Thanksgiving Travels Should Remind DRIVE Act (H.R. 22) Conferees to Promote Safety

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

Thanksgiving Travels Should Remind DRIVE Act (H.R. 22) Conferees to Promote Safety

Thanksgiving Travels Should Remind DRIVE Act (H.R. 22) Conferees to Promote Safety

November 24, 2015

Dear Conferee:

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year with millions of people driving to visit friends and family. For many of us, however, we are one or several guests short. The absence of a friend or a family member serves as a grave reminder of the sudden, unnecessary loss that we experienced upon losing a loved one in a large truck crash. Busy travel weekends like this remind us of the dire need to reform our current system and advance safety on our nation’s roads and bridges. The best way to ensure the safety of the motoring public in the long term is for Congress to remove the anti-safety provisions in the multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.

A provision permitting interstate teen truck drivers is a misguided measure that will allow higher-risk drivers to get behind the wheel of an 80,000-lbs. truck. Yet, Congress is moving forward on this despite the public’s firm opposition to lowering interstate truck driving age from 21 to 18. A recently release public opinion poll showed that 77 percent of the public is opposed to this proposal. Congress should listen to the public, look at the safety statistics on teen drivers, and act accordingly.

Furthermore, the bill is stuffed like a turkey with other industry handouts such as providing exemptions to the federal weight limit and hours of service (HOS) requirements for certain industries. If passed, families will be forced to maneuver around heavier trucks and drive next to truckers who could be working for more than 80 hours per week. Legislation to increase truck weight limits, or loosen HOS requirements, industry-by-industry is merely a back door attempt by trucking interests to come back to Congress in a few years and push for increases across the board.

It is upsetting that some Members of Congress are so willing to accept dangerous policy proposals without studying them first, like mandating Double 33 tractor trailers and allowing teen interstate truckers. It is even more upsetting, however, that these same lawmakers erect roadblocks to impede studies on pro-safety policies, like increasing the minimum levels of insurance or requiring forward collision avoidance and mitigation (F-CAM) braking systems on all large trucks. Congress should be utilizing the rulemaking process to ensure they have the best information to make a data-driven decision on an issue, not to block measures that do not align with special interest requests.

This holiday season, as families eagerly await for the arrival of their loved ones, we urge you to remedy the safety setbacks in the DRIVE Act before another family has an empty chair at their Thanksgiving table this year. As survivors and families who lost loved ones in large truck crashes, we would be thankful for a safe holiday weekend and for a transportation bill that actually advances safety for the next six years.

Sincerely,

Pdf: Thanksgiving Letter to Conferees

 

 

JOINT STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF NEW STUDY, “UNCLOGGING AMERICA’S ARTERIES 2015”

JOINT STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF NEW STUDY, “UNCLOGGING AMERICA’S ARTERIES 2015”

DAWN KING, PRESIDENT OF TRUCK SAFETY COALTION,

BOARD MEMBER OF CITIZIENS FOR RELIABLE AND SAFE HIGHWAYS (CRASH)

JANE MATHIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF TRUCK SAFETY COALTION

BOARD MEMBER OF PARENTS AGAINST TIRED TRUCKERS (PATT)

Yesterday, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, and the American Highway Users Alliance, held a press conference on the results of a new study that identifies and ranks America’s worst 50 traffic bottlenecks, “Unclogging America’s Arteries 2015, Prescriptions for Healthier Highways.” While we welcome more information about the effects of congestion on our roads, we were stunned that safety was largely omitted from the discussion. This should not be the case considering there was a 17 percent increase in truck crash fatalities and a 28 percent increase in truck crash injuries between 2009 and 2013. Congress cannot simply acquiesce to the trucking industry’s demands; failing to identify opportunities to improve safety as part of the congestion discussion is a mistake.

