From the Truck Safety Coalition… New Study Highlights the Importance of Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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

From the Truck Safety Coalition… New Study Highlights the Importance of Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disease afflicting at least 25 million adults in the U.S., and, if left untreated, will continue to be a pervasive threat to truck safety. According to a recent study on truck drivers with OSA, treatment is key in reducing their crash risks. One particularly effective method for treating OSA is the use of positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. Results of the study show that the rate of serious, preventable crashes was five times higher among truck drivers with OSA who failed to adhere to PAP therapy, compared with matched controls. This study reaffirms TSC’s position that requiring comprehensive sleep apnea screening for commercial vehicle drivers will reduce fatigue-related crashes.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/aaos-crs030216.php

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

 

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Crash Avoidance Technologies May Have Saved Lives in ME Truck Crash

Two people were killed in Knox County, Maine last week after a tractor-trailer crossed the center line, corrected, fishtailed, rolled, and then took out four cars. It is still unclear as to what caused the driver cross lanes and overcorrect, but this is consistent with issues such as fatigue and distracted driving. Technologies like electronic stability control, lane departure warnings, and forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems would reduce the chances of these truck crashes as well as the severity of a crash. TSC will continue our education efforts with Members of Congress on the need to mandate these proven technologies.

Link to Article: http://www.pressherald.com/2016/03/18/two-killed-in-crash-in-knox-county/

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Speed Limiter, CDL Clearinghouse Rules Delayed Again

The Department of Transportation recently announced that two long overdue truck safety rules have been further delayed. The rule to require speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks is projected to be published on April 22. The Final Rule for a CDL Clearinghouse, which will develop a database of truck drivers who have failed a drug or alcohol test, is projected to be published on July 28. TSC is disappointed with the delays and will continue monitoring the progress of these regulations.

Link to Article: http://www.overdriveonline.com/dot-announces-further-delays-in-publication-of-speed-limiter-cdl-clearinghouse-rules/

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

 

From the Truck Safety Coalition… FMCSA Restores Raw CSA Data to Its Website

Following the passage of the FAST Act, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was prohibited from posting a carrier’s performance scores compiled under its Safety Management System (SMS) as well as the comparative scores among carriers. Upon making the required changes to become compliant with the new law, the agency restored the raw data the agency uses to compile safety scores for its Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) initiative to its website. Publishing the raw data, once again, is beneficial to public safety and the right thing to do. The scores are collected by taxpayer-funded law enforcement officers on tax-payer-funded roads

Link to CSA Webpage: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… National Academy of Sciences Releases Report with Recommendations for Studying Truck Driver Fatigue

The National Academy of Sciences released a report recommending how the FMCSA could improve its research and data collection efforts pertaining to the relationship between commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver fatigue and crashes. The study identifies obstacles to researching the link between fatigue and crashes, such as the inability to objectively measure fatigue and the difficulty of determining if drivers are actually resting during their mandated time-off. The study also acknowledged that commercial driver fatigue contributes to between 10 and 20 percent of the nearly 4,000 annual CMV crash fatalities. The NAS report, if utilized properly, will help the FMCSA improve their analysis of truck and bus driver fatigue moving forward. The report can be downloaded by clicking on the link below and following the instructions on the following page.

Link to Report: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21921/commercial-motor-vehicle-driver-fatigue-long-term-health-and-highway-safety

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

Dawn King Op-Ed: Trucking weight bill could impact safety, infrastructure

I became involved in the Truck Safety Coalition after my father, Bill Badger, was killed in 2004 near the Georgia state line by a tired trucker who had fallen asleep at the wheel after driving all night and crashed into his car.

The Michigan House of Representatives just passed an anti-truck safety bill, House Bill 4418, that would grant an exemption to seasonal weight restrictions, also known as the “frost law,” for trucks carrying maple sap.

As the president of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), I have educated myself and others about different policies affecting truck safety for more than ten years. At the same time, I have advocated for laws that would enhance truck safety and defended existing truck safety laws and regulations from being rolled back. I hope that others will join me and TSC in this opportunity to stand up for safety and protect a law that protects the people by opposing HB 4418.

