From The Truck Safety Coalition… High-Speed Truck Crashes and the Need for Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters

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

From The Truck Safety Coalition… High-Speed Truck Crashes and the Need for Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters

A truck driver, who was driving more than 20mph over the speed limit (76 mph), crashed and died in Maryland last week. According to the police, the driver veered into the shoulder of the road and lost control of the vehicle; consequently, the vehicle overturned into the guardrail before skidding approximately 300 feet. This crash should serve as a reminder to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the dire need for the heavy vehicle speed limiter rule. TSC has been working for more than ten years for this rule to be released, and we will continue to urge NHTSA to issue this rulemaking that will slow down reckless truck drivers.

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The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Senator Boxer Opposes Section 611 of FAA Bill

Senator Boxer forcefully opposed Section 611 of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, a provision that would preempt the laws of more than 20 states and restrict states from enacting laws governing truck drivers’ meal and rest breaks that go beyond the federal standard. Senator Boxer noted that this “poison pill” provision will prevent the AIRR Act from moving forward in the Senate. She also stated that she will “use all the tools at [her] disposal to ensure that [Section 611] is not included in the FAA or any other legislation,” and that “this terrible anti-safety, anti-worker provision… has no place in any bill, which is why [the Senate] killed it in the highway bill.”

TSC supports the sentiments expressed by Senator Boxer, and we are thankful that we can count on her to stand up for truck safety in Congress.

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The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… CVSA calls on FMCSA to Limit and Remove Exemptions for Motor Carriers

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sent a letter telling the FMCSA to remove and limit the number of exemptions the agency grants. The CVSA argues that FMCSA is granting excessive exemptions, which hinder enforcement efforts by creating inconsistency and confusion. TSC has been and continues to be firmly opposed to state or industry exemptions for this very reason. We support the CVSA’s stance on this issue, and also urge the FMCSA to reconsider and reduce the many exemptions it grants to carriers, particularly those pertaining to training and hours of service.

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The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… The Dangers of Chameleon Carriers

This article shines a light on the issue of chameleon carriers, which are companies that have gone out of business and the owners have started up a new business under another name. These carriers are able to exist because the minimum insurance requirement is so low that insurance companies do not do any underwriting at that level. These companies also typically have minimal owned assets, and lease their terminals/equipment or otherwise leverage their operations. Even if an injured person obtains a legal judgment in excess of the low insurance limits, these carriers just reincarnate once again. TSC will continue to advocate for an increased enforcement in pursuing these rogue companies and for an increase in the minimum insurance for motor carriers, which will help prevent these reckless companies from being allowed back on our roads.


The Truck Safety Coalition Team


From the Truck Safety Coalition… Wabash Introducing Rear Impact Guard That Far Exceeds U.S. Safety Standard

Wabash National Corporation, a leading manufacturer of commercial trucking equipment, announced that it will be introducing a new rear impact guard for trailers. As TSC noted in our comments on NHTSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to address underride protection in light vehicle crashes into the rear of trailers and semitrailers, this is just one example of available technology that highlights how woefully inadequate the agency’s safety standards are for trucking. Currently, NHTSA is proposing to enhance the U.S. standard by adopting the Canadian standard for rear underride guards and protections. While we welcome improvements to safety, we also noted that NHTSA’s NPRM would be a meaningless move and a missed opportunity to actually advance truck safety. Not only did the agency determine that 93 percent of new trailers meet or exceed the proposed Canadian standard, but as Wabash notes in this article, it has been producing rear impact guards that exceed the Canadian standard since 2007. TSC appreciates the Wabash improved guards and we will continue to educate the public about the dangers of underride crashes, like passenger compartment intrusion (PCI), as well as how improved underride guards and protections can prevent PCI at higher speed and/or overlap crashes between light vehicles and trailers.