Thanksgiving, for many, is a joyous time when families gather around the table to talk and reflect. In families like ours, however, the empty seat at our table serves as a constant reminder of our loved ones that were needlessly killed in truck crashes. This year during the Thanksgiving weekend, approximately 55 people will be killed and another 1,300 people will be injured in large truck crashes. We must do more to stop these truck crash deaths and injuries from occurring; we must do more to ensure that other families don’t have an empty chair this year at their tables.

Unfortunately, select shipping and trucking interests are currently advancing efforts in Congress that will benefit only them, while making our roads less safe for everyone. Our senators and representatives should not vote for the cornucopia of dangerous special interest handouts stuffed into the DRIVE Act. Trucking interests may be thankful for provisions allowing interstate teen truck drivers, permitting greater Hours of Service exemptions to certain classes of motor carriers, or slowing rulemakings to review the minimum level of insurance, but the motoring public and taxpayers will continue to pay with their wallets and lives.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves’ aggressive agenda to include language in the DRIVE Act and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill to increase truck size and weight speak to the ATA’s true intentions – increasing profits at any expense. There is no safety rationale for Congress to increase the length of double tractor trailers from 28 feet per trailer to 33 feet per trailer, which would result in a 22 foot longer stopping distance and a larger blind spot.

This misguided policy cannot be the solution to the troubling fact that trucks constitute four percent of the registered vehicles in this country, but are involved in 28 percent of all fatal work zone crashes. If anything, a longer stopping distance will make tragic crashes where the truck driver is unable to brake in time before colliding into the backs of cars stopped in traffic more common. We have seen these types of truck crashes all too often: an April crash in Georgia that claimed the lives of five nursing students, a June crash in Tennessee that left six dead, and just two days ago in Pennsylvania, two more lives were ended by a truck that crashed into them because the truck driver could not stop his vehicle in time.

Instead of considering longer trucks, Congress should have been working to include a mandate for forward collision avoidance mitigation (F-CAM) braking systems on all large trucks. This technology warns drivers and, ultimately, will apply the brakes if the truck is getting too close to another object or vehicle. It is disappointing that Congress did not include an F-CAM requirement in the DRIVE Act that would actually prevent crashes, reduce injuries, and save lives.

In yesterday’s statement, former governor Graves said, “these bottlenecks cost our economy billions with the delays they cause moving our nation’s freight. They are truckers’ worst nightmares come true, but one that tens of thousands of our nation’s freight haulers have to deal with daily.”

Taking someone’s life should be a trucker’s worst nightmare, not being delayed.

Please join us in spreading a message of safety this holiday season. This Thanksgiving should not be about the trucking industry being thankful for a holiday weekend in which as few dollars as possible were lost due to traffic and delays. It should be about the public being thankful for a safe holiday weekend in which as few people as possible were needlessly killed or injured in truck crashes.

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Statement of John Lannen on Passage of Wicker-Feinstein Amendment to Conduct Safety Study of Double 33s

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

Senate Votes in Favor of Wicker-Feinstein Motion

To Conduct Safety Study of Double 33-Foot Trailers by Voice Vote

ARLINGTON, VA (November 19, 2015) – Yesterday, sound judgement prevailed and the U.S. Senate passed, by voice vote, an amendment proposed by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to require a safety study on Double 33 tractor trailers before they are federally permitted.

This is a huge victory for survivors and victims of large truck crashes, law enforcement, truck drivers, trucking companies, truckload carriers, and the American motoring public. We appreciate that the Senate voted responsibly by seeking to fully understand the safety impact of these longer trucks before considering whether they should be allowed on our roads.

This was a great win, but there is still a long road ahead. The amendment has to make it out of the Conference Committee, which will consolidate the House and Senate versions of the THUD Appropriations bills. The final bill must then be passed again by both chambers and signed into law by the President. We hope that the Senate’s second vote in two weeks to oppose a federal mandate requiring Double 33s sends a clear and consistent message to the House that safety must remain a top priority in crafting transportation policy.

A recent poll showed that 77% of Americans reject the ideas of these larger Double 33 tractor trailers being driven on our roads. We are pleased that the Senate listened to three out of four Americans, instead of the handful of industry lobbyists who are pushing this dangerous agenda with no regard for its effect on public safety.

