society from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles is estimated to be over $99 Billion.

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), added, “The number of people killed in truck crashes is equivalent to a major airplane crash every week of the year. Congress should not be listening to well-heeled and well-connected trucking executives who want to push truck drivers to work 82 hours in a week. Truck driver fatigue is a major serious threat to everyone on the road. My teenage son was needlessly killed by a Walmart driver who fell asleep at the wheel. I am shocked that this proposal to eliminate the two-day weekend off-duty for truck drivers to rest is being seriously considered by Congress in the aftermath of the horrific crash that seriously injured Tracy Morgan and killed James McNair.”

Read the Letter to Secretary Foxx.

Read the Letter to Leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees.

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FMCSA Steps Closer to Correcting Insufficient Minimum Insurance Requirements for Motor Carriers

FMCSA STEPS CLOSER TO CORRECTING INSUFFICIENT MINIMUM INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS

Truck Crash Survivors and Families of Truck Crash Victims Support Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Urge FMCSA to Ensure that Truck Crash Damages are Adequately Addressed

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 2, 2014) – On Friday, November 28, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an advanced noticed of proposed rulemaking to evaluate options for increasing the level of minimum insurance requirements and for future rulemaking. Minimum insurance is the absolute bare minimum amount of insurance coverage that trucks are required to carry in order to operate, and should adequately cover the damages resulting from a truck crash. Minimum insurance on motor carriers has not been revised for over 30 years since it was set at $750,000 for carriers of property. Increases to minimum insurance for 30 years of medical care inflation are necessary and long overdue. Current minimum insurance levels for motor carriers frequently fail to adequately cover the property damage and human costs caused by truck crashes.  As a result, private citizens are forced to unfairly subsidize motor carriers that comply with federal rules yet still lack sufficient insurance coverage. Last week’s step toward rulemaking follows decades of truck safety advocacy by families who have been personally impacted as a result of insufficient minimum insurance requirements.

Kate Brown, Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) Illinois Volunteer Coordinator and Illinois State Freight Advisory Committee (ISFAC) member after her son Graham was permanently, partially disabled in a 2005 truck crash said, “Our families’ losses are two-fold.  First, we are forced to bear the costs of a lifetime of grief and suffering when loved ones are needlessly killed and endure debilitating injuries. Second, we are forced to assume a tremendous financial burden that drains our savings and threatens our financial security.”  Brown added, “Graham’s medical bills exceeded the carrier’s insurance within the first couple of months of his hospitalization. Our personal savings and retirement accounts were sacrificed to get him the care he needed.”

Minimum insurance requirements should be increased immediately to compensate for 30 years of medical care cost inflation. Additionally, the minimum insurance level should be reassessed on a yearly basis to ensure that it is fulfilling its intention. Truck crashes have the capacity to inflict catastrophic damages on multiple victims and families. Motor carriers should be required to carry adequate insurance per claimant, rather than per crash so that each person involved in the crash has access to sufficient resources in order to cover the loss of their loved ones, their medical expenses, loss of income and loss of property.

Jackie Novak, TSC Volunteer, said, “Some segments of the motor carrier industry choose not to have sufficient insurance to cover all of their damages caused in a crash. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is aware of the gap between insurance coverage and costs, and has been exceedingly slow to issue a rule to close the gap. Every day that they fail to do so is an unconscionable burden on our families.”

Novak’s son, Charles “Chuck” Novak, and his girlfriend, Theresa Seaver, were killed in a 2010 truck crash that claimed the lives of three others. A total of 15 were killed or injured in that crash. Novak added, “The motor carrier that caused the crash only held a $1 million policy, slightly higher than the minimum now required under federal rule.”

Marianne Karth, a TSC Volunteer, after losing her daughters AnnaLeah and Mary in a 2013 truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son, launched the “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety” petition. The Karth family gained more than 11,000 supporters seeking to improve truck safety and specifically to raise minimum insurance level requirements. The Karths delivered the petition to the U.S. DOT in May 2014.

Karth said, “We urge the FMCSA to heed the groundswell of support to increase minimum insurance levels that is evident in our petition. Act expediently! Thirty years of insufficient coverage is long enough. Families that pay such a high emotional price should not be forced to also bear the financial burden for their loss from a truck crash.”

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Read this Statement from Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, on the 60 Minutes Report on our Crumbling Infrastructure

Last night, 60 Minutes aired a segment on America’s infrastructure, “Falling apart: America’s neglected infrastructure.”  Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, released a statement on this report. In this statement, Ms. Gillan stated that,

The data is clear and indisputable.  Bigger trucks mean bigger infrastructure damage, bigger safety threats and bigger economic costs to the public.

Read all of Jackie Gillan’s statement here.

Boston Mayor Proposes a Rule to City Council Requiring the use of Side Guards

One of the issues the Truck Safety Coalition advocates for is that all trucks and trailers are equipped with energy-absorbing rear impact guards mounted lower to the ground (16 inches), with vertical supports spaced farther apart (mounted 18 inches from the side edges) to effectively protect car occupants from death and injury in rear impact crashes. This safety technology is proven and well known. Additionally, we believe that actions must be taken to improve the current rear guard regulation and to include side panel and front underride (also referred to as front override) guard requirements.

A recent Volpe article announced that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has proposed a rule to the Boston City Council requiring side guards on all large city vehicles or trailers.

On September 8, Mayor Walsh proposed an ordinance that would require side guards on all city vehicles or trailers exceeding a gross weight of 10,000 pounds and on semi-trailers exceeding a gross weight of 26,000 pounds.

According to Volpe,

Side guards, which are installed on large trucks to protect bicyclists and pedestrians from falling underneath the vehicle, helped reduce bicyclist fatalities by 61 percent and pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent in the United Kingdom in side-impact crashes after side guards were required on most heavy-duty vehicles.

 

Announcement: John Lannen appointed to MCSAC Vice-Chair

This week, it was announced during the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) that John Lannen, Executive Director, Truck Safety Coalition, has been appointed to serve as Vice-Chair of MCSAC after serving as a committee member for the past four years.  Congratulations to John, and best wishes in his new role at MCSAC.

Survey Results Show Strong Public Opposition to Increasing Truck Drivers’ Working and Driving Hours

Highway safety groups released survey results conducted by Lake Research Partners showing overwhelming public opposition, 80 percent, to Congress raising the number of hours a semi-truck driver is allowed to work in a week.

You can see the full results here.

Press Release: New Survey Shows Strong Public Opposition to Longer Truck Driver Working Hours

New Survey Shows Strong Public Opposition to Longer Truck Driver Working Hours

CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088, beth_weaver@verizon.net

Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2014) – Highway safety groups today released the results of a survey conducted by Lake Research Partners demonstrating overwhelming public opposition, 80%, to Congress raising the number of hours a semi-truck driver is allowed to work in a week.  This issue was recently brought to public attention after a semi-truck driver crashed into a limobus injuring Tracy Morgan and killing James McNair. The poll was commissioned to gauge public views on this issue after a Senate committee approved legislation that would change current federal law to increase truck drivers’ work week from 70 to 82 hours and take away the two-day weekend.  Survey results available: www.saferoads.org and www.trucksafety.org.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman James McGovern (D-MA) joined Jackie Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates); John Lannen, Executive Director, Truck Safety Coalition (TSC); Joshua Ulibarri, Partner, Lake Research Partners; Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH); James Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Daphne Izer, Co-Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT); and Linda Wilburn, Board Member, PATT, on a media call with reactions to survey results.

Advocates’ President Jackie Gillan, stated, “This survey reveals a clear disconnect between what the public wants and what special trucking interests want from Congress at the expense of public safety for everyone.  We urge Congress to reject this anti-safety change and heed the public’s correct assessment of the dangers.”

When Congress returns to the Capitol, debate will resume on annual spending bills for federal agencies including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development FY 2015 Appropriations bill. The Senate version, S. 2438, includes a rider, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), which will substantially increase truck driver hours of service, if enacted. An amendment to strike the increase, sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and others, is pending in the Senate.

TSC’s Executive Director John Lannen remarked, “Truck driver fatigue has been identified as a major safety problem and leading factor of fatal truck crashes by the National Transportation Safety Board. Increasing truck driver work hours would be a deadly setback for safety.”

From 2009 to 2012, truck crash injuries increased by 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 people injured in 2012, and fatalities increased by 16 percent, resulting in nearly 4,000 deaths in 2012.

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Industry Makes Improvements While Rule for Better Underride Languishes

INDUSTRY MAKES IMPROVEMENTS WHILE RULE FOR BETTER UNDERRIDE LANGUISHES 

IIHS Report Shows Trailer Manufacturer Improved Rear Underride Guard Design

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 9, 2014) – Today, the  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)  released a new report showing improvements in underride guard safety adopted by a trailer manufacturer in advance of rulemaking. Less than three months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a grant of petition for rulemaking to evaluate options for increasing the safety of underride guards, on trailers and single-unit trucks, the IIHS report states trailer manufacturers are making underride guard improvements and are expected to ask for retesting, while NHTSA continues to work on a new standard. Truck safety advocates are heartened by the industry’s initiative, noting that further improvements should be made to ensure that all manufacturers’ rear underride guards pass the 30 percent overlap test. To date, IIHS reports this test has been passed by only one trailer manufacturer, Manac.

Marianne Karth, a Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) Volunteer, whose “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety” petition helped to spur NHTSA’s decision to begin underride guard rulemaking said, “All trailers should have underride guards that withstand the 30 percent overlap test. We should not settle for less when safer guards are known and available.”  Karth and her family started their petition that gained over 11,000 supporters after losing daughters AnnaLeah and Mary, in May 2013, in an underride truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son.

“I am glad that advances are being made by the industry. Having advocated for better underride guards for over thirty years, I can personally testify that it takes far too long to produce a requirement for lifesaving safety improvements,” said Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator, and Member, FMCSA, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC), after losing her father in an underride crash.

During 2011, NHTSA reported that large truck rear impacts comprised 19 percent of the fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles, and that large truck side impacts comprised 15 percent of fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles. On July 10, 2014, NHTSA announced plans to issue two separate notices for underride guards that have not yet been fulfilled. One is an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on single-unit trucks and the other is a notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on trailers and semitrailers. NHTSA also indicated that they will research front and side guards for rulemaking.

Tierney added, “In addition to rear underride, the IIHS report notes that 63 percent of fatal truck crashes involve the front of the truck, and that in Europe, front underride guards (also called front override guards) have been required since 1994. It’s past time for us to address improvements to all types of underride including front, side and rear.”

Nancy Meuleners, TSC Minnesota Volunteer Coordinator, barely survived an underride crash that left her permanently disfigured. Meuleners, who has worked to advance underride guard safety for decades said, “NHTSA has the power to greatly reduce the needless loss and suffering that result from underride crashes, and I hope that they will act quickly to start rulemaking. I am glad that individual manufacturers are making improvements, but we really need a new underride guard rule, as well as side and front guard rules, to set a higher standard across the industry.”

The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org), a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), is dedicated to reducing the number of 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.

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The New York Times on Issuing a Long Overdue Rule for Entry Level Truck Driver Training

On October 4, 2014, The New York Times published an editorial in support of ending the delays in issuing the long overdue “common-sense training standards for truck drivers.”

The editorial cites the large number of deaths that involve large trucks, approximately 4,000 people each year, for the urgency of issuing a rule for truck driver training.