Granting yet another exemption to Michigan’s “frost law” contradicts the original intent of the law. Seasonal weight limits, which reduce weight limits on maximum axle loads, maximum wheel loads and gross vehicle weights for commercial motor vehicles driven on state roads from March until May were established to protect our state’s infrastructure. Because of the freezing and thawing that occurs during the aforementioned months, the roads become far more susceptible to damage caused by heavy vehicles. Therefore, allowing heavier trucks carrying maple sap during these months will result in more road damage, in turn costing the taxpayers even more.

HB 4418 also ignores Michigan’s subpar infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers found 22 percent of Michigan roads are in poor condition and 28 percent of Michigan bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Lawmakers should not be enacting this exception that will further exacerbate Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Additionally, one of the arguments for HB 4418 is based on the erroneous claim that heavier trucks will result in fewer trucks. Increasing the truck weight limit will not decrease the number of trips, result in fewer miles traveled, or improve safety by reducing the number of trucks on the highways. Despite several increases in weights of large trucks over the past few decades, the number of trucks and miles traveled on U.S. highways has consistently gone up.

The number of fatalities as a result of truck crashes in Michigan has also grown. From 2011 to 2014, total fatalities from all crashes in Michigan increased by just 1.3 percent, while fatalities from truck crashes in our state increased by 61 percent during that same time. Clearly, truck safety in our state, like infrastructure, is worsening. Michigan lawmakers must address this problem, but allowing heavier trucks is not the solution.

Bills, like this one, that increase truck weight limits industry-by-industry are nothing more than a back door strategy by special interests to come back to our state legislature in several years and lobby for heavier truck weights statewide. We should not allow this special interest hand out to pass at the expense of our infrastructure and our safety.

Dawn King is the president of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), a nonprofit that is a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT).

Link to Article: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/opinion/contributors/viewpoints/2016/03/11/king-trucking-weight-bill-impact-safety-infrastructure/81605236/

From The Truck Safety Coalition… Agencies Release ANPRM for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

On Wednesday, March 9th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations (FMCSA) and Federal Rail Administration’s (FRA) issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding sleep apnea. The agencies will collect data and information concerning the potential consequences for safety presented by truck drivers with moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea. The agencies will be accepting public comments 89 days; the comment period ends on 06/08/2016. TSC will be commenting in support of this rulemaking.

Link to Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/03/10/2016-05396/evaluation-of-safety-sensitive-personnel-for-moderate-to-severe-obstructive-sleep-apnea

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From The Truck Safety Coalition… Truck Driver Pay Has Failed to Keep Up with Inflation

Truck driver’s wages have effectively been cut by almost a third since deregulation in the 1980s. The low pay coupled with lax hours of service regulations are contributing reasons for the trucking industry’s high turn-over rates. TSC promotes changing truck driver pay structure as it will improve safety by reducing the pressure on truck drivers to engage in unsafe work practices to meet unrealistic schedules. 

Link to Article: http://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-pay-has-plummeted-in-the-last-30-years-analyst-stays/?utm_medium=overdrive&utm_campaign=site_click&utm_source=popular

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

From The Truck Safety Coalition… Truck Strikes Bridge in New Jersey, Driver Arrested

A tractor trailer became wedged underneath a bridge after the driver attempted to pass through it. The crash caused debris to be scattered on the road, which led to more than three hours of traffic. While there were no injuries or fatalities as a result of this reckless driver’s actions, property damage only crashes should not be ignored. These crashes create traffic, which results in productivity loss, and cause damage to our country’s crumbling roads and bridges, which are repaired using taxpayer dollars.

Link to Article: http://patch.com/new-jersey/holmdel-hazlet/truck-gets-wedged-under-laurel-avenue-bridge-0

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

Truck Safety Coalition Responds to Release of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Requiring Entry Level Driver Training

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published today in the Federal Register requiring training for entry-level commercial motor vehicle drivers is a welcome development in the effort to enhance truck safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) release of the NPRM, which is based upon the negotiated rulemaking conducted by the Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC), comes 25 years after Congress passed a law requiring a rule on entry level driver training. While we are disappointed that this commonsense regulation has been stalled for so long, the Truck Safety Coalition looks forward to the safety benefits it will produce.