The Truck Safety Coalition is grateful for all the Members of Congress that listened to the stories of those who lost family members to truck crushes, and those who survived them. A special thank you goes out to Senators Wicker and Feinstein for their leadership on truck safety issues and for working tirelessly to underscore the dangers of allowing these longer trucks.

Statement of John Lannen – Passage of Wicker-Feinstein Amendment

Democratic Senators Voice Concerns Over Safety Language in Highway Bill

November 12, 2015

Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Reid:

We write to express our concerns over troubling provisions that were considered or included by the House of Representatives during its action on the surface transportation bill.

This long-term legislation could set federal transportation policy for the next six years. The final transportation bill should advance safety, not roll back important safety and consumer protection policies.

Rather than advancing important safety issues, proposals from the House could erode safety, short-change consumer privacy, undermine environmental and energy security measures, and erect roadblocks to holding industry accountable. Making the necessary investments in our nation’s infrastructure – a goal we strongly support -should not come at the expense of weaker safety and consumer protections. For those reasons, we urge you to prevent any rollback of safety or consumer protections relative to the Senate-passed transportation bill in order to avoid any potential erosion of support for the final bill.

Problematic provisions considered during House action on the bill include:

  • Lower funding levels for critical safety and infrastructure programs;
  • Provisions that insulate companies from liability or limit discoverability and withhold information from victims of accidents across transportation modes, including hiding information that could help the public make more informed choices about safety – for example , through new FOIA exemptions;
  • Provisions that provide et immunity from prosecution by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for committing unfair or deceptive acts as long as an auto company maintains a “privacy policy,” no matter how inadequate or undecipherable;
  • Provisions that provide fuel economy or greenhouse gas emissions credits for the inclusion of V2V, crash avoidance and other safety technologies, eroding the oil savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions these credits are intended to incentivize;
  • Provisions that give automakers that submit and comply with their own secret cybersecurity “best practices” exemptions from civil penalties and FTC enforcement actions, but prevent an automaker’s failure to submit such a plan from being used as evidence against them in a legal action;
  • Provisions that waive environmental and safety requirements for small-volume automobile manufacturers;
  • Provisions that prevent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from bringing enforcement actions and prevent courts from considering non-compliance with voluntary guidelines issued by the Department of Transportation as evidence of liability, but allow industry to use its own compliance with those guidelines as exonerating evidence in the same court or NHTSA enforcement proceeding;
  • Provisions that stifle or stop important safety regulations, including minimum insurance for truck drivers;
  • Provisions that make exemptions or are giveaways to the trucking and auto industry, including requirements that could limit the publication of life-saving warnings, without completing proper study or including requirements to mitigate the safety impacts; and
  • Provisions that hamper truck safety, including requiring younger truck drivers on our

Some of these provisions were wisely not included in the bill passed by the House.

Nonetheless, we remain concerned that these issues could inappropriately reemerge for consideration as both bodies continue to move forward toward a final agreement. We note that the inclusion in a conference report of any provision not contained in either the House or Senate text is a violation of Senate Rule XXVIII, and we ask that you follow the spirit of that rule in any final agreement. Furthermore, we urge you to press against House-passed provisions that would worsen safety relative to the Senate bill.

We know you share our concerns for the safety of our constituents, and we ask for your support to ensure that the issues listed above are not included in any final agreement as Congress works on a long-term surface transportation bill. We look forward to continuing to work

together to pass a responsible bill with sufficient funding that provides states, municipalities and stakeholders with certainty so they can tackle long-term projects and rebuild our infrastructure. Together, we must resist efforts to use this important legislation as a vehicle for controversial provisions that undermine public health and safety.