A disproportionate number of highway fatalities involve large trucks, yet current federal standards are grievously lax. To get a commercial license to operate a big rig, drivers are only required to receive 10 hours of classroom lectures, pass a written test and take a brief road test. While some also receive hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training, many do not.

Last month, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, along with Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, filed a lawsuit in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court to order Department of Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, to issue minimum entry-level training requirements. If the lawsuit is successful, rulemaking should occur within 60 days of the Court’s order and a final rule should occur 120 days thereafter. Although, as the editorial states,

It should not require a court order to persuade Mr. Foxx to do what should have been done more than 20 years ago.

Truck Safety Advocates in the News

Two of our volunteers are now featured in two recent articles published by Bloomberg News. In these articles, Marianne Karth and Ed Slattery, speak out about their personal experiences on living after a tragedy.

After Marianne lost two of her daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, in a truck crash last year, she turned her pain into advocacy. Marianne started a petition directed at Secretary Foxx that accrued over 11,000 signatures. The petition urges the Department of Transportation Secretary to address the truck safety issues that could have helped prevent the truck crash that killed her daughters. In the petition, Marianne asks him to (1) raise the minimum levels of insurance required for truck drivers, (2) decrease driver fatigue and monitor their hours on the road with Electronic Logging Devices, and (3) take needed steps to improve underride guards.

Karth turned to Facebook, created her own website and sent more than 11,000 petitions to pressure U.S. regulators, including Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, in a bid to force safer trucking practices and equipment.

Speaking about her advocacy work, Marianne told Bloomberg News,

If there’s anything I can do to help prevent some other family from having to go through the same thing, then it’s worth it.

Ed’s wife, Susan, was killed and son, Matthew, was permanently injured in a truck crash. According to the article,

Matthew is making slow and steady progress, yet will always need care.

The Truck driver responsible for the crash has since lost his job and was sentenced to prison, after admitting to falling asleep while driving. Much of Ed’s story involves conflict with the driver, and as the article states,

Their combined experiences add up to a tale of loss, forgiveness and denial that is still evolving.

At the heart of this story, however, is Ed’s relationship with his son. Speaking about Matthew, Ed tells Bloomberg News,

I love him so much it hurts.

Indiana Family Starts Petition Urging Criminal Charges Against Truck Driver Responsible For Death Of Seven Family Members

September 30, 2014 – As his family prepared to mark the one-year anniversary of the truck crash that killed seven members of his family, Gerald Williams suffered another heartbreak when he learned that Christine Haskell, the Prosecuting Attorney for Jasper County, Indiana, had decided not to press criminal charges on the truck driver responsible for the crash.  Given the extreme loss and the discovery of several potential violations and safety issues, including fatigue and speed, which may have contributed to the fatal crash, the possibility that no charges would be filed had not been considered by the family. Williams, the father of Lindsey and Yvette Williams and grandfather of Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, decided to start a petition urging Haskell to reconsider her decision. The petition has already accrued more than 1,700 signatures and Williams is hopeful that support will continue.

“I am overwhelmed by the support that we’ve received for the petition,” said Williams, a former truck driver. “And I hope that many more folks will sign on to join our family’s appeal for justice. It’s validating to know that so many people are as outraged as we are that no charges have been filed, and that they stand with us in our belief that  justice should be served. Nothing will bring back my girls and my grandchildren, but I’m going to do everything I can to ensure that no other family has to experience the catastrophic loss that my family and I have suffered, and will have to endure for the rest of our lives.”

On August 15, 2013, a semi-truck rear-ended an SUV containing seven members of the extended Williams family in Jasper County, Indiana. The crash occurred after the family’s vehicle stopped in traffic while approaching a work zone. The initial impact pushed their vehicle into another semi ahead of them, causing the SUV to burst into flames and killing Lindsey Williams, 27, and her two children, Yazmin Goldman, 5, and Arielle Goldman, 3, Lindsay’s sister, Yvette Williams, 35, and her two children, Jamin Osborne, 5, and Jazmin Osborne, 7, and the Williams sisters’ Uncle, Amado Mangual, 49.

The Williams point to the fact that there were no skid marks on the road after the crash, which indicates that the driver failed to slow down or brake before colliding with the family’s vehicle. This led the Williams family to consider that the truck driver was inattentive and possibly fatigued at the time of the crash. Truck driver fatigue has been an industry-wide health and safety issue for over 70 years. A 2006 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study revealed that 65 percent of truck drivers reported they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half admitted they fell asleep while driving in the previous year. Fatigue continues to be a major contributor to the unacceptably high number of yearly truck crashes and the resulting fatalities and injuries. From 2009 to 2012, truck crash fatalities increased by 16 percent, and truck crash injuries increased by 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 injuries in 2012.

It is also believed that the semi-truck hit the family’s vehicle at Interstate speeds, and that the driver had not reduced his speed as it was required and posted in the work zone where the crash occurred. The truck driver had a history of prior speeding violations, at least five since 2006. Trucks are over represented in fatal highway crashes and even more so in work zone fatal crashes, like in the Williams family’s case. Although trucks account for about four percent of registered vehicles, they are involved in 11 percent of fatal highway crashes, and 27 percent of fatal work zone crashes involve at least one truck.

“We believe that Ms. Haskell’s failure to press charges sends a very dangerous message to the trucking industry, that you can kill seven people and just walk away,” Williams said. “We hope that this petition will send a different message to truck drivers out there — that all actions have consequences, and you will be held accountable in the public and civil realm, even if there is lack of accountability within the criminal justice system. No one else should needlessly die because of a preventable truck crash.”

The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org), a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), is dedicated to reducing the number of 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.

Read and sign the petition here.

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Safety Advocates, Teamsters Sue U.S. DOT for Failing to Issue Long-Overdue Truck Driver Training Requirements

For Immediate Release:

Sept. 18, 2014

Contact:

Karilyn Gower (202) 588-7779

Beth Weaver (301) 814-4088

Safety Advocates, Teamsters Sue U.S. DOT for Failing to Issue Long-Overdue Truck Driver Training Requirements

20 Years, Two Lawsuits and Two Congressional Mandates Later, Inexperienced Truck Drivers Still Hit the Road With No Behind-the-Wheel Training

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal appellate court should order the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a long-overdue rule outlining training standards for entry-level truck drivers, safety advocates and a union told the court in a lawsuit filed today.

Congress initially told the agency to finish a rulemaking process on driver training by 1993, but the agency still has not done so.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed the suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency charged with issuing the rule. Public Citizen is representing the groups.

“People are dying needlessly while the agency drags its feet,” said Henry Jasny, senior vice president and general counsel with Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “New truck drivers need to be properly trained before they get behind the wheel. This is a dereliction of the agency’s duty.”

“Enough is enough,” said Adina Rosenbaum, attorney for Public Citizen. “Twenty years, two lawsuits and two congressional mandates have not been successful at prodding the DOT into issuing the entry-level driver training rule. The court should step in and order the agency to act.”

There are 3.9 million commercial motor vehicle drivers in the U.S. with commercial driver’s licenses, and new drivers get on the roads daily. Drivers need only receive 10 hours of classroom lectures and pass a test to get their commercial driver’s license to drive a truck.

Large trucks that can weigh up to 40 tons when fully loaded are more complicated to operate than automobiles. Inexperienced truck drivers have higher crash rates and should have hours of supervised, behind-the-wheel training before they are allowed on the highways.

Approximately 4,000 people die and nearly 100,000 more are injured annually in truck crashes, according to government data. Large truck crash fatalities increased by 4 percent in 2012. This follows a 2 percent increase in 2011 and a 9 percent increase in 2010, despite a decline in overall motor vehicle deaths. Further, there was an 18 percent increase in 2012 of those injured in large truck crashes. The annual cost to society from large truck crashes is estimated to be more than $99 billion.

Dorothy Wert’s husband, David Wert, Sr., was killed in 2011 in a truck crash caused by an inexperienced truck driver who left his broken-down truck parked in the middle of a dark Pennsylvania highway at 3 a.m. with no lights on and no warning signals or flares. After the crash, David, a truck driver with 35 years of experience, managed to drive his truck safely onto the side of the road in spite of suffering fatal injuries.

“We have waited far too long for a requirement to ensure that truck drivers know what they are doing and have been tested before we allow them behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound truck,” said Wert, a CRASH volunteer advocate who lives in Montrose, Pa. “Truck drivers should not be allowed to drive without a required understanding of the regulations and a minimum number of training hours behind the wheel. I know that my husband would be alive today if the driver that caused Dave’s crash had been better trained, had more experience and had taken the proper precautions.”

“Proper training is absolutely necessary for new drivers to operate their rigs safely,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president. “The agency is shirking its responsibility by not issuing this long-overdue rule.”

The path to the rule has been long. In 1991, concerned about truck crashes, Congress passed a law requiring the DOT to complete a rulemaking by 1993 on the need to require training of entry-level commercial motor vehicle operators.

In 2002, when no rule had been issued, safety advocates went to court to force the agency to act. The DOT agreed to issue the rule by 2004. While it did issue a rule that year, the rule was grossly inadequate, requiring only 10 hours of classroom lectures, none of it on-the-road training. That is the rule that is still on the books.

Safety advocates returned to court, and in 2005, the court ruled that FMCSA had disregarded volumes of evidence that on-street training enhances safety. In 2007, the DOT issued another proposed rule, but the agency never finished it.

In 2012, Congress passed a second law (the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” also known as MAP-21) requiring the DOT to issue the entry-level training rule, this time by Oct. 1, 2013. Congress specified that the rule had to include behind-the-wheel training.

During the next year, FMCSA held listening sessions. Then, on Sept. 19, 2013, it withdrew the 2007 proposed rule that had been in limbo and said it was going back to the drawing board. On Aug. 19, 2014, FMCSA published a notice indicating it had not begun work on the new rule and did not intend to anytime soon. Instead, it said that it was exploring conducting a negotiated rulemaking, and that it had hired a “neutral convener” who would interview all concerned parties, balance all the interests and issue a report before the agency decided what type of rulemaking to undertake. No timetable was given for completion of the rule.

“The FMCSA’s inaction to release a new notice of proposed rulemaking for entry-level driver training is perpetuating a hazard for everyone on our roadways by permitting inexperienced drivers to interact with the unknowing public,” said John Lannen, executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition, a partnership between CRASH and Parents Against Tired Truckers. “This hazard will only grow in scope as the turnover rate for truck drivers continues to remain extremely high – over 90 percent – and the current truck driver work force ages out.”

Read the lawsuit here.

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Auto safety is Not Alone: Truck safety Also Suffers from NHTSA’s “Tiny” Budget and Workforce

In response to reports released that show how regulators failed to identify an ignition defect in millions of G.M. cars that has been linked to at least 19 deaths, The New York Times published an editorial discussing how Congress needs to strengthen the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), the federal agency responsible for investigating auto defects.The editorial points to a lack of funding from Congress as a reason for the agency’s failure to identify this defect.

Truck safety also suffers from NHTSA’s small budget and staff. We are overdue on rulemaking for rear underride guards, side and front guards, speed governors, forward collision avoidance and mitigation systems and electronic stability control technology. Each year that these rules are not released results in serious injuries and loss of lives.

