From the Truck Safety Coalition… OMB Clears Sleep Apnea ANPRM

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

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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