Sincerely,

Edward J. Markey

Bill Nelson

Richard Blumenthal

Patrick Leahy

Al Franken

Mazie K. Hirono

Bernard Sanders

Dianne Feinstein

Sheldon Whitehouse

Maria Cantwell

Tom Udall

Jack Reed

Elizabeth Warren

Link to Letter: Democratic Senators – Safety Language Concerns

Letter to Conferees – DRIVE Act (H.R. 22)

November 13, 2015

Dear Conferee:

As representatives of the nation’s leading consumer, public health, and safety organizations, and families who have had loved ones killed in preventable motor vehicle and motor carrier crashes, we are writing to express our continuing concerns and strong objections to the House and Senate highway reauthorization bills’ failure to advance needed public safety laws and programs. As you begin conference negotiations to harmonize the language in the two bills, we urge you to remove anti-safety provisions and include commonsense and cost-effective safety improvements. Without your efforts to ensure critical changes to address the rising carnage on our roads and highways, the next surface transportation reauthorization bill could turn out to be the most anti-safety transportation legislation ever enacted into law.

For 25 years, the surface transportation reauthorization bill has been a laudable, bi-partisan effort to advance sound, sensible and cost-saving proposals resulting in safer cars and trucks, safer drivers and safer roads. As a result, laws were enacted that: ensured airbags became standard equipment in the front seat of all passenger vehicles and a freeze on the spread of double and triple-trailer trucks in every state was achieved (1991); created a national zero tolerance blood alcohol content (BAC) law for underage drinking and driving (1995); required advanced airbags and initiated incentive grants for occupant protection and stronger drunk driving laws (1998); developed requirements for vehicle safety standards resulting in electronic stability control technology on every vehicle, improved roof strength, ejection mitigation, and mandatory truck safety improvements (2005); and, advanced motorcoach safety improvements for basic occupant safety protections such as seatbelts, roof crush prevention and occupant ejection protections (2012). In stark contrast, 2015 marks the year that the highway reauthorization bill does little to address the well-known issues and workable solutions to deadly safety problems, and also throws safety in reverse by omitting critically needed safety measures and including repeals of existing safety rules.

We urge you to remedy the following safety issues during Conference:

Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety: Teen Truck and Bus Drivers, Public Safety Scores, and Anti-Safety Exemptions: Provisions to allow teen drivers to get behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound rig or bus and operate in interstate commerce must be removed. This misguided idea was resoundingly rejected by DOT ten years ago because of overwhelming opposition and compelling research showing the unacceptable high crash risk of young drivers. Previous studies have shown intrastate CMV drivers under the age of 19 are four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and CMV drivers between the ages of 19-20 are six times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes. A sensible outcome would be to strike the pilot program for teen bus and truck drivers and substitute it with a study of the safety of intrastate truck drivers before launching this program.

Additionally, provisions to hide from public view the safety scores of unsafe motor carriers including passenger bus companies benefit only carriers with poor safety scores. Keeping consumers in the dark about the safety of their families as they drive on roadways or as their children are transported on school field trips is unacceptable and must be stricken from the bill.

Moreover, we oppose all of the many exemptions to truck size and weight limits and truck driver hours of service requirements, as well as the burdensome regulatory roadblocks which impede safety advances.

Inadequate Penalties: There have been ten Congressional hearings on vehicle safety defect issues during the 113th and 114th Congresses, yet Congress has not taken any meaningful or corrective actions to stop auto industry cover-up and to hold corporations accountable. Manufacturers who knowingly conceal vehicle safety defects or sell a dangerously defective vehicle should be subject to criminal penalties, as is the case under many other federal consumer enforcement laws. Higher fines and criminal sanctions are needed to prevent manufacturers from viewing penalties as just another cost of doing business.

Increase National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Funding Levels: NHTSA is drastically underfunded, receiving only one percent of the overall DOT budget even though 95 percent of transportation-related fatalities and 99 percent of transportation injuries occur on our streets and highways. There are few, if any, products on the U.S. market that have a greater impact on the public health of Americans than the automobile. In addition, their economic impact is extraordinary, with new and used cars representing over $1 trillion in sales and $14 billion in advertising. Yet with so many lives, injuries and consumer dollars at stake, Congress is choosing to underfund the one agency that has the potential to reduce the tragic toll vehicles take on America’s public health. Pending language slashes authorization levels for carrying out the mission of NHTSA by a total of $90 million over 6 years. There is an urgent need to correct NHTSA’s chronic underfunding, and not to further hobble the agency’s safety and oversight mission.