The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Safe Roads Illinois is Making Progress

The citizens of Elwood, Illinois, fed up with their community being overrun by heavy truck traffic and fearful of being needlessly injured or killed, formed Safe Roads Illinois to address the problems contributing to their untenable situation. As a result of their advocacy efforts, they recently scored a big win in their endeavors to enhance truck safety in their village and the surrounding county. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced plans to install a traffic light at an intersection because so many trucks have driven into a cemetery and damaged veterans’ graves.

TSC welcomes the traffic light as it enhances safety and prevents the desecration of veterans’ graves. The effort to improve truck safety is ongoing and occurs at many levels. For example, the FMCSA should also require entry-level driver training to ensure that truck drivers know how to properly operate their vehicle and are sufficiently knowledgeable about negotiating all routes.


The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Idaho State Legislature Contemplates Truck Weight Increase

As you may remember, one of the anti-truck-safety provisions that was included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill authorized Idaho to increase the truck weight limit on their roads from 105,500-lbs to 129,000-lbs. In order for this truck weight increase to take effect, the Idaho state legislature must pass a bill, which must then be signed by their governor. Several days ago, their State Senate passed such a bill, and it is now heading to the Idaho House of Representatives. Even though there are state groups that are opposing this measure, like the Idaho Walk Bike Alliance and Friends of Clearwater, the measure will likely pass.

TSC firmly opposes legislation to increase truck weight limits state-by-state as it is merely a back door attempt by trucking interests to come back to Congress in a few years and push for heavier truck weights nationwide.


The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… NTSB Report on Naperville Truck Crash Sheds Light on Truck Safety Issues

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently concluded their investigation into a 2014 fatal truck crash in Naperville, IL and found the truck driver, the carrier, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to all be at fault.

At the time of the crash the truck driver had only slept 4½ hours in the preceding 37 hours. Investigators also found that the trucker routinely falsified his paper logbook in order to circumvent the hours of service requirements. As a result of driving tired, the trucker failed to stop in time, despite ample warnings, and needlessly killed and injured several people. TSC anticipates that the Final Rule for Electronic Logging Devices will prevent drivers like this from falsifying their logbooks, in turn reducing truck driver fatigue.

The motor carrier, DND International Inc., was classified as a “high risk” carrier, but was still allowed to operate. The “high risk” motor carrier failed to comply with federal regulations, particularly hours of service requirements, and should have either fixed the problem or been put out of service.

While the motor carrier should have done more, this crash also highlights deficiency in the FMCSA’s enforcement efforts. It was not until two months after the fatal crash that the FMCSA designated DND International Inc. as an “imminent danger”. Even worse, after the FMCSA’s declaration that they were an “imminent danger,” the company successfully appealed that and once again resumed operations. It was not until the motor carrier’s insurance company cancelled its coverage that this dangerous company was forced off the road.

This tragic crash underscores many of the reasons we work to make trucking safer. TSC will continue educating the public and our lawmakers about fatigued driving, weak Federal oversight, and how increasing minimum insurance requirements can lead to more insurers, like in this case, refusing to cover such an unsafe business.


The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Napolitano Amendment to Remove Sec. 611 of AIRR Act FAILS 27-31

Yesterday, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure voted to approve the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act. As you know, this federal aviation bill includes a provision that adversely impacts truck safety. Section 611 would preempt the laws of more than 20 states and would restrict states from enacting laws governing truck drivers’ meal and rest breaks that go beyond the federal standard. Unfortunately, an amendment offered by Rep. Grace Napolitano, which would have removed Section 611, failed by a vote of 27-31. We are thankful for her efforts as well as for the support of Reps Nadler (D-NY) and Norton (D-DC).  We will keep you updated about the status of this provision and let you what you can do to help remove it.

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Video on Truck Blind Spots Highlights Need for Side Underride Guards

Side underride guards are a simple improvement that can make large trucks safer for pedestrians and cyclists by physically covering the cavity between the front and rear wheels of the truck. Given that nearly half of bicyclists and more than one quarter of pedestrians killed by a large truck first impact the side of a truck, TSC will continue to advocate for these safety enhancements on all interstate single unit trucks and trailers. Please watch this video from the British Safety Council (below) that illustrates the dangers of trucks’ blind spots and underscores why these side protections would reduce the instances of side impact truck crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists that result in needless fatalities and injuries.