Ron Wood, a member of the ELDTAC and Truck Safety Coalition volunteer said, “This regulation will greatly enhance safety for truckers and the motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclist they drive alongside. Requiring commercial driver’s license applicants to train using a specific curriculum and behind-the-wheel training before they can attain a CDL will help make sure that new truck drivers are prepared to operate their vehicles. The theoretical component mandates training on fatigue awareness, hours of service, trip planning, operating a vehicle under various conditions, and several other safety issues that a professional truck driver needs to address. The requisite 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training will further ensure that CDL applicants can translate their theoretical knowledge into practice for what they may encounter on our nation’s roads and bridges.”

“Although I am eager that this rulemaking will lead to more well-trained drivers, this achievement is bittersweet as it comes too late for some of us.” Wood said. “In 2004, my mother, my sister, and her three children were killed by an inadequately trained driver who fell asleep at the wheel; he killed a total of ten people and injured two others in this crash that occurred 13 years after Congress required action on entry level driver training.”

John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition and also a member of the ELDTAC noted, “This negotiated rulemaking is a step in the right direction, but I would be remiss if I did not recognize the delay since the Congressional mandate was issued in the early nineties. Nevertheless, the Truck Safety Coalition is pleased to see that the FMCSA proceeded with the rulemaking that the advisory committee reached through consensus. Aside from the theoretical curricula and behind-the-wheel hourly requirements, there are other much needed safety improvements included in this rulemaking. Establishing standards for FMCSA-approved driver-training providers and a registry of those providers will help the agency ensure that this rulemaking is properly enforced. The Truck Safety Coalition will continue to monitor this NPRM moving forward, and will also continue applying pressure to make sure that this rulemaking becomes a Final Rule as quickly as possible.”

The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org) is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT).  The Truck Safety Coalition 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 public policy-makers and media about truck safety issues.

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From The Truck Safety Coalition… Investigation Reveals One Trucking Company Violated State Weight Limit More Than 2,000 Times

A nine-month long investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Division uncovered one motor carrier’s blatant disregard for state weight limits. Mr. Bult’s Inc (MBI), the carrier, had more than 2,000 occurrences of their vehicles exceeding Nebraska’s weight limits. If not for concerned citizens and committed trooper, this bad actor might still be breaking the law and endangering the public. TSC will continue to promote commercial vehicle enforcement efforts and oppose increases to weight limits.

Link to Article: http://columbustelegram.com/banner-press/news/mbi-pays-fine-for-overweight-truck-violations/article_1994cfc6-b463-55e6-bb2c-287c1bafb3eb.html

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

From Truck Safety Coalition… At Safety Check in Vermont, Truck Driver Found with Meth, Other Drugs

After failing to stop for a mandatory commercial vehicle safety check in Vermont, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) pulled over a truck driver and found multiple safety violations. The driver had not properly kept a record of duty, and the company he works for, J&M Transport LLC did not have the requisite operating authority. The police also found marijuana, methamphetamines, and paraphernalia that was presumably used by the driver to consume these substances. The Truck Safety Coalition will continue working to remove bad actors, like this truck driver, from operating on roads and endangering the public.

Link to Article: http://www.mychamplainvalley.com/news/vt-dmv-truck-driver-had-meth-drugs-during-safety-check

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

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.

Link to Article: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/for_the_record/ph-ac-cn-accidents-follow-up-0223-20160222-story.html

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.

Link to Article: http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/270740-dem-senator-slams-trucking-poison-pill-in-faa-bill#.Vs9DypG5EoU.twitter

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.

Link to Article: http://www.overdriveonline.com/cvsa-to-fmcsa-scale-back-on-hours-and-other-exemptions/

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.

Link: http://www.wral.com/-chameleon-carriers-create-danger-on-roads/15376321/

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.

Link: http://trailer-bodybuilders.com/trailers/wabash-national-introducing-new-rear-impact-guard

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.

Article: http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/local/92870582-story

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.

Link: http://magicvalley.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/idaho-senate-raises-interstate-truck-weight-limit/article_5eca8c86-98de-59c6-86d3-c6b90ffb41b9.html

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.