Eliminate Loopholes to Rental Car Recalls and Include Used Cars: It is necessary to fix loopholes in the bill language that limit consumer protection from defective vehicles only to companies that rent cars as their primary business. Customers of car dealerships that provide loaner or rental cars need the same safety recall protection, but dealerships would be exempted under this provision. Likewise, purchasers of used cars should not be imperiled by a safety recall the car dealer knows about but refuses to repair.

Remove Bureaucracy and Roadblocks to Safety Rulemaking: Mandating numerous wasteful studies and industry-stacked Councils, Regulatory Negotiation committees and additional bureaucratic hurdles and procedures impose roadblocks to needed safety rules by NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The unnecessary impediments must be eliminated.

Advance Child Safety: The final bill should include provisions requiring NHTSA to issue safety rules to prevent serious injury or death to children and other passengers in rear seats of vehicles.  There is an urgent need to improve front seat back strength because seat backs have been shown to fail even in low speed crashes killing and maiming children in the rear seat who are restrained.  The current federal vehicle safety standard has not been changed since it was first adopted in 1967. Furthermore, it is time that NHTSA moves forward on a rule requiring a reminder system for children inadvertently left behind in a vehicle.  Children are needlessly dying while the adoption of available life-saving technology is delayed.

Considering the record recalls involving over 100 million vehicles over the last two years for vehicle defects which led to at least 200 preventable deaths, corporate cover-ups, and an unacceptable mortality and morbidity toll each year of 33,000 deaths and over 2 million injuries, this bill is a unique opportunity to advance bi-partisan safety solutions. Unless significant changes are made to the bill, it will seriously imperil public safety for the next six years and beyond. We urge you to take action that will save lives and spare families, and not succumb to special interest roll backs that jeopardize safety on our nation’s highways.

Sincerely,

Signatures

Letter pdf: Letter to Conferees

 

 

 

DRIVE Act Conference Committee Members

Conference Committee for DRIVE Act 2015 (H.R. 22)

House Conferees

  • Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania
  • Jimmy Duncan, Tennessee
  • Sam Graves, Missouri
  • Candice Miller, Michigan
  • Rick Crawford, Arkansas
  • Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania
  • Blake Farenthold, Texas
  • Bob Gibbs, Ohio
  • Jeff Denham, California
  • Reid Ribble, Wisconsin
  • Scott Perry, Pennsylvania
  • Rob Woodall, Georgia
  • John Katko, New York
  • Brian Babin, Texas
  • Cresent Hardy, Nevada
  • Garret Graves, Louisiana
  • Peter DeFazio, Oregon
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia
  • Jerrold Nadler, New York
  • Corrine Brown, Florida
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas
  • Elijah Cummings, Maryland
  • Rick Larsen, Washington
  • Mike Capuano, Massachusetts
  • Grace Napolitano, California
  • Daniel Lipinski, Illinois
  • Steve Cohen, Tennessee
  • Albio Sires, New Jersey

Senate Conferees

  • Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma
  • John Thune, South Dakota
  • Deb Fischer, Nebraska
  • Orrin Hatch, Utah
  • John Cornyn, Texas
  • John Barrasso, Wyoming
  • Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
  • Barbara Boxer, California
  • Charles Schumer, New York
  • Bill Nelson, Florida
  • Dick Durbin, Illinois
  • Ron Wyden, Oregon
  • Sherrod Brown, Ohio

Statement of John Lannen on Passage of Wicker Motion to Instruct Conferees on Safety Study of Double 33s