From the Truck Safety Coalition… OMB Clears Sleep Apnea ANPRM

On Wednesday, February 3rd, The Office of Management and Budget cleared the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations (FMCSA) and Federal Rail Administration’s (FRA) joint advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding sleep apnea. The FMCSA and FRA are collecting data and information concerning the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in highway transportation. The agencies also request information about the potential economic impact and safety benefits associated with regulatory actions that would result in transportation workers in these positions, who exhibit multiple risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea, undergoing evaluation by a healthcare professional with expertise in sleep disorders and subsequent treatment.

The TSC supports rulemaking for sleep apnea screening to ensure medical examiners are testing for and monitoring this fatigue related condition. We will continue working with Wanda Lindsay and the John Lindsay Foundation to promote public awareness of the sleep apnea problem in the commercial motor vehicle industry. We invite you to see the good work they are doing to improve truck safety by clicking here.

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From the Truck Safety Coalition… Best and Worst States for Trucking Industry in 2016 Discounts Safety

A list of the best and worst places in the U.S. to own a trucking company or drive a truck was recently published in the American Journal of Transportation. The list is based on the responses of nearly 4,000 individuals involved in the trucking industry. Respondents were asked about the cost of overnight parking, trucking-related fees, and how friendly states were to drivers. Unfortunately, this list of “best” states (Tennessee, Washington, Oklahoma, Texas, and Indiana) to be a truck driver did not factor in safety.

According to the most recent FARS data, each of these five states saw fatal crashes increase between 2009 and 2014 that exceeded the national increase of 15 percent. Additionally, in 2009 these five states accounted for 19 percent of the total fatal crashes in the United States, and in 2014 they accounted for 25 percent of the total fatal crashes in the United States. Safety should be a key factor in determining the best states to be a truck driver, especially given the fact that between 2009 and 2014, truck driver fatalities skyrocketed 38 percent. TSC is committed to educating the public and advocating for commonsense safety reforms in order to making trucking safer for everyone, including truck drivers.

State 2009 Fatal Crashes 2014 Fatal Crashes Percent Change
Washington 31 36 16%
Tennessee 92 110 20%
Indiana 96 129 34%
Oklahoma 94 134 43%
Texas 318 553 74%
National 3380 3903 15%

The Truck Safety Coalition Team



TSC Update: Truck Safety Action in Illinois

The people of Will County, Illinois are fighting to make truck safety a priority in their community. Heavy truck traffic resulting from unplanned, overdeveloped intermodal facilities in the area has overrun their community, creating an unsafe roads. Since 2014, Will County has experienced 20 truck crash fatalities, 156 truck crash injuries, and 909 truck crashes. As we all know, just one crash is too many, but nearly 1,000 crashes in the span of a year in one county is not just a tragedy, it is an epidemic.

The Will County Coalition for the People and Safe Roads Illinois were formed because the people in that area have realized that development is occurring so quickly that is leaving safety behind. In other words, the situations has become untenable. As a result, the coalition has created this list of advocacy items:

  • Encouraging smart, sensible, diverse and planned development
  • Making our roads and communities safe
  • Protecting our air and water
  • Holding developers accountable for their actions and impacts
  • Growing travel and tourism
  • Protecting our property value

The Truck Safety Coalition supports the endeavors of these local organizations, and we will continue to monitor their progress and update you on their accomplishments. We have long recognized the social, environmental, and financial costs of an unregulated trucking sector, which benefits the few at the expense of the many. We will continue our efforts to make trucking safer so that other towns, villages, and counties are not faced with a situation like this one where they are forced to allocate time and money to address truck safety deficiencies.

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TSC Update: Double Tractor-Trailer Crash Underscores Work Zone & Truck Length Safety

A double tractor-trailer carrying handgun ammunition crashed and overturned in a work zone near Benson, AR. The truck driver was the only person injured, and there were no fatalities. An investigation is ongoing to determine what caused the truck driver to crash.