Read Our Letter to Secretary Foxx in Response to the Motor Carrier Industry’s Letter Regarding FMCSA’s CSA Program

Dear Secretary Foxx:

On behalf of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), the thousands of families who have lost loved ones, and the tens of thousands more who have been injured each year in truck crashes, we are writing in response to the August 22, 2014, letter sent to you from members of the motor carrier industry regarding the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. In this letter members of the trucking industry request that the Department, “remove motor property and passenger carriers’ CSA Safety Measurement System scores from public view.” Our organizations and volunteers strongly oppose this request to hide lifesaving safety data from the public. The safety-focused culture engendered by CSA greatly relies on the accountability it produces by making its data publicly available. We urge you to protect the current system and ensure that the CSA Safety Measurement System scores are not removed from public view.

In 2010, the FMCSA replaced their SafeStat Program with the CSA program that includes the Safety Management System (SMS). From the beginning, SMS and CSA were rolled out with the understanding that they would undergo improvements and modifications, and FMCSA has followed this plan. FMCSA has made changes to the SMS system to reflect stakeholder concerns and suggestions. The most recent changes occurred in July 2014, when FMCSA announced a package of enhancements to the SMS website resulting “from feedback solicited from motor carriers, law enforcement personnel, industry representatives and other stakeholders who were given an opportunity to critique various website enhancement proposals.”[1] As changes continue to be considered and made to hone the CSA Program, it is essential that CSA retains the ability to efficiently analyze data for timely intervention, that it is cost effective given FMCSA’s limited resources, that it remains fair to truck crash victims and their surviving family and friends by retaining the current Crash Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) system of including all crashes regardless of fault, and that it includes public access to carrier safety data.

In 2006, the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) was formed to provide advice and recommendations to the FMCSA Administrator on motor carrier safety programs and motor carrier safety regulations. As you know, MCSAC is composed of motor carrier industry stakeholders including industry representatives, law enforcement, family members of truck crash victims, and safety organizations. In MCSAC meetings, when CSA benefits have been discussed, committee members noted that the system “is dispensing more data and giving the agency the ability to reach more carriers without a dramatic increase in resources” and inspiring “the start of a cultural change in the industry by forcing carriers to focus on the details of safety management.”[2] A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on CSA supports this assertion. The report identifies that industry stakeholders have found “that CSA’s greater reach and provision of data have helped raise the profile of safety issues across the industry. According to industry stakeholders, carriers are now more engaged and more frequently consulting with law enforcement for safety briefings.”[3]

Moreover, independent analysis indicates that MCSAC and other industry stakeholders’ assessment is accurate and that the CSA Program is a significant improvement over the prior system. Several key points from FMCSA’s own evaluation include:

  • CSA is effectively monitoring the industry with an interventions model that demonstrates an overall 35 percent increase in the number of carriers reached per Safety Investigator;[4]
  • From the CSA rollout in December 2010 until the end of 2011, violations per roadside inspection declined by eight percent and driver violations per inspection declined by 12 percent;[5] and,
  • Compliance improved while being less intrusive and time-consuming for all motor carriers (both large and small).[6]

These results show the most significant improvement in violation rates in the last 10 years. The advances achieved with the CSA program are necessary and long overdue and should not be modified in ways that will hinder their effectiveness. As with a previous attempt by the motor carrier industry to pressure FMCSA to hide and remove safety data (from the CSA Crash BASIC), removing data from public view will serve to reduce, rather than promote, safety.

The GAO report agrees with CSA’s “data-driven, risk-based approach.”[7] The GAO believes that the CSA “holds promise and can help FMCSA effectively identify carriers exhibiting compliance or safety issues—such as violations or involvement in crashes.”[8] Additionally, the report confirms FMCSA’s claim that the CSA program has helped the agency contact or investigate more motor carrier companies and that it is an improvement over the previous SafeStat system.[9]  Although the GAO did include recommendations to improve CSA in its report, they were issued to help CSA to become a sharper, more useful tool. The GAO never recommended or suggested the removal of the SMS scores from the CSA website.

The next step in enhancing the SMS system is a revised safety fitness determination (SFD) that reaches significantly more carriers than the approximately 12,000 yearly SFDs that FMCSA is currently able to perform through onsite compliance reviews. The SFD will more effectively use FMCSA data and resources to identify unfit motor carriers by analyzing the CSA BASIC data and other performance data to determine a carrier’s level of safety, and will address many of the motor carrier industry’s concerns. Although FMCSA indicated in their August 2014 Significant Rulemakings Report that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the SFD will be issued in February 2015, we urge FMCSA and DOT to expedite the release of the revised SFD NPRM.

We urge the Department to continue to preserve and improve the efficient and effective CSA program including its essential public access to data which has, in a relatively short time, already helped to elevate the safety culture within the trucking industry. As FMCSA improves the CSA program and expands its data collection and delivery of safety information, we encourage FMCSA to ensure that the results produce greater oversight for both large and small carriers.

Sincerely,

Ed Slattery Board Member, Parents Against Tired Truckers Member, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee CSA Subcommittee (recently disbanded)

Tami Friedrich Trakh Board Member, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways Member, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee CSA Subcommittee (recently disbanded)

John Lannen Executive Director, Truck Safety Coalition Member, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee CSA Subcommittee (recently disbanded)


[1] “FMCSA Announces Enhancements to SMS Website.” Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Duane DeBruyne Office of Public Affairs FMCSA, 25 July 2014. Web. 27 Aug. 2014.

[2] “TopNews.” New Advisory Panel Broadens Access to CSA Planning. Trucking Info Publisher David Moniz, 27  Aug. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.

[3] United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Federal Motor Carrier Safety: Modifying the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program Would Improve the Ability to Identify High Risk Carriers, GAO-14-114, Feb. 2014, page 14.

[4] FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION BEFORE THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS, 112th Cong. (2012) (testimony of Wiliam A. Bronrott). Print.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Federal Motor Carrier Safety: Modifying the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program Would Improve the Ability to Identify High Risk Carriers, GAO-14-114, Feb. 2014, page 31.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., page 13.

Two Hospitalized after a Work Zone Crash in Wisconsin

Another tragic crash occurred near Oshkosh, WI on September 8, 2014. This crash, between a semi truck and a Winnebago County Highway Department truck, sent  two people to the hospital after the semi entered into a work zone and hit a highway department truck from behind.

Trucks are over represented in fatal highway crashes and even more so in work zone fatal crashes. Although trucks account for about four percent of registered vehicles, they are involved in 11 percent of fatal highway crashes, and 27 percent of fatal work zone crashes involve at least one truck.

One Year after a Family’s Devastating Truck Crash

SEVEN FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED IN A FIERY CRASH AFTER SUV WAS CRUSHED BETWEEN TWO SEMI-TRUCKS IN INDIANA

One Year after a Family’s Devastating Truck Crash—A Prosecutor Decides not to Press Charges on the Truck Driver Responsible for their Deaths

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 15, 2014) – A family remembers their loved ones one year after a horrific truck crash killed seven members of their family in Jasper County, Indiana. The crash occurred on August 15, 2013, after the family’s SUV was stopped in traffic approaching a work zone and was rear-ended by a semi-truck. The initial impact pushed the SUV into another semi ahead of them. The SUV subsequently burst into flames. The crash took the lives of Lindsey Williams, 27, and her two children, Yazmin Goldman, 5, and Arielle Goldman, 3, Lindsay’s sister Yvette Williams, 35, and her two children, Jamin Osborne, 5, and Jazmin Osborne, 7, and the Williams sisters’ Uncle, Amado Mangual, 49. The truck drivers involved suffered minor injuries. To the dismay of the victims’ family, the Prosecutor has chosen not to press charges on the truck driver that caused this crash. This decision has devastated the family seeking justice for their enormous loss.

Gerald Williams, father of Lindsey and Yvette Williams and grandfather of Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, is shocked by this decision. “As we approach the one year anniversary of the crash, I am astounded that justice will not be served for our family. We lost seven family members in a split second because of the poor decisions of one driver. He should suffer the consequences of those decisions.”

Mr. Williams, who worked as a truck driver for many years, continued, “I have seen many truck and car crashes but I never thought it would happen to our family. My daughter was just going to pick up her kids from a summer vacation with their grandmother so they could return to Georgia for school. It’s a shame you can’t be in a work zone waiting on traffic to move without being rear ended. I’m devastated that there are no charges being filed against this truck driver. It has torn our family apart. I will work hard to see that the laws are changed so this will not happen again. My kids and grandkids loved life and were very smart. I miss their laughter and joy for life.”

Several safety issues contributed to the crash that occurred on I-65. The lack of skid marks on the road indicate that the driver failed to slow down or brake before colliding with the family’s vehicle, and have led the Williams family to speculate that the truck driver was either inattentive or fatigued at the time of the crash. Truck driver fatigue has been an industry-wide health and safety issue for over 70 years and continues to be a major contributor to truck crashes. From 2009 to 2012, truck crash fatalities increased by 16 percent, and truck crash injuries increased by a staggering 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 injuries in 2012. Moreover, a 2006 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study revealed that 65 percent of truck drivers reported they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half admitted they fell asleep while driving in the previous year.

It is also believed that the semi-truck hit the SUV at Interstate speeds. The truck driver had a list of speeding violations prior to this crash. In fact, the driver had been ticketed for speeding at least five times since 2006. Trucks are over represented in fatal highway crashes and even more so in work zone fatal crashes. Although trucks account for about four percent of registered vehicles, they are involved in 11 percent of fatal highway crashes, and 27 percent of fatal work zone crashes involve at least one truck.

Judith Williams, who lost her daughters, Lindsey and Yvette Williams, grandchildren,  Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, and brother, Amado Mangual, in this crash stated,  “Nothing will ever bring back my family, but I believe this driver should get more than a slap on the wrist. All actions have repercussions. The message we’re sending to other drivers is that it’s okay to speed, to not pay attention, and to drive fatigued. The driver killed seven people I want to make sure no one else ever has to go through the loss and heartache my family and I must live with for the rest of our lives.”

The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org), a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), is dedicated to reducing the number of 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.

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Anne Ferro’s Letter to FMCSA Colleagues

The longest-serving administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Anne Ferro, announced her resignation on Friday, July 25. Here is the full text of the letter to her colleagues announcing her resignation.

Dear FMCSA Colleagues,

It has been my greatest privilege to serve side-by-side with you to advance FMCSA’s life saving mission. And in keeping with my pledge to be open and transparent with you about the things that affect your workplace, I’m writing to personally let you know that I will be leaving the agency towards the end of August to take on a new role as President and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

While the opportunity to assume this position at AAMVA is another personal dream come true, no job can match the immense honor I have had serving President Obama, and Secretaries Foxx and LaHood with you — the dedicated individuals who persevere every day to make safe transportation a reality for all of us.

Together, we have made a difference for countless families across the country by raising the bar for safety in motor carrier operations. We have worked to ensure that companies and drivers are more accountable for their actions, strengthened our oversight of high-risk carriers, created better tools for our law enforcement partners, and opened up a new world of useful  data to educate both businesses and consumers alike.  On a daily basis we have also recognized the significant contributions that commercial truck and bus drivers make to roadway safety and our nation’s economic vitality. As part of that effort, we have highlighted the daily demands and economic pressure drivers often face because they are paid by-the-mile or load instead of their total time on-duty. In the GROW AMERICA Act we are seeking to change that compensation model so drivers receive fair wages for every hour they spend working — including time detained unloading and loading at the mercy of shippers and receivers.