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

Senate Votes in Favor of Wicker Motion to Instruct Conferees

To Study Safety Effects of Double 33 Foot Trailers by Margin of 56-31

ARLINGTON, VA (November 10, 2015) – Today, reason prevailed and the U.S. Senate voted in favor of Senator Roger Wicker’s (R-MS) Motion to Instruct Conferees to require a safety study of Double 33s before mandating these longer trucks on our roads. This nearly 2-1 vote was a major win for survivors and victims of large truck crashes, law enforcement, truck drivers, trucking companies, truckload carriers, public health and safety groups, and the American public. We are pleased that the Senate employed a data-driven approach that allows for further study on the safety effects of Double 33s as well as an opportunity for public input.

In voting for this measure, Senators listened to the Department of Transportation recommendation that there should be no increase to truck size or weight because of insufficient data to support such a change. This was the right move, especially given the steadily worsening trends of truck crash fatalities and injuries. Congress should understand the impact of the length increase on pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, as well as the additional wear on our nation’s roads and bridges before mandating them. It is only logical to study this truck configuration further, which we already know takes 22-feet longer to stop and have a six-foot wider turning radius than Double 28s.

As the House and Senate head to conference to resolve the differences between their competing versions of the multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, the DRIVE Act (H.R. 22), there is still work to be done to improve the safety title of the final legislation. We ask negotiators to remove provisions that allow teenagers to drive trucks across state lines as well as those that hinder rulemaking to increase the minimum insurance required by large trucks. Rejecting measures to increase truck size and weight are a step in the right direction; however, allowing the aforementioned safety rollbacks to remain in the final bill would be a step backwards for safety.

The Truck Safety Coalition is especially thankful for all of the congressional support for truck crash survivors, the families of truck crash victims, and for our mission to promote safety. We want to specifically thank Senators Wicker and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for their outstanding leadership on this issue.

Statement of John Lannen on Passage of Wicker MTI (Double 33s)

Release: House Passes DRIVE Act (H.R. 22)

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2015

Contact: Beth Weaver | 301.814.4088 | beth_weaver@verizon.net

House Passes DRIVE Act (H.R. 22)

Truck Weight Increase Amendment is Defeated

More Anti-Safety Provisions Must Be Removed as Bill Heads to Conference

Washington, D.C. (November 5, 2015) – Today the House of Representatives passed its multi-year surface transportation reauthorization legislation, H.R. 22. While this bill still contains anti-safety provisions, a nation-wide truck weight increase is not one of them. A large and diverse coalition of truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, law enforcement, safety advocates, labor, truckers, and trucking companies joined together to urge Congress to reject heavier trucks. They listened. By a bipartisan vote of 236 against and 187 in favor of the measure, the amendment failed – a resounding rejection of the misinformation and specious arguments that heavier trucks will result in fewer and safer trucks.

It is unfortunate, however, that the House’s version of the Highway Bill still contains dangerous safety rollbacks and omits any safety advances, some of which were offered as amendments. We urge conferees to remove these anti-safety amendments that were approved in the House as well as dangerous provisions in the base bill:

Opposed Amendments Agreed to by House by Voice Vote:

Farenthold #76: Grandfathers heavy trucks on future I-­69 – agreed to by voice vote.

Ribble #23: Increases air-mile radius from 50 to 75 under Hours of Service – agreed to by voice vote.

Duffy #9, Crawford #60, Lipinski #106, Nolan #3: Various weight exemptions – offered as en bloc amendment.

Crawford #93: Allows towing of two empty trailers together – offered as en bloc amendment.

Neugebauer #67: No hazmat endorsement for farm trucks transporting fuel – offered as en bloc amendment.

All of these exemptions weaken safety and undermine law enforcement efforts.