Link: http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Pages/2016_Naperville_BMG.aspx

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.

Link to Article: http://www.ccjdigital.com/sleep-apnea-pre-rule-clears-white-house-set-for-publication/

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%

https://www.ajot.com/news/best-and-worst-states-for-trucking-industry-in-2016

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.

Link to website: http://saferoadsil.com/

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.

Link to Article: http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2016/jan/13/wreck-in-work-zone-backs-up-i-30-201601/

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.

Link: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2016/01/04/indiana-to-use-cameras-to-crack-down-on-overweight-trucks/

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.

Link: http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20160121/washington-agencies-unload-on-truck-weight-bill

 

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

Link: http://www.richmond.com/business/ap/article_2cc5f928-0f20-56fb-a6b9-530df123a89f.html

Follow Joan Lowy at twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joan-lowy

NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List Released

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its annual Top 10 Most Wanted List (attached), which represents the agency’s advocacy priorities. TSC agrees with the NTSB on these much-need safety changes, six of which relate to trucking. We have seen progress on some of these issues, but there is still more work to be done.

Reduce Fatigue-Related Crashes

  • Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Final Rule was released in December 2015, which requires ELDs on trucks.
  • TSC has been and continues to work towards enhancing Hours-of-Service requirements and reducing truckers’ allowable hours.
  • TSC supports rulemaking that would require truck drivers to undergo sleep apnea screening.

Promote Availability of Collision Avoidance Technologies in Highway Vehicles

  • TSC wants mandatory installation of forward collision avoidance and mitigation (F-CAM) technology on all new large trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more.
  • NHTSA estimates show that:
    • Current generation F-CAM systems can prevent more than 2,500 crashes each year.
    • Future generation F-CAM systems could prevent more than 6,300 crashes annually.
  • Research indicates that every year a full implementation of F-CAM is delayed:
    • 166 people will unnecessarily die.
    • 8,000 individuals will suffer injuries.

End Substance Impairment in Transportation

  • TSC is awaiting a final rule for a drug clearinghouse, which would create a federal database to track and store information about CDL holders who have drug and alcohol-related incidents on their records.
  • The use of any substance, including Schedule II drugs, that impairs cognitive or motor ability should be monitored or eliminated for operators of commercial motor vehicles.

Require Medical Fitness for Duty (See Reduce Fatigue and End Substance Impairment sections)

  • 69% of long-haul truck drivers (LHTDs) are obese compared to 31% in the adult working population.
  • 17% of LHTDs are morbidly obese.

Expand Use of Recorders to Enhance Safety

  • Event Data Recorders (EDR) are devices that record information related to highway vehicle crash.
  • EDRs record technical vehicle and occupant information for a brief period of time before, during and after a crash. For example, EDRs may record speed, steering, braking, acceleration, seatbelt use, and, in the event of a crash, force of impact and whether airbags deployed.
  • TSC supports standardizing and mandating EDRs in all large trucks.

Disconnect from Deadly Distractions

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publish a final rule in 2010 that prohibits texting by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers while operating in interstate commerce and imposes sanctions, including civil penalties and disqualification from operating CMVs in interstate commerce.
  • Recent research commissioned by FMCSA shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) is 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers who engage in texting while driving than for those who do not.

NTSB 2016 Top 10 Most Wanted

Link to NTSB Website: http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/mwl/Pages/default.aspx

 

Truck driver destroys historic bridge by driving her 30-ton trailer across it – because she got her math wrong and didn’t know she was FIVE TIMES over the weight limit

Highlights:

  • Mary Lambright, 23, made the 1880 historic bridge collapse on Christmas Day in Paoli, Indiana
  • Iron bridge had a weight limit of six tons – her vehicle and trailer weighed about 60,000 pounds – or 30 tons – at crash
  • Lambright told police she didn’t know how many pounds were in six tons 
  • No injuries, but the bridge collapsed under the weight and was destroyed

A historic iron bridge was destroyed when a 23-year woman drove her 30-ton trailer across it – because she got her math wrong and did not realize she was five times over the 6-ton weight limit.