I hope you are proud of the life-saving work you accomplish and look forward to tackling more tough challenges ahead.  I certainly am proud to have served as your Administrator.  You are professionals united in a single mission — to save lives — and I encourage you to continue to rely on each other’s strengths and redouble your energy toward that highest of goals.

With about a month left in my federal service, I will get to thank many of you in person.  For today, please accept my sincere gratitude and admiration for the remarkable work you do and for what we have accomplished together.

Thank you!

Anne

 

Fourth Annual Liam’s Walk

The 4th Annual Liam’s Walk took place on July 19. The walk was dedicated to the memory of Liam Mahaney who was killed after a 104,000 pound logging truck crashed onto the Mahaney famiy’s lawn, overturned, and spilled its load into the house. Liam was only five years old.

All proceeds from the event will go toward the 2015 Liam Mahaney scholarship fund.

 

Press Release: Truck Safety Advocates Respond to News of Truck Crash that Killed New Jersey Police Officer

Contact: Beth Weaver beth_weaver@verizon.net, 703.294.6404

 TRUCK SAFETY ADVOCATES RESPOND TO NEWS OF TRUCK CRASH THAT KILLED NEW JERSEY POLICE OFFICER 

Findings Show Truck Did Not Brake Before Slamming Into Police Car Parked on Highway Shoulder – Truck Driver Charged with Second-Degree Vehicular Homicide

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 18, 2014)—The Bergen County Prosecutor’s office announced in a press release last night that truck driver Ryon Cumberbatch has been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide in the crash that killed New Jersey police officer Christopher Goodell. According to the press release, there was no evidence of pre-impact braking by the truck. It was revealed that it appears from the roadway evidence that Cumberbatch drove directly into the police car without stopping or attempting to stop. Truck safety advocates respond to the tragic crash with messages of condolence and support for Officer Goodell’s family.

Daphne Izer founded Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) after losing her son Jeff and his three teenage friends in a crash caused by a tired trucker who fell asleep behind the wheel and ran over their car.  Izer said, “My heart goes out to the Goodell family because I truly understand the pain that they are going through, and I want them to know that our volunteer network, including myself, is here to offer support, grief services and resources.”

Ed Slattery, a Board Member for PATT added, “We don’t know yet for sure whether fatigue was a factor in this crash, but the hour of the crash and the lack of braking would indicate that it is very possible.” Slattery lost his wife, Susan, in 2010 after a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel of a triple trailer truck and crashed into his family’s car on the Ohio Turnpike. His two sons were also seriously injured, one permanently, in the crash.

Slattery added, “Truck driver fatigue has been a known safety issue for over 70 years, yet it remains a major contributor to truck crashes. I am completely dismayed by the amendment introduced by Senator Collins (R-ME) that would force overworked truck drivers to drive even more hours each week, exacerbating fatigue and fatigue related crashes.”

Recent deadly truck crashes in New Jersey, including the crash that killed James McNair and injured comedian Tracy Morgan and two friends, underscore the urgent need to improve truck safety and reduce truck driver fatigue.

In response to the New Jersey truck crashes, and the expanding issue of truck driver fatigue and other truck safety issues, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced an amendment, cosponsored by Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod C. Brown (D-OH), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Brian E. Schatz (D-HI), and Chris S. Murphy (D-CT). The Booker Amendment would protect important safety rules governing rest periods and the hours of service truck drivers may work each week.

Izer, who was awarded the White House Champion of Change award in May 2014, for her efforts to reduce truck driver fatigue, concluded, “I support the Booker Amendment because we need to uphold the ongoing efforts to improve truck safety issues, not make them worse. Our families cannot continue to pay the ultimate price when truck safety issues and improvements are known. It is well past time to make the changes necessary to reduce truck crashes, and the resulting fatalities and injuries.”

The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org), a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), is dedicated to reducing the number of 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.

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An Oversized Truck Strike is the Probable Cause for the Washington State I-5 Bridge Collapse

Contact: Beth Weaver

301.814.4088,/beth_weaver@verizon.net

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Released ReportAN OVERSIZED TRUCK STRIKE IS THE PROBABLE CAUSE FOR THE WASHINGTON STATE I-5 BRIDGE COLLAPSE

Truck Safety Advocates Respond to Report – Existing Truck Safety Issues Would Be Exacerbated by Bigger and Heavier Trucks

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 16, 2014)—On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that an oversized truck striking the I-5 bridge in Washington state was the probable cause of its collapse on May 23, 2013, in which three were injured, and fortunately none killed. The bridge collapse and the NTSB’s findings illustrate the dangers that arise when there is a lack of oversight on the permitting process of oversized trucks.

Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Truck Safety Coalition North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator, and Member of FMCSA, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) after losing her father, James Mooney, in a truck crash said, “This highlights something the safety community has already known for years, the gaps and lack of oversight in our current system along with the vulnerability of our infrastructure creates a dangerous combination. We need to improve truck safety, not make it more dangerous. Now is not the time to be increasing truck size or weight.”

As a result of the damage to its truss structure, the bridge, constructed in 1955, buckled and subsequently collapsed into the Skagit River. In its findings, the NTSB cited the insufficient route planning by the trucking company and truck driver and inadequate evaluation of oversized permit requests as two of the reasons the collapse occurred. The NTSB recommended that the Washington State Department of Transportation revise its permit process for oversized trucks to include an evaluation of the route’s overhead clearances and lane widths with respect to the oversized truck’s load dimensions.

Tierney concluded, “Transportation budget shortfalls have resulted in a dire state of infrastructure disrepair, nearly 70,000 of our bridges are rated structurally deficient. We don’t have the money to repair our infrastructure damage at the current rate of wear let alone consider the increased wear produced by bigger and heavier trucks. In fact, increasing the weight of a heavy truck by only 20 percent will increase bridge damage by 33 percent.”

In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimated that in order to address all cost-beneficial bridge needs, the investment backlog for bridges is $121 billion, which is 60 percent over the current spending levels for bridges. Moreover, the Highway Trust Fund is projected to go broke after this summer. As Congress attempts to find ways to keep highway repair funded, any increases in truck size and weight will increase the wear and tear on bridges and increase the cost of bridge maintenance.

###

Truck Safety Advocates Step Closer to Goal of Advancing Underride Protection

Contact: Beth Weaver

301.814.4088,/beth_weaver@verizon.net

TRUCK SAFETY ADVOCATES STEP CLOSER TO GOAL OF ADVANCING UNDERRIDE PROTECTION 

NHTSA Issues a Grant of Petition for Rulemaking to Improve the Safety of Rear Impact Guards on Trailers and Single-Unit Trucks – Evaluation of Side and Front Underride Guards Continues

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 10, 2014)—Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a grant of petition for rulemaking to evaluate options for increasing the safety of rear impact guards, or underride guards, on trailers and single-unit trucks. Underride guards are steel bars installed onto the back of truck trailers in order to help prevent passenger vehicles from sliding underneath a truck in the event of a crash. Truck safety advocates have long advocated for an improvement to the rear underride guard standard, as well as requirement for side and front guard protection systems. NHTSA’s decision to begin rulemaking is a victory for truck safety advocates who have been working toward improving the safety of underride guards for decades.

Marianne Karth, a Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) Volunteer, after losing her daughters AnnaLeah and Mary one year ago in an underride truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son, said, “It was a bittersweet moment as I realized full well that these were needed changes that we had advocated for—because we lost AnnaLeah and Mary—and which we hope will save other lives but will never bring them back to us.”

The Karth family’s “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety” petition gained more than 11,000 supporters seeking to improve underride guard protections, as well as raise minimum insurance level requirements and expedite a final rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs). Marianne and her family members delivered the petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation in May 2014, and are named, along with TSC, in today’s Federal Notice for underride guards. Karth continued, “We are forever grateful to everyone that signed on to the petition, as well as the other TSC volunteers who have been working on this issue throughout the years.”

Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), TSC North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator, and Member, FMCSA, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) reacted to the notice, “Having advocated for underride protection improvements for over thirty years, I am so grateful that the decision has finally been made to start rulemaking to consider improving the rear guard standard and to evaluate side and front guard protection requirements. Underride crashes have always been particularly devastating to car passengers, and are now even more so as efforts to raise fuel efficiency produce smaller cars, lower to the ground.”

Tierney, a recipient of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) 2014 Highway Safety Hero Award, and whose advocacy began after losing her father, James Mooney, in an underride crash in North Carolina said, “Simple, common sense changes in underride guard requirements, to make them more energy absorbing and lower to the ground, will help to keep our families whole and prevent catastrophic injuries.”

During 2011, NHTSA reported that large truck rear impacts comprised 19 percent of the fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles, and that large truck side impacts comprised 15 percent of fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles. NHTSA plans on issuing two separate notices for underride guards. One is an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on single-unit trucks and the other is a notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on trailers and semitrailers.

Roy Crawford, TSC Kentucky Volunteer Coordinator, after his son Guy was killed in an underride crash with a single unit truck twenty years ago said, “As a board certified forensic engineer and a father who lost a son in a underride crash, I have a full understanding of the physical and emotional outcomes from these crashes, and both are completely devastating. I am grateful that NHTSA will move forward to improve underride protections, and I urge them to act expediently to proceed through rulemaking to implementation. Our families’ lives depend on it.”

Nancy Meuleners, TSC Minnesota Volunteer Coordinator, also a recipient of Advocates 2014 Highway Safety Hero Award for nearly 25 years of advocacy after surviving an underride crash said, “I am fortunate to be alive, but it has come at an unnecessary and significant cost. The crash that nearly decapitated me has left me permanently disfigured. After 40 surgeries, I will need more just to maintain my progress.” Meuleners added, “NHTSA has the power to greatly reduce the needless loss and suffering that result from underride crashes, and I hope that they will act quickly to do so.”

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July Events

Sorrow To Strength Reunion and Lobster Fest

July 12, 2014

Lisbon, Maine

Contact Daphne Izer for details

 

Liam’s Walk and Butterfly Release

July 19, 2014

Town Park, Jackman, Maine

11:30 a.m.

Walk Details:

http://trucksafety.org/2014-liams-walk-butterfly-release/

https://www.facebook.com/events/587552491361330/

Online donations:

http://www.gofundme.com/6syiow

 

The Brad Krick Memorial Foundation Race For Awareness – CANCELLED UNTIL NEXT YEAR

July 26. 2014

Tippecanoe Amphitheater, West Lafayette, Indiana

7:15 and 8:00 a.m.

Race Details:

http://www.bradkrickmemorialfoundation.org/#!race-details/cpo7

The Safety Community and Teamsters Respond to NTSB Initial Crash Report on Tracy Morgan Crash

Contact: Beth Weaver 301.814.4088,/beth_weaver@verizon.net

THE SAFETY COMMUNITY AND TEAMSTERS RESPOND TO NTSB INITIAL REPORT ON THE TRACY MORGAN CRASH

TRUCK DRIVER WAS WITHIN 23 MINUTES of HOURS OF SERVICE LIMIT AT THE TIME OF THE CRASH PERTH AMBOY DESTINATION WOULD HAVE BEEN TOO FAR TO REACH IN TIME AT THE POSTED SPEED

Truck Driver Charged with Death by Auto and Assault by Auto for Causing the Crash that Killed One Man and Critically Injured Others, Including Actor Tracy Morgan

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2014)—The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released an initial report on the crash that killed comedian James McNair and critically injured others, including actor Tracy Morgan, on the New Jersey Turnpike. The NTSB found that the driver of the Wal-Mart truck, Kevin Roper, 35, had logged over 13 hours, and was just under the maximum 14-hour limit for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Roper was within 23 minutes of his hours of service limits at the time of the crash and would have failed to reach his Perth Amboy destination before exceeding the allowable hours of service limits.