Opposed Provisions in House Highway Bill:

Sec. 5404: Allowing Teen Truckers                    

  • There is no data that analyzes whether it is safe to allow teenagers to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate traffic. In fact, research has demonstrated that truck drivers younger than age 21 have higher crash rates than drivers who are 21 years of age and older.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) previously declined to lower the minimum age for an unrestricted CDL to 18 as part of a pilot program because the agency could not conclude that the “safety performance of these younger drivers is sufficiently close to that of older drivers of CMVs[.]” The public overwhelmingly opposed the idea with 96 percent of individuals who responded opposing the proposal along with 88 percent of the truck drivers and 86 percent of the motor carriers who responded.

Secs. 5221, 5223, 5224: Changing Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Data

  • Hiding critical safety information in the FMCSA’s CSA program will deprive consumers from learning about the comparative safety of motor carriers and bus companies when hiring a motor carrier company to transport goods or people.
  • Letting the public know the government safety scores promotes public accountability and improves safety. CSA is working as intended and includes a process so that it can continue to be fine-tuned and improved.

Sec. 5501: Delaying Rulemaking on Minimum Financial Responsibility

  • Minimum insurance levels have not been increased in more than 35 years.
  • During this time the cost of medical care has increased significantly and the current minimum requirement of $750,000 is inadequate to cover the cost of one fatality or serious injury, let alone crashes in which there are multiple victims.

Sec. 5224: Limiting Shipper and Broker Liability

  • Shields brokers and shippers from responsibility based on low standards related to hiring decisions. Reducing standards effectively removes safety from the carrier selection process.

We are thankful for the efforts and hard work of our network of volunteer truck safety advocates, who consist of truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims. Their tireless dedication to improving truck safety is admirable, and their voices were definitely heard on Capitol Hill this past month as we had our largest Sorrow to Strength Conference to date. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Representatives Lois Frankel (FL), John Lewis (GA), and Hank Johnson (GA). Had your commonsense amendments passed the House, motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and truck drivers would be much safer.

Trucking has become increasingly less safe, as seen by the 17% increase in truck crash fatalities and 28% increase in truck crash injuries between 2009 and 2013. Congress must do more to reverse these trends, not exacerbate them. We ask the conferees to remove the provisions that will endanger public safety, and, instead, promote policies that will make safety a number one priority.

Press Release: Passage of House Highway Bill

Victory for Truck Safety: Statement of John Lannen on Failure of Ribble Amendment

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

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

House of Representatives Votes to Reject Truck Weight Increase on our Nation’s Highways by a Margin of 236 to 187

During Consideration of 6-Year Surface Transportation Bill (H.R. 22)

ARLINGTON, VA (November 4, 2015) – Last night, the House of Representatives voted and rejected an anti-safety amendment sponsored by Representatives Reid Ribble (WI), Kurt Schrader (CO), David Rouzer (NC), and Collin Peterson (MN). The amendment sought to increase the federal truck weight limit from 80,000-lbs. to 91,000-lbs. This vote was a victory for safety and for all those who travel on our highways. The American people have been clear and consistent in their opposition to heavier trucks and Members of the House listened.

In voting against this measure, Representatives dismissed recycled myths and instead made decisions driven by data. The Department of Transportation (DOT) conducted a study on Truck Size and Weight, required by Congress in MAP-21, and concluded that there should be no increase to truck size and/or weight. We are pleased that Members who voted in opposition to the Ribble Amendment appealed to logic and listened to the initial findings of the DOT study.

The Truck Safety Coalition is especially thankful for all of the Congressional support for our victims and for our mission to promote safety. During our biennial Sorrow to Strength conference, which took place two weeks prior to this vote, truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims came to Washington, D.C. to let their representatives know that there is a dire need to stem the increasing rates of truck crash deaths and injuries. Members were moved by the accounts of loss and tragedy.

We were proud to have joined a diverse coalition of safety advocates, law enforcement, labor, truck drivers, and trucking companies in this efforts. We are particularly thankful for the leadership of Representatives Jim McGovern (MA), Michael Capuano (MA), Lou Barletta (PA), Grace Napolitano (CA), and Jerrold Nadler (NY) in keeping safety at the forefront of the debate on the transportation bill.

Statement on Ribble Amendment