Mary Lambright was attempting to haul a 53-foot box trailer containing 43,000 pounds of bottled water to a Walmart parking lot with her Volvo truck on Christmas Day in Paoli, Indiana.

She drove onto the iron 1880 structure and immediately hit the top of the bridge as her truck was too high. The structure then buckled the under the pressure and collapsed at around 12 noon.

Lambright, of Fredericksburg, told police she knew the iron bridge had a weight limit of six tons and wasn’t equipped for semis due to a sign that was posted, but said she didn’t know how many pounds were in six tons.

Lambright and her 17-year-old cousin who was in the passenger seat managed to escape unharmed.

‘She’s a very inexperienced driver,’ Paoli Police Chief Randy Sanders said of Lambright explaining that she had left the Amish order a year or so ago, reports Herald Times Online.

The Amish use nonmotorized modes of transportation so her experience could be limited to horse-and-buggy transportation.

Most Amish are not permitted to drive motor vehicles but are allowed to hire outsiders — known as ‘English’ — to drive them.

Sanders says Lambright, was an independent driver, hauling the bottled water in a leased truck from Penske for Louisville Logistics.

According to police, Lambright was attempting to make a delivery at a Walmart when she missed a turning, reports WBIW.

She said she tried to turn around in a parking lot, but it was not possible because there was equipment in the way.

She told police she did not feel confident in backing up the truck so she then attempted to cross the iron bridge.

Lambright was traveling more than 30 miles per hour in order to get the vehicle stuck that far on the bridge, according to police.

Police cited her for reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, a class B misdemeanor; disregarding a traffic control device, a class B infraction; and overweight on posted bridge.

She could be fined for the infractions and Louisville Logistics could also face legal action.

Lambright received her Commercial Drivers License (CDL) endorsement in May.

The French Lick Fire Department wrote on Facebook: ‘Bridge collapse in Paoli with no injuries reported.

‘What a sad day for the Old Iron Bridge located on South Gospel St.’

Although some Facebook commenters blamed the driver, many others blamed the school that certified her and the company that allowed her to get behind the wheel. 

One person wrote: ‘I would look into the trucking school or trucking company that sponsored her training.

‘How do you go thru CDL school and get certified and not know the very basics of weight and/or the weight of even your empty truck and trailer which is still too heavy?’ 

Rulemaking to Improve Rear Impact Guards and Protections

This NPRM proposes to upgrade Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 223, “Rear impact guards,” and FMVSS No. 224, “Rear impact protection,” which together address rear underride protection in crashes into trailers and semitrailers. NHTSA is proposing to adopt requirements of the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) for underride guards (CMVSS No. 223, “Rear impact guards,”) that became effective in 2007. The CMVSS No. 223 requirements are intended to provide rear impact guards with sufficient strength and energy absorption capability to protect occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars impacting the rear of trailers at 56 km/h (35 mph). As the current requirements in FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224 were developed with the intent of providing underride crash protection to occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars in impacts up to 48 km/h (30 mph) into the rear of trailers, increasing the robustness of the trailer/guard design such that it will be able to withstand crash velocities up to 56 km/h (35 mph) represents a substantial increase in the stringency of FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224.

This NPRM also proposes to adopt Transport Canada’s definition of “rear extremity” to define where on a trailer aerodynamic fairings are to be located to avoid posing a safety hazard in rear underride crashes.

Rear underride crashes are those in which the front end of a vehicle impacts the rear of a generally larger vehicle, and slides under the rear-impacted vehicle. Underride may occur to some extent in collisions in which a small passenger vehicle crashes into the rear end of a large trailer or semi-trailer because the bed and chassis of the impacted vehicle is higher than the hood of the passenger vehicle. In excessive underride crashes, there is “passenger compartment intrusion” (PCI) as the passenger vehicle underrides so far that the rear end of the struck vehicle collides with and enters the passenger compartment of the striking passenger vehicle. PCI can result in severe injuries and fatalities to occupants contacting the rear end of the struck vehicle. An underride guard prevents PCI when it engages the striking end of the smaller vehicle and stops the vehicle from sliding too far under the struck vehicle’s bed and chassis.