“The NTSB’s preliminary findings in this case clearly show that truck drivers are pushing beyond the limits of the current hours of service rules,” said Teamsters General President, James P. Hoffa. “In light of these findings, it would be irresponsible to even consider rolling back hours of service rules and opening the door to increased driver fatigue.”

The NTSB findings come as the Senate is about to vote on the Booker Amendment to stop tired trucking. This amendment is introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and cosponsored by Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod C. Brown (D-OH), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Brian E. Schatz (D-HI), and Chris S. Murphy (D-CT). The Booker Amendment would protect the restart provision in the hours of service rule ensuring that truck drivers get adequate rest and maintaining the current maximum 60-70 hours per week. The amendment was introduced as a response to the Collins Amendment, which would increase the truck driver weekly work week to over 80 hours.

Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), said, “It is tragic and unfortunate that it took a horrific crash caused by a dozing truck driver killing one person and severely injuring Tracy Morgan and others to bring national attention to the epidemic of fatigued truck drivers on our roads.  These truck drivers are being pushed beyond their limits to work 70 hour work weeks, and now Senator Collins wants to increase this time to more than 80 hours.  The Collins Amendment is not a solution to tired truckers but a gift to trucking industry allies.  It’s time to put the brakes on these rolling sweatshops.  Not a single safety organization supports the Collins Amendment but every major highway and truck safety organization supports Senator Booker’s amendment, cosponsored by fourteen additional Senators. It is absolutely clear which amendment is on the side of safety.”

Jacqueline Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated, “Truck drivers should be sleeping in beds and not behind the wheel of an 80,000 lb. rig traveling at high speeds. Sen. Collins’ proposal will turn back the clock to a time when truck drivers only had one day and 10 hours off between 80 hour driving and working shifts.  It was under this grueling schedule that a 2005 survey of truck drivers showed that almost half admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel and 65% admitted to driving drowsy. Not a single safety group has endorsed the Collins Amendment. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety strongly supports the Booker Amendment and urges the Senate to put safety first.”

The issue of truck driver fatigue is very personal to Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), who lost her son Jeff Izer, 17, in a preventable truck crash by a fatigued truck driver. Izer said, “No loss of life is worth getting a load of freight delivered on time. Truck driver fatigue has been a serious safety issue for over 70 years and we need to uphold the ongoing efforts to improve this safety issue, not make it worse, which is why I support the Booker Amendment.”

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A Letter from Safety Groups Urging Senators to Support the Booker Amendment to Stop Tired Trucking

Dear Senator,

We are united in writing you to support the Booker Amendment to the Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) FY 2015 Appropriations bill.  This commonsense amendment will prevent an increase in weekly work hours for truck drivers, and will reduce truck driver fatigue by striking language inserted into the bill at committee markup (Collins Amendment) that weakens the hours of service (HOS) rule.

The Collins Amendment returns to the old restart, which was struck down by the Courts, where half of the truck drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel and 65% said they were drowsy. 

 Truck Drivers Need to Sleep in Their Beds and Not Behind the Wheel of an 80,000 lb. Rig.

Compelling editorials sum it up:

 USA Today: “The full Senate and House ought to have enough sense to leave it [the current rule] alone.

The Virginian Pilot: “The effect of the Senate bill would undoubtedly be more truckers on American highways with less rest. Another year with 4,000 people killed in large truck crashes.”

New York Times: “The trucking industry makes the disingenuous claim that the rule, which has been in effect since July 2013, “exacerbates congestion” and could make highways less safe by forcing more truck drivers onto the roads during morning rush hours. The rule requires that the break include two consecutive nights, but it says nothing about what time drivers must go back to work. If anything, the rule is too weak.”

The Boston Globe: “All motorists should hope the new rules go into effect, and keep tired truckers off the road.”

Baltimore Sun Editorial: “[P]rospect of putting more such [fatigued] drivers on the road ought to motivate the House and Senate to strike down this dangerous amendment…”

Lehigh Valley Live: “Don’t delay tougher truck-safety rules.”

The Record (North Jersey): ”There’s no need to loosen the cap. Overly tired truck drivers don’t belong on the road.”

Star Ledger: “Efforts to overturn federal sleep rules should be reversed, with more emphasis instead on technology and enforcement to ensure they’re followed. . . The company [Walmart], whose drivers covered 667 million miles last year, and the entire trucking industry should work to preserve, not overturn, rules that make the highways safer.”

Portland Press Herald: “But truckers falling asleep at the wheel is such a well-documented killer that we would rather see other strategies to reduce traffic congestion tried before this one. . . There must be a way to reduce rush-hour traffic that doesn’t put more tired truckers on the road.”

Lehigh Valley Live: “Lawmakers need to use common sense, defeat this amendment [the Collins amendment] and allow stricter truck-safety measures that protect all of the motoring public to take effect.”

 Don’t Turn Back the Clock on Driver Fatigue with the Collins Amendment

 We urge you to uphold ongoing efforts to reduce truck driver fatigue

 Support the Booker Amendment

 Sincerely,

 Truck Safety Coalition

 Parents Against Tired Truckers

 Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways

 Road Safe America

 John Lindsay Foundation

 

 

Press Conference Call: Senator Booker, Senator Blumenthal, Truck Crash Victims’ Families, Safety Groups, Law Enforcement, Labor Groups, Trucking Companies Unite in Opposition to Attack on Truck Safety

CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088, Beth_weaver@verizon.net

PRESS CONFERENCE CALL

SENATOR BOOKER, SENATOR BLUMENTHAL, TRUCK CRASH VICTIMS’ FAMILIES, SAFETY GROUPS, LAW ENFORCEMENT, LABOR GROUPS, TRUCKING COMPANIES UNITE IN OPPOSITION TO ATTACK ON TRUCK SAFETY

Trucking Allies Pushing Sen. Collins’ Amendment to Take Away Truck Drivers “Weekends” of Rest and Replace With Another Day of Driving 

Senate to Debate FY 2015 THUD Appropriations Bill This Week

Truck Driver Fatigue is a Major Problem in the Trucking Industry – Collins Amendment is Not a “Minor Adjustment” But a “Major Assault” on Truck Safety

 Safety First – Every Minute and a Half of Every Day a Large Truck Crash Occurs

WHEN:           Tuesday, June 17th, 2:15 p.m. EST

WHAT:           Senators, safety groups, truck drivers, freight transportation companies, law enforcement, and victims of truck crashes involving fatigued drivers will discuss an amendment to strike the Collins Anti-Safety Amendment (which was passed by the Senate Committee on Appropriations and is now part of the underlying bill).  The Collins amendment will change the current hours of service rule for truck drivers to replace off-duty rest time with on-duty driving hours.  “Weekend” rest period will be replaced with more driving hours.      

The Collins Amendment will suspend two important safety features of the truck driver Hours of Service (HOS) rule: 1. A limit on how often the 34-hour “restart” or rest period can be taken – once in a 168 hour or 7-day period, and 2. A requirement of two periods of rest between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. during the “restart.”  These two features were included in the truck driver HOS rule to address chronic fatigue that occurs when long haul truck drivers are behind the wheel of a truck for 11 continuous hours, working 14-hour shifts daily and were able to constantly put in up to 82 hours of work, week after week. The amendment to strike will retain these critical safety protections.

WHO:             Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Joan Claybrook, Consumer Co-Chair, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Lane Kidd, Managing Director, The Trucking Alliance

Steve Williams, Chairman and CEO, Maverick USA and Chairman, The Trucking Alliance

Fred McLuckie, Legislative Director, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Jackie Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Steve Keppler, Executive Director, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance representing commercial vehicle law enforcement 

Daphne Izer (Lisbon, ME) Daphne lost her 17-year-old son Jeff on October 10, 1993, when a Wal-Mart truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel. Jeff and three of his friends were killed, and another was seriously injured.  She is the Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), and is a 2014 recipient of the White House’s Champions of Change award.

 Ron Wood (Washington, DC) Ron lost his mother, Betsy Wood, and his sister, Lisa Wood Martin, and his sister’s three children Chance (4), Brock (2) and Reid (6 weeks) Martin when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel, crossed a median and crashed into Lisa’s SUV and a pick-up truck.  A total of ten people were killed and one was seriously injured. The catastrophic outcome of the Wood family’s crash prompted a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation.

BACKGROUND:      

  • The current hours of service (HOS) rule for truck drivers allows truckers to drive 11 hours in a 14 hour work day and take a rest period of just 34 hours off-duty before beginning a new work week, which can include up to 60 or 70 hours of driving. The new rule that only took effect in July 2013 requires that the 34 hour rest period include two periods of time off and rest between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.to ensure restorative sleep.  It also requires that the 34-hour restart be used not more than once every 168 hours or 7 days.  The Collins amendment will dramatically increase allowable driving and other work hours of truck drivers to more than 80 hours a week, essentially adding another work day to an already long work week. The Collins amendment will suspend the safety requirement that prevents drivers from continually taking only short back-to-back rest periods after long weeks of driving and work.
  • Truck driver fatigue and hours- of service compliance has been recognized as a major safety concern and a contributing factor to fatal truck crashes for over 70 years.
  • Truck crashes are on the rise.  From 2009 to 2012, truck crash injuries increased by a staggering 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 people injured in 2012.  During this same period, truck crash fatalities increased three years in a row, a cumulative 16 percent increase, resulting in nearly 4,000 deaths in 2012.
  • Commercial motor vehicle crashes result in a cost of $99 billion to the U.S. every year.
  • The current rule was issued by U.S. DOT after consideration of 21,000 formal docket comments submitted from drivers, carriers, state law enforcement, safety advocates and industry associations; 6 public listening sessions and an online Q&A forum; review of 80 sources of scientific research and data; a Regulatory Impact Analysis of nearly 50 scientific sources – All Pushed Aside by an Amendment that was not Reviewed, Subject to a  Congressional Hearing or Available to the Public Before the Committee Mark-Up.
  • Changing the hours-of-service rules now, not even a year since becoming effective, creates significant uniformity and consistency problems across the country for law enforcement.
  • A 2000 study revealed that 65% of truck drivers report they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half admit they fell asleep while driving in the previous year (Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study, U.S. DOT, 2000).

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See How Your Representative Voted: The Daines Amendment

On June 10, 2014, an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill,sponsored by Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), passed by a close vote of 214 to 212. The Daines amendment prohibits FMCSA from increasing the amount of insurance required for motor carriers, which has not been increased in over 30 years and are woefully insufficient.

You can see how your Representative voted here.

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers, Appears on World News with Diane Sawyer


ABC US News | ABC Celebrity News

Read the Statement of the Obama Administration’s Policy Regarding Highway and Motor Carrier Safety

The Administration released a Statement of Administration to strongly oppose House passage of H.R. 4745, making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes. In particular, the Administration said this about the provisions in the bill that affects Highway and Motor Carrier Safety:

 The Administration objects to the provisions altering the permissible size and weight of trucks operating over Federal highways in the states of Mississippi, Wisconsin and Idaho.  Pursuant to the provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the Department of Transportation is currently conducting a comprehensive truck size and weight limits study.  Any reconsideration of size and weight limits should be done on a comprehensive basis with full consideration of the infrastructure and safety impacts as informed by the MAP-21 study.  The Administration opposes provisions that serve to weaken highway safety by altering or revising the existing safety regulations for motor carrier operators.