Unfortunately, this crash is just one of many that highlights the dangers of truck crashes in work zones. Although big trucks account for only 4 percent of U.S. registered vehicles, they are dramatically overrepresented in fatal work zone crashes. Large trucks were responsible for 30 percent of all fatal work zone crashes in 2014.

This past year TSC successfully opposed legislative efforts to increase the length of double tractor-trailers by five feet per trailer as the longer trailers would have increased the average stopping distance of the vehicle by 22 feet. As you can see in the pictures, another 22 feet of destruction would have resulted in even more cleanup costs, more traffic, and possibly more injuries and fatalities.

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TSC Update: Indiana’s Innovative Way of Addressing Overweight Trucks

Indiana is using innovative technology to save lives and money by addressing the issue of overweight trucks on Interstates highways. Their pilot program would use a combination of weight sensors in the road that would then trigger a camera to take a picture of the truck’s license plate as a method of catching drivers who violate the weight limit.

As we noted in our successful effort to defeat the Ribble Amendment to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which would have increased the federal truck weight limit from 80,000-lbs. to 91,000-lbs., heavier trucks will be more dangerous and more costly to taxpayers. Overweight trucks (greater than 80,000-lbs) disproportionately damage our already deteriorating roads and bridges, and, worse, only pay between 40 and 50 percent of the costs for which they are responsible.

TSC supports Indiana’s drive to enhance their enforcement efforts.


TSC Update: Safety and Infrastructure Concerns Slow Down WA Truck Weight Increase Bill

The Washington State Senate is considering a bill, SB 6265, that would increase the weight limit for agriculture trucks traveling on state roads in Washington. Thankfully, there are several state groups that oppose this measure, including the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) and the State Patrol, citing data that show heavier trucks would decrease safety while increasing the wear and tear on roads and bridges.

According to Washington’s DOT, raising the weight limit from 20,000 to 22,000 pounds per axle would result in a 50 percent increase in wear and tear. In dollars, this translates to an additional $15 million to $25 million per year in road maintenance costs and an additional $32 million a year in maintaining bridges.

The TSC agrees with the Washington DOT and State Patrol, and we have continually stated that heavier trucks will not result in fewer trucks, but more dangerous trucks. We will be mobilizing our Washington volunteers to contact their State Senators to oppose this truck weight increase proposal.



Trucker rest break proposal resurrected in aviation bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Buried in the fine print of an aviation bill introduced in the House this week is a provision that would prevent states from requiring trucking companies to schedule more generous rest breaks for their drivers than the federal government’s minimum standard.

Laws in 22 states require longer or more frequent rest or meal breaks for workers than the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s standard for truckers of a minimum half-hour break eight hours after reporting for duty.

The trucking industry challenged the state laws in court and lost. The industry lost again in December when a provision it backed to pre-empt the state laws in favor of the federal standard was taken out of a massive transportation bill at the insistence of Senate negotiators.

The provision has been quietly revived in a bill introduced this week by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to overhaul the Federal Aviation Administration.

Safety groups oppose the provision, which they say will be used by companies to pressure drivers to continue behind the wheel when they are tired or hungry.

Rich Pianka, acting general counsel for the American Trucking Associations, said federal law permits truckers to take breaks whenever they feel too tired to drive. The industry objects to the state laws because building in rest breaks on cross-country trips according to state-by-state requirements even if drivers don’t want to use the breaks disrupts planning, he said.

“It’s really not about safety,” Pianka said.

It’s really about money, according to James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The trucking industry wants drivers to be behind the wheel as much as possible for the time they’re being paid, Hoffa said in a statement. In addition to rest breaks, the provision would also limit how truck drivers are paid, and not compensate them for safety procedures like performing pre-trip inspections, he said.

“It overrules the fundamental principle that all workers should be paid for the time they work,” he said.

Joan Lowy – Associated Press


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