The occupant crash protection features built into today’s passenger vehicles are able to provide high levels of occupant protection in 56 km/h (35 mph) frontal crashes. (1) If guards were made stronger to remain in place and prevent PCI in crashes of severities of up to 56 km/h (35 mph), the impacting vehicle’s occupant protection technologies could absorb enough of the crash forces resulting from the impact to significantly reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury to the occupants of the colliding vehicle.

Link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA_FRDOC_0001-1548

After cycling deaths, a plea for truck safety guards

Some of Dustin Weigl’s fondest memories of his older brother, Christopher, include their long-winded arguments about which to spread first, peanut butter or jelly, on a sandwich.

But that banter between brothers ended in 2012, when Christopher, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student, was killed by a truck as he rode his bicycle in Boston.

“My world was absolutely shattered in a way that can never really be repaired,” Weigl said. His voice cracking at times, he testified before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation Wednesday in support of two bills that would require the installation of protective side guards on certain large vehicles. He said the safety gear could have saved his brother’s life.

“My family believes that this whole collision could have been prevented,” Weigl said. “If side guards had been installed on this truck, Christopher probably would have survived.”

The bills were filed by Representative Daniel Hunt and Senator William Brownsberger, who say bicyclist fatalities often occur when large vehicles take sharp turns and riders fall beneath the vehicles’ rear wheels.

Side guards between the front and back wheels help push cyclists away from the vehicle. The guards can be installed on existing trucks or built into new vehicles.

The lawmakers said side guards and convex mirrors, which would give drivers better visibility, could help reduce bicyclist and pedestrian deaths.

“It’s the appropriate response to a very real issue that the city and the state is facing,” Hunt said.

At least five people died in crashes with trucks in Boston in the past four years, city officials testified at the hearing.

The latest was in August, when Cambridge resident Anita Kurmann was killed while bicycling near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street. The truck had neither side guards nor convex mirrors, officials said.

“If you look at communities around the Commonwealth, these tragedies are playing out in Cambridge, Brockton, Malden, Northampton, and Wellesley, just to name a few,” said Kris Carter, cochairman of Boston’s New Urban Mechanics office. Carter testified while sitting alongside Weigl.

Boston passed a side-guard ordinance in 2014, following a successful pilot program. Billed as a US first, it requires all large city-contracted vehicles to be fitted with side guards.

But Carter said trucks that are not contracted by the city aren’t required to have the guards, and the city doesn’t have authority to expand the requirement to other trucks.

“That’s where we look to your leadership,” Carter told the panel. “We look to your leadership in recognizing a simple fix that can greatly improve the streets across the Commonwealth for the people of Massachusetts, and set an example for the rest of the country.”

Members of the Boston Cyclists Union and Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition also spoke in favor of the bills.

“We can potentially prevent these incidents from happening,” said Barbara Jacobson, program director at the coalition, “rather than dealing with the after-effects of tragedy.”

The committee also heard testimony about several other bills designed to keep vulnerable road users safe.

One, also filed by Brownsberger, would make it illegal for a motorist to double-park or to idle in lanes designated specifically for cyclists. A violation of the law would lead to a fine of $100.

Another bill would require at least 3 feet of space between cars passing bicyclists or joggers, and even more distance if the car is traveling faster than 30 miles per hour.

Meghan McGrath, an emergency medical doctor who works at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, said her husband was riding in a bike lane last year when he was cut off by a car, causing him to fall off of the bicycle, split his helmet open, and break his hand.

“I feel strongly that we need better rules to protect vulnerable road users,” McGrath said. “Riding a bike or jogging should not mean taking your life in your hands.”

Brianna Arnold, a political science major at Stonehill College whose uncle was killed last week while riding his bicycle in Worcester, agreed.

Tears welling in her eyes, Arnold recalled her uncle’s love for biking.

“The family feels hopeless after such an accident happens,” she said. “Maybe the people . . . listening could hear what happened, and hopefully choose to make those changes that would save someone else’s life.”

Steve Annear can be reached
at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.

Link to Article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/01/06/bike-advocates-headed-state-house-for-safety-hearing/eqaZPieLFQ4xnpKTWiJkqK/story.html