Read the entire Statement here.

Get the Real Facts on the Collins Amendment to Suspend the 34-Hour Restart

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill that suspends the current Hours of Service (HOS) restart provision set in place for truck drivers. On Thursday, June 5, the Senate appropriations committee voted in favor of this amendment.

This amendment will have deadly and dangerous consequences. Learn the real facts about Sen. Collins’ amendment here.

 

Maine Truck Crash Families Appalled by Maine Senator’s Support for Anti-Truck Safety Legislation

MAINE TRUCK CRASH FAMILIES APPALLED BY SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS’ SUPPORT FOR ANTI-TRUCK SAFETY LEGISLATION

SENATOR COLLINS ACTIONS WILL INCREASE TRUCK DRIVER FATIGUE AND ROADWAY DANGERS

Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) Founder and 2014 White House Transportation Champion of Change Recipient Speaks Out

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 2, 2014)—Less than one month after being recognized by the White House as a 2014 Transportation Champion of Change for her work to reduce truck driver fatigue and require electronic logging devices (ELDs) in trucks, Daphne Izer was outraged to learn that Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) supports legislation to roll back truck safety improvements in the truck driver hours of service (HOS) rule. The HOS rule contains measures to help reduce truck driver fatigue, including the 34-hour restart provisions and a mandatory half hour rest break. These improvements are based on more than 25 years of scientific and medical research and should not be arbitrarily removed, reduced or altered.

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) said, “I have whiplash—one month ago I was in the White House celebrating vital improvements to reduce truck driver fatigue, and now my own Senator is using her power as Ranking Member on the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee to undo a rule which will result in more overly tired truckers on our roads. Twenty-five years of research and deliberations over the HOS rule—gone with the swish of her pen.”

Izer continued, “I’m not a well-paid Capitol Hill lobbyist, just a mom from Lisbon, Maine. I’m shocked that Senator Collins would do the bidding of the trucking companies. What are her priorities—special truck interests or our families?”

Christina Mahaney, whose five-year old son Liam was killed when a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his 104,000 pound log truck into her family’s home in Jackman, Maine, added, “Next month will be the third anniversary of losing Liam, and I can’t image a worse way to mark our anniversary. Senator Collins should be supporting truck safety improvements to keep our families safe and whole, not special interest giveaways.”

Izer added, “As we’re taking a step forward to reduce truck driver fatigue by inching closer to the ELD rule, Senator Collins would roll back safety benefits of the HOS rule. We should not allow any step backwards in safety, and I urge the White House and DOT Secretary Foxx to vigorously defend its HOS rule.”

With her husband Steve Izer, Daphne founded the nonprofit safety organization, PATT, after her son, Jeff Izer (age 17), and three of his friends were killed and one seriously injured in a preventable truck crash by a fatigued truck driver.  Since then, Daphne has worked to advance truck safety to help prevent other families from suffering a similar, devastating loss.

The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org), a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), is dedicated to reducing the number of 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.

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2014 Liam’s Walk and Butterfly Release

Truck Safety Coalition volunteer, Christina Mahaney, will hold the fourth annual Liam’s Walk and Butterfly Release on July 19, 2014 in Jackman, Maine. There will be no entry fee but donations will be accepted and all proceeds will go toward the Liam Mahaney scholarship fund.

Please visit Christina’s Facebook event page to learn more about this event.

Celebrating Daphne Izer, Champion of Change

On May 13, 2014, Daphne Izer, founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), was honored by the White House as a Transportation Champion of Change for her 20 years of truck safety advocacy and commitment to reducing truck driver fatigue. PATT was founded in 1994 by Daphne and her husband Steve Izer after their teenage son, Jeff Izer, and his friends were tragically killed by a fatigued truck driver. Daphne directed the grief and anger over the loss of her son into advocacy and change.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) praised Daphne’s tireless work and efforts and congratulated her on this tremendous honor. In a recent article, FMCSA Administrator, Anne Ferro, stated,

Her work to create a national standard for the use of Electronic Logging Devices is a tribute to her son, Jeff, and the thousands of others who have been killed in truck crashes. Daphne’s efforts to improve highway safety have created an awareness of truck driver fatigue and enabled FMCSA to gain support for our Electronic Logging Devices proposal. I’m proud to say that in March, FMCSA announced our proposal to require motor carriers to use Electronic Logging Devices to improve the quality of logbook data and compliance with hours of service safety rules. The uniform use of Electronic Logging Devices is an important step for saving lives and preventing serious injuries.

President Obama also commended Daphne, thanking her for the hard work she does every day.

 Congratulations on being selected as a White House Champion of Change.From the earliest days of our founding, our Nation has been shaped by ordinary people who have dared to dream and use their unique skills to do extraordinary things. Americans like you help carry this tradition forward by reaching for new ideas that will help our country win the future.

Read the rest of the letter from President Obama to Daphne below.

Congratulations to Daphne on all she has achieved—and will continue to achieve—as a Champion of Change.

 

Daphne Izer Honored by the White House for her Truck Safety Advocacy

PARENTS AGAINST TIRED TRUCKERS (PATT) FOUNDER HAS BEEN NAMED A 2014 TRANSPORTATION CHAMPION OF CHANGE

Daphne Izer Honored by the White House for her Truck Safety Advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2014)—It was announced today that Daphne Izer, founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), will be recognized by the White House as a 2014 Transportation Champion of Change. As PATT marks its twentieth anniversary this month, Daphne will be recognized for her tireless efforts to improve highway safety at an event being held at the White House on May 13, 2014. The 2014 White House Champions of Change will honor eleven Champions in total who have demonstrated exemplary leadership to ensure that transportation facilities, services, and jobs help individuals and their communities connect to 21st century opportunities.

“Daphne’s work to create awareness of truck driver fatigue and seek legislative and regulatory changes to reduce fatigue related truck crashes has undoubtedly saved lives and prevented debilitating injuries,” said John Lannen, Executive Director, Truck Safety Coalition. “Her courage after losing Jeff and his friends, and her strength and passionate advocacy for change over the last twenty years is what makes Daphne a great safety leader.”

With her husband Steve Izer, Daphne founded the nonprofit safety organization, PATT, after her son, Jeff Izer (17), was killed in a preventable truck crash by a fatigued truck driver. The crash killed three other teenagers and seriously injured one more. Since then, Daphne has worked to advance truck safety to help prevent other families from suffering a similar, devastating loss. PATT has focused its efforts on reducing truck driver fatigue and seeking a requirement for the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to accurately record truck driver hours behind the wheel to reduce the falsification of driving logs. PATT took a step toward realizing this goal on July 6, 2012, after President Obama signed into law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which included a mandate for rulemaking for requiring ELDs in all commercial trucks.

“I was grateful for the inclusion of ELDs in MAP-21, and the final rule for ELDs cannot happen soon enough,” said Izer. “The ELD rule will address a problem that occurs far too often in certain segments of the industry—the falsification of log books tracking hours worked. While this is a significant milestone for safety, unfortunately, for every safety rule or legislation that is passed, there are numerous proposals for exemptions to existing safety regulations and attempts to reduce their effectiveness. Right now, as we’re taking a step forward to reduce truck driver fatigue with ELDs, Members of Congress are considering proposals to roll back safety benefits of the new hours of service (HOS) rule by removing the restart provision. We should not allow any step backwards in safety, and urge the White House Administration and DOT to vigorously defend its HOS rule.”

Since its beginning in 1994, PATT has transformed from the small Maine grassroots group created around the Izer’s kitchen table into a nationally recognized organization. In 2002, PATT combined efforts with Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and formed the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) to reach a wider audience and maintain a presence in Washington, D.C. Together, these organizations 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.

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The Truck Safety Coalition and Volunteers Remember Former Congressman Oberstar

THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION AND OUR VOLUNTEERS RESPOND TO THE PASSING OF FORMER CONGRESSMAN JAMES L. OBERSTAR

Arlington, VA (May 5, 2014): On behalf of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and our volunteers, we were deeply saddened by the passing of former Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, James L. Oberstar (MN-8), and would like to express our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and to the citizens of Minnesota. Chairman Oberstar received the Truck Safety Coalition Distinguished Service Award in 2011 for his tremendous commitment to advancing truck safety policy and for being a true champion for truck crash victims and survivors.

Nancy Meuleners, TSC Volunteer Advocate from Minnesota who was seriously injured in 1989 when she encountered a semi-trailer with inadequate rear underride protection stopped in the lane of traffic ahead of her without its emergency flashers illuminated, said of Chairman Oberstar’s passing, “What Chairman Oberstar has done for transportation safety has undoubtedly saved countless lives and made our roads safer for not only those in his beloved home state of Minnesota but across the nation. He understood the dire state of our roads and bridges and worked tirelessly to improve our nation’s infrastructure. His quick response after the I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota in August 2007 helped ensure that a new, stronger bridge was in place almost exactly a year later and highlighted the necessity to examine the state of aging bridges throughout the country.”

Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for CRASH, after her father, James Mooney, was killed when he crashed into a truck that did not have working lights, reflective tape or underride guards and was blocking the roadway said, “The transportation world lost a true giant and leading safety advocate this weekend. Chairman Oberstar was instrumental in working to strengthen oversight and enforcement of the motor carrier industry. Many of the provisions implemented in MAP-21 were in legislation proposed by Chairman Oberstar like minimum entry-level training requirements for commercial vehicle drivers and a drug and alcohol national clearinghouse for commercial motor vehicle drivers to reduce hiring of drivers who decline or fail drug or alcohol testing. My hope is that Members of Congress will find inspiration in all that he has worked toward in keeping our roads safe and continue his legacy.”

Daphne Izer, founder of PATT after her son Jeff and three of his friends were killed in a truck crash, stated, “Chairman Oberstar was a true advocate for crash victims, survivors, and their families. He was deeply aware of the need for improvements to the truck driver Hours of Service (HOS) rule and worked to have electronic on board recorders (now known as electronic logging devices) in all commercial vehicles to protect both the motoring public and over worked truck drivers. Throughout my twenty years of advocacy on behalf of PATT and the TSC, I had the honor of meeting with him numerous times and he showed a care and compassion to families of crash victims that was unparalleled and he will be missed.”

The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org), a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), is dedicated to reducing the number of 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.

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Karth Family to Deliver Truck Safety Petition To U.S. DOT

Contact: Beth Weaver beth_weaver@verizon.net 301.814.4088

NORTH CAROLINA FAMILY MARKS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF FATAL TRUCK CRASH THAT CLAIMED THE LIVES OF THEIR TWO TEENAGE DAUGHTERS

Karth Family To Deliver Truck Safety Petition To U.S. DOT

On Monday, May 5, Marianne and Jerry Karth and members of their family, will deliver their “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington, D.C. The petition asks DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx to use his authority to immediately make truck safety improvements to issues that may have contributed to the loss of the Karth daughters AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13).  Photos of the Karth family and the petition delivery will be available at www.trucksafety.org.

The Karth petition, a grassroots effort which received over 11,000 signatures, asks the Secretary to make long overdue improvements to truck safety by immediately increasing the minimum insurance level to account for over 30 years of inflation without a single increase, releasing a rule for improved rear underride guard standards to protect car occupants in truck crashes, and releasing the final rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs) to reduce truck driver fatigue. The Karth family will meet with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator (FMCSA) Anne Ferro and National Highway Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Administrator David Friedman to deliver the petition and discuss truck safety issues.

“Advocating for these changes helps with the grief because it gives us an opportunity to make a difference,” said Marianne Karth. “There is some healing that goes with that, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Fighting for these changes stirs up all those memories that we went through, but it gives us hope that other families won’t have to go through what we’ve been through.”

On May 4, 2013, as the Karth family drove to Texas to celebrate four graduations and a wedding, their car was hit from behind by a truck that was unable to stop in time for slowed traffic. The impact spun their car around and forced it backward and underneath a second truck’s trailer. Marianne and her son were in the front seats and survived the impact with injuries. AnnaLeah and Mary were in the back seats, which went underneath the trailer, and died as a result of catastrophic injuries.

On September 12, 2013, Marianne Karth joined Truck Safety Coalition members and safety advocates for a meeting with Secretary Foxx, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro and then NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Secretary Foxx promised tangible progress within a short period of time on the truck safety issues discussed at the meeting. Administrator Strickland added that there would be a decision for underride guards on his desk by November 2013. To bring attention to these safety issues and honor the memories of their daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, on the first anniversary of the crash the Karth family began a petition asking Secretary Foxx to fulfill his promise.

“We are asking Secretary Foxx to take three specific actions to implement tangible solutions which will bring immediate improvements in truck safety issues,” said Marianne Karth. “Unnecessary delays may have cost Mary and AnnaLeah their lives. How many more lives will be lost due to delay?”

The Truck Safety Coalition, www.trucksafety.org, is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policymakers and media about truck safety issues.

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Karth Family Journeys to Washington, D.C.
Deliver “Anna Leah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” Petition to U.S. DOT

On May 4, 2014, the first anniversary of the devastating truck crash that claimed the lives of AnnaLeah and Mary Karth, Marianne and Jerry Karth and six family members will begin their journey from Rocky Mount, North Carolina to Washington, D.C. The Karth family will hand deliver their “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administer Anne Ferro and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Administrator David Friedman on Monday, May 5. The Karth family, including Marianne and Jerry Karth, parents, Rocky Mount, NC, Isaac Karth, brother, Rocky Mount, NC, Peter Karth, brother, Midland, Texas, Danelle Karth, sister-in-law, Midland, Texas, Susanna Karth, sister, Rocky Mount, NC, Marcus Karth, nephew, Midland, Texas and Vanessa Karth, niece, Midland, Texas, will then meet with Administrator Ferro and Acting Administrator Friedman to discuss the truck safety issues that likely contributed to their family’s crash.  The Karth family’s agenda for the meeting follows.

The Karth Family requests Secretary Foxx to take the following actions:

  1. Minimum Liability Insurance Limits for Truck Drivers: We are respectively requesting that, effective immediately, the minimum liability insurance limit be raised to $3.2 million and indexed yearly to the Medical CPI costs which are listed on page 11 of the FMCSA report (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Financial-Responsibility-Requirements-Report-Enclosure-FINAL-April%202014.pdf ).
  2. Rear Underride Guards: We are requesting, effective immediately, that the DOT—for the present—adopt the Canadian standard for rear underride guards and that DOT continue to study the situation, as we are well aware of a trailer manufacturer which has gone beyond these standards and “raised the safety bar.”
  3. Electronic Logging Devices: We request immediate progress on rule-making for electronic logging devices, as driver fatigue is a very real concern. It is, in fact, a life and death matter. Please expedite this process as quickly as possible.

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FMCSA Report Confirms Minimum Insurance is Too Low

Contact: Beth Weaver

301.814.4088/beth_weaver@verizon.net

 FMCSA Report Verifies Financial Responsibility Requirement Deficiency

Safety Groups and Truck Crash Victims Urge FMCSA To Act Quickly To Increase Requirement Level

Families and Taxpayers Should Not be Forced to Bear Uninsured Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 22, 2014) – Truck crash victims and safety advocates responded positively to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) report on commercial motor vehicle financial responsibility requirements, Examining the Appropriateness of the Current Financial Responsibility and Security Requirements for Motor Carriers, Brokers, and Freight Forwarders – Report to Congress, and at the same time rejected the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) claim that increases are unnecessary. The report, directed by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112 – 141, Section 32104), found that current financial responsibility minimums are inadequate, and supports efforts by Members of Congress, safety groups and responsible truck industry participants to secure an increase in financial responsibility requirements.

“Over 30 years ago, Congress set the minimum insurance rule for trucks and motor carriers at $750,000 to cover everyone impacted in a crash, whether it’s two, ten or twenty people killed and injured,” said Kate Brown, Illinois Volunteer Coordinator, Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) and Member, Illinois State Freight Advisory Committee, whose son was severely injured in a truck crash. “The amount of coverage has not changed in over 30 years. During that time, trucks have gotten bigger and heavier, inflation has gone up, medical care costs have skyrocketed and many truck crashes now result in damages that exceed several million dollars. When the insurance coverage falls short, the American public is left to foot the bill for these injuries and losses like I had to do when my son was injured.”

In 1980, the Motor Carrier Act was passed in response to deregulation of the trucking industry, setting financial responsibility levels for motor carriers to “assure that public safety is not jeopardized,” and to reduce concerns that safe drivers would be pressured to cut costs in order to be competitive “…by operating in violation of minimum safety standards.”  Financial responsibility levels were to be set at a level “sufficient to require ‘on site’ inspection by the insurance company, with minimums to be updated regularly.” Unfortunately, levels were not set high enough to accomplish this goal, and regular updates have never occurred. In effect, this lowered the minimum required, and allowed undercapitalized carriers to enter the market with minimal or no underwriting from insurance companies, which is the complete opposite result that was intended when the federal government set a minimum level.

Jackie Novak, TSC North Carolina Volunteer, whose son Chuck Novak and his girlfriend Theresa Seaver were killed in a crash in Henderson County, North Carolina said, “The total number of fatalities and injuries in the crash that killed Chuck was 15. The motor carrier that caused the crash only held a $1 million policy, slightly higher than the minimum now required, which had to be split among five families who lost loved ones and ten injured, as well as all other parties who had a claim to the settlement, such as emergency responders. The insurance did not come close to covering medical costs, or providing for surviving families and children, like my grandson.” Novak added, “The American people unknowingly subsidize the uninsured costs of the trucking industry through programs such as Medicaid and Social Security. When financial responsibility is set so low, and costs are passed on to the victims, there is no deterrent for unsafe behavior.”

Marianne Karth, who lost her daughters AnnaLeah and Mary nearly one year ago in a truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son, said, “I couldn’t believe it when I learned how low financial responsibility requirements were set and that they hadn’t been increased in decades. No one, and that includes truck drivers, should have to deal with astronomical medical costs and potential personal financial ruin on top of the tragedy of losing family members. I ask OOIDA to reconsider their position on this issue, and to acknowledge that they sell truck insurance and are therefore not themselves a neutral party.” Karth continued, “My family and I have launched our ‘AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety’ petition to urge Secretary Foxx to immediately increase minimum insurance levels to, at the bare minimum, account for 30 years of medical care inflation, as well as, to address outstanding truck safety improvements. We hope to personally present him with over 15,000 signatures in a couple of weeks, and that the message we bring will prevent other families from unnecessarily suffering when there are readily available solutions to truck safety issues.”

To add your signature to the “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition, please go to: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/957/501/869/stand-up-for-truck-safety/

The Truck Safety Coalition is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) dedicated to reducing the number of 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, policymakers and media about truck safety issues. More information is available at www.trucksafety.org.

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Florida Volunteers Pay a Visit to the Offices of Members of Congress

On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, our Florida volunteers, Jane Mathis (St. Augustine, FL) and Tracy Quinichett (Orlando, FL), visited the Florida offices of Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and Congresswoman Corrine Brown. Jane and Tracy are both mothers who lost a son and daughter, respectively, in preventable truck crashes. At the meetings, the two women shared stories of their loss and spoke about critical truck safety issues, including the dangers of increasing truck size and weight limits, the importance of equipping trucks with improved rear and front and side underride guards, and increasing minimum insurance—which has not been done in 30 years. We look forward to continuing to work with these offices in the future.

Many thanks to our volunteers for their efforts to improve truck safety.

 

One CRASH Board Member’s thoughts on the Deadly Orland Crash

On Thursday evening, a FedEx truck crashed head on into a bus carrying prospective college students. Ten are dead and dozens more are injured from this tragic crash.

Dawn King, CRASH board member, had this to say,

The news media is slow to mention that it all started with a semi crossing the center median.   That’s not the most news worthy aspect of this crash so it’s getting little press.  Rightfully we need to concentrate on the families of those killed and injured, on the students who were headed toward bright futures as college students who will never see another day, on the survivors who are traumatized, and on the drivers, both of the truck and the bus who were also killed.  But when things calm down we need to take a serious look at why that semi crossed the median in the first place.

Please read the rest of Dawn’s thoughtful post on her page.

Watch a Broad Coalition Speak out against Increasing Truck Size and Weight Limits

The videos from the Truck Size and Weight press conference are now posted. Thank you to all the speakers for doing such a fantastic job. Please watch below:

U.S. Representative James McGovern (D-MA)

Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC), Board Member, Truck Safety Coalition, and Member, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee – Her father was killed in 1983 in a truck crash in North Carolina

Joan Claybrook,Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Former Administrator, NHTSA

Mark Burton, (Knoxville, TN) Director, Transportation Economics for the Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee

Bruce Gower (Clyde, OH), Chief of Police

James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

 

Truck Size and Weight Press Conference – 04/09/2014

Today, a broad coalition of public health and safety groups, truck drivers, law enforcement, and families of truck crash victims joined U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (DMA) on Capitol Hill to oppose any increases to federal truck size and truck weight limits as Congress debates the next multi-billion dollar surface transportation reauthorization bill. Concerns about a dangerous and deadly policy change in federal law are heightened because the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently conducting a study on truck size and weights which has significant flaws and potential biases …

Download Full Press Release below.

Press

Statements

Fact Sheets

Studies / Research

Advisory: Labor, Law Enforcement, Health and Safety Groups, and Victims of Truck Crashes Join to Oppose Bigger and Heavier Trucks

Contact:  Beth Weaver 301.814.4088 or beth_weaver@verizon.net

UPDATE — MEDIA ADVISORY

BREAKING NEWS – Transportation Research Board (TRB) Peer Review Committee Issues Report Condemning Methods Used in U.S. DOT Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study

Serious Concerns Raised by Safety Groups Validated – Report Exposes Significant Weaknesses which Will Render Study Results Inaccurate and Unreliable

WHAT:           NEWS CONFERENCE – Serious concerns raised by safety groups and others about potential bias and data shortcuts in the conduct of the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study (Study) required by MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (Pub. L. 112-141), have been confirmed today by a newly-released report by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Peer Review Committee.  The report, TRB First Report: Review of Desk Scans, found that there are significant shortcomings in the study methodology which means the Study will not be able to predict the impact of large truck size and weight policy changes on safety, the environment and enforcement with a high degree of accuracy.

The purpose of the Truck Size and Weight Study was to gather objective data on the impact of longer, heavier trucks on safety and the infrastructure.  The results of the Study will likely influence Congress about future policy on truck size and weight limits.  Today’s TRB Report reveals a short-circuiting of the Study process and critical flaws with the Study.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), a broad coalition of law enforcement, labor, victims and health and safety groups will join with U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) to oppose bigger, heavier trucks and discuss the on-going problems plaguing the U.S. DOT study. This comes at a critical time as Congress debates reauthorization of the multi-billion dollar bill that funds surface transportation programs.

Additionally, findings from a recently released report, An Analysis of Truck Size and Weight Issues, Phase I – Safety, will be publicly introduced for the first time. Conducted at Marshall University by the Multimodal Transportation and Infrastructure Consortium (MTIC), a University Transportation Center recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), this report found a higher fatal crash rate when double trailer trucks are involved in a crash as compared to single trailer trucks, and a significantly  higher fatal crash rate for trucks with six or more axles, presumably the heaviest of trucks, as compared to those with five axles.

WHEN:            Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 10 a.m.

WHERE:        Cannon House Office Building, Room 421

 WHO:             U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Jacqueline Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Emcee)

Georges Benjamin, MD Executive Director, American Public Health Association

James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Bruce Gower (Clyde, OH) Chief of Police

Mark Burton (Knoxville, TN) Director, Transportation Economics for the Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee

Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Former Administrator, NHTSA

Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC) Board Member, Truck Safety Coalition and Safe Highways, and Member, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee – Her father was killed in 1983 in a truck crash in North Carolina.

 

BACKGROUND:  Truck crash fatalities and injuries have increased three years in a row. The number of fatalities has increased by 16 percent since 2009 from 3,380 to 3,921. The annual number of injured has increased by 40 percent during this time, from 74,000 to 104,000. In fatal crashes involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle, 98 percent of the deaths occur to car occupants.

Polls show a majority of the public does not want bigger trucks, nor do they want to pay for them. Overweight trucks accelerate the destruction of roads and bridges. One third of America’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition and one fourth of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Increasing truck weights will make our roads more deadly and create an unfunded mandate of infrastructure repair and maintenance needs paid by taxpayers.

More information is available at www.trucksafety.org.

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The AnnaLeah & Mary Karth Petition: STAND UP FOR TRUCK SAFETY

Each year 4,000 people are killed and another 100,000 people are injured in truck crashes. This is an unacceptably high number of losses and injuries, but most people don’t know about these numbers or the safety equipment that can protect people on the roads until they or someone they know has their lives forever altered in a crash involving a semi truck.

Karth Crash
Karth Crash Photo

We found out the hard way all about how important truck safety is when AnnaLeah (age 17) and Mary (age 13) were killed in an accident involving two semi trucks on May 4, 2013. In a meeting on September 12th, 2013, with the Truck Safety Coalition and Secretary of Transportation Foxx to discuss truck safety issues, Foxx stated, “I can promise you tangible progress in a short period of time.” As a member of the Cabinet, Foxx has executive authority to make these changes.

Sign the Petition

Click Here to Sign the AnnaLeah & Mary Karth Petition: STAND UP FOR TRUCK SAFETY.

At this time, we are initiating an online petition to request Foxx to fulfill his promise and to do everything he can to protect our families on the road and prevent more senseless tragedies by ensuring that the following truck safety improvements are made:

We are specifically asking Foxx to:

  1. Raise minimum levels of insurance required for truck drivers–which has not been done for over 30 years.
  2. Decrease driver fatigue and monitor their hours on the road with Electronic Logging Devices.
  3. Take needed steps to improve underride guards, which prevent vehicles from sliding under trucks–causing horrific injuries and tragic deaths.

We will print each signed petition and put them in separate envelopes. Then, on May 5, 2014, we will take these envelopes to Washington, D.C. and meet with DOT to remember AnnaLeah & Mary and to promote truck safety.

A Mom’s Story: Why we are asking for change

What You Can Do To Help

1. Sign the petition and share our story & petition with others, http://bit.ly/1gN3jQf :

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Google+
  • Blogs which you write
  • Any other conversations which you engage in…

2. Organize efforts to get signatures from members of a group to which you belong.

  • Advertise The AnnaLeah & Mary Petition: STAND UP FOR TRUCK SAFETY to your group.
  • Encourage group members (and everyone else you know) to sign the online petition by providing them with this link: http://bit.ly/1gN3jQf .
  • To print out a petition, go to http://annaleahmary.com/petition.pdf
  • Arrange a time to have the printed petitions available for group members to sign—making sure that they include their contact information as indicated on the form.

NOTE: Be sure that they only sign ONE petition: either the online OR printed version—NOT both. Mail the signed petitions to us—POSTMARKED NO LATER than April 21, 2014:
Jerry & Marianne Karth

2800 Ridgecrest Drive

Rocky Mount, NC 27803

3. Find out more about Our Story and about Truck Safety Issues:

  • We have set up a website in memory of AnnaLeah & Mary and for the promotion of truck safety advocacy: http://annaleahmary.com
  • After our accident, we were contacted by volunteers from the Truck Safety Coalition–other people who had lost loved ones in truck crashes–and provided with helpful information and support in the wake of our tragedy.The Truck Safety Coalition is a partnership between The Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T). The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) is dedicated to reducing the number of 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.For more information on truck safety issues and to sign up for newsletters and updates, please visit the rest of the Truck Safety Coalition’s website.

Please pray for this effort to be fruitful and make a difference for those who travel on the roads of our country.

Thank you,

Jerry & Marianne

Pennsylvania Volunteers Visit with US Senators and Congressman

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, our Pennsylvania volunteers, Kim Telep (Harrisburg, PA) and Dorothy Wert (Montrose, PA), visited the Pennsylvania offices of Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey and Congressman Lou Barletta. Kim and Dorothy lost their husbands in truck crashes — both of which were preventable. At the meetings, the two women shared stories of their loss and spoke about critical truck safety issues, including the dangers of increasing truck size and weight limits, the importance of entry-level driver training requirements, the implementation of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, and related enforcement.

We are looking forward to continuing to work with these offices in our efforts to improve truck safety.

Kim and Dorothy after meeting with Senator Toomey's office.
Kim and Dorothy after meeting with Senator Toomey’s office.

ADVISORY: PA WIDOWS TO LOBBY U.S. SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN TO PREVENT TRUCK CRASHES AND IMPROVE SAFETY

MEDIA ADVISORY

PENNSYLVANIA WIDOWS LOBBY U.S. SENATORS & CONGRESSMEN TO PREVENT TRUCK CRASHES & IMPROVE SAFETY

Congress Beginning Reauthorization of Surface Transportation Bill

WHAT: The widows of Bradley Telep and David Wert, Sr. will visit the PA offices of U.S. Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey and Congressmen Lou Barletta and Bill Shuster to discuss crucial truck safety issues including the dangers of increasing truck size and weight limits, the importance of entry-level driver training requirements, and implementation of the Drug and Alcohol Testing Clearinghouse Rule.

Congress is beginning the reauthorization process for the federal surface transportation bill with the threat of an increase in the federal truck size and weight limits for trucks. Between 2005-2011, there were 1,220 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks in PA. In 2011, large trucks were involved in 9.1% of fatal crashes in the state.

Bigger, heavier trucks not only pose a danger to motorists, but also accelerate wear on our roads and bridges. Pennsylvania is already struggling to maintain and expand its deteriorating infrastructure. A 2010 study found that PA needs an additional $3.5 billion per year in order to fully meet the State’s transportation infrastructure needs.

WHO:

Kimberly Telep, Truck Safety Coalition Volunteer, Harrisburg, PA

Kimberly’s husband, Bradley Telep, died on August 29, 2012 after a tractor trailer swerved and hit him on the shoulder of the New Jersey Turnpike. The driver of the truck was under the influence of heroin at the time and sentenced to four years in prison.

Dorothy Wert, Truck Safety Coalition Volunteer, Montrose, PA

Dorothy’s husband, David Wert, Sr., was killed in a truck crash on May 23, 2011 in DuBois, PA, when an inexperienced truck driver left his broken-down truck parked in the middle of a dark highway with no lights on, warning signals or flares. David, a 35-year truck driver, was unable to stop his truck in time and crashed into the back of the unlit truck.

WHEN: Thursday, March 27, 2014, 4 – 6 p.m. Available for media interviews immediately following their meetings.

CONTACTS:

Kimberly Telep, (717) 433-1821, kimberlyatelep@gmail.com

Kaitlyn Wert, (570) 432-0030, dwert@stny.rr.com

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Truck Safety Coalition Volunteer Chosen to Serve on the Illinois State Freight Advisory Council

We are pleased to announce that our Illinois truck safety volunteer, Kate Brown, has been selected to serve on the new Illinois State Freight Advisory Council.

Kate became a volunteer after her 27-year-old son, Graham, was hit by a drunk, drugged, and fatigued truck driver in 2005. Graham survived the crash after 22 different surgeries and three years of physical and occupational therapy. He is now permanently, partially disabled.

A provision in MAP-21 requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to encourage each state to establish a freight advisory committee comprised of both private and public sectors. The Illinois State Freight Advisory Council is modeled after the U.S. DOT’s National Freight Committee and will work to advise the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) on the best policies and practices to help improve freight transportation throughout the state.

Congratulations, Kate, on representing the safety community.

Click here for the press release announcing the Illinois State Freight Advisory Council’s full list of new members.

Safety Groups Respond to T & I Hearing Stacked with Industry

Click here to view our letter.

FMCSA Releases Proposed Rule for Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

New Rule Will create a central database for verified positive drug and alcohol test results of CDL holders and refusals by drivers to submit to testing.

FMCSA3“FMCSA proposes to establish the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse), a database under the Agency’s administration that will contain controlled substances (drug) and alcohol test result information for the holders of commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). The proposed rule would require FMCSA-regulated motor carrier employers, Medical Review Officers (MROs), Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs), and consortia/third party administrators (C/TPAs) supporting U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) testing programs to report verified positive, adulterated, and substituted drug test results, positive alcohol test results, test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results, and information on follow-up testing …”

To read the language of the proposed rule, click here.

Truck Safety Advocates Respond to GAO Report on FMCSA’s CSA Program

 Report Recommends Expanding and Improving Data.

Arlington, VA (February 4, 2014):  Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) responded to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program.  Izer states, “The GAO report agrees with CSA’s data driven, risk based approach. Additionally, the report confirms FMCSA’s claim that the CSA program has helped the agency contact or investigate more motor carrier companies and that it is an improvement over the previous system, SafeStat.”

Izer continued, “The GAO’s recommendations will help CSA to become a sharper, more useable tool.”

John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), and a member of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) Subcommittee on CSA, adds, “As FMCSA improves the CSA program and expands its information and data collection, we encourage FMCSA to ensure that the results produce greater oversight for both large and small carriers. In order to perpetuate the safety focused culture engendered by CSA’s creation, we support FMCSA continuing to allow public access to CSA information.”

Download the Press Release here: Truck Safety Advocates Respond to GAO Report on FMCSA’s CSA Program (PDF)

Byrd, Zachary

Age: 21

Zachary was a caring and loving man. He had a heart of never ending love. He did not know a stranger. His smile was contagious and his hugs were legendary.
Zachary will be forever missed but not forgotten.