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


Contact: Beth Weaver,, 301.814.4088 –

WASHINGTON, DC (October 31, 2017) Today, truck safety victims and survivors attended the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation nomination hearing of Raymond Martinez for the position of Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They are here to call attention to the seven-year increase in truck crash fatalities and the need for the agency to finalize key rulemakings that it has delayed or withdrawn since January 2017.

With 4,317 truck fatalities on from truck crashes on our nation’s highways last year, the Truck Safety Coalition and their volunteers are here to remind lawmakers and get a commitment from the nominee for FMCSA Administrator to prioritize truck safety mandates that will reduce crashes and make truck crashes less deadly.

“I swam more than the length of a football field after a truck slammed into the back of my car and sent it plunging nearly three stories into the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, too many people are not as fortunate as I was to survive a crash resulting from a truck driver failing to stop in time before rear-ending another vehicle,” noted Morgan Lake, of Bowie, Maryland. “In order to reduce these types of crashes, the FMCSA should enhance the entry-level driver training rule to require a minimum number of hours behind the wheel so that truck drivers have actual driving experience in different conditions, including work zones, where trucks were involved in 27 percent of fatal crashes in 2016.”

Dawn King, President of the Truck Safety Coalition, flew in from Davisburg, Michigan to bring attention to the FMCSA’s lack of action: “After my father was killed by a truck driver who fell asleep behind the wheel, I began advocating for commonsense legislation and regulations that would prevent truck driver fatigue. Considering that one study estimates that up to half of commercial motor vehicles have sleep apnea, and that undiagnosed sleep apnea can result in truck drivers falling asleep while operating big rigs, it is unreasonable for the agency to have withdrawn this rulemaking. If confirmed, I want to know what the Administrator plans to do to address truck driver fatigue.”

“The crash that killed my wife Susan and injured my boys did not need to happen,” said Ed Slattery, a board member of Parents Against Tired Truckers. “A driver operating a triple tractor-trailer fell asleep, but sadly the involvement of a tired trucker is not unique to my family’s crash. In order to eradicate drowsy driving as a factor, the FMCSA must fully enforce the Electronic Logging Device mandate, which is set to take effect in December 2017, while also finalizing the heavy vehicle speed limiter rule, which has languished since 2011. Using these technologies in concert will prevent bad actors from engaging in dangerous driving behaviors, like speeding or driving in excess of their hours of service, to make a delivery. We cannot allow crashes to become accepted as a cost of doing business, but the sad reality remains that truck crashes have increased by 45 percent since 2009.”

The Truck Safety Coalition 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 the public policy-makers and media about truck safety issues.”






Truck Crash Fatalities Up 28 Percent Since 2009

As the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation holds a hearing on the nomination of Raymond Martinez to Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck crash survivors and families call on the nominee to finalize outstanding safety rules and improve commercial motor vehicle enforcement in the face of a seven-year increase in truck crash fatalities.

In 2016, there were 4,317 truck crash fatalities, an increase of 28 percent since 2009. Truck crash injuries also increased by 57 percent from 2009 to 2015.  Overall, truck crashes increased by 45 percent from 2009 to 2015, totaling 415,000 in 2015.

WHAT: Truck crash victims and families demand FMCSA take urgent action on key safety rulemakings that it has delayed or withdrawn that mandate measures to prevent crashes, reduce injuries, and save lives:

  • Release a Final Rule Requiring Speed Limiters on All Trucks: FMCSA and NHTSA granted petition for rulemaking in 2011, but the agencies have since delayed it more than 20 times. The current administration identified the Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiter Rule as a long-term action item in its Unified Agenda, meaning the agencies need a minimum of 12-months to proceed.
  • Require Sleep Apnea Screening for All Truck Drivers: The FMCSA abandoned its pursuit of a rulemaking to require screening and treatment for commercial motor vehicle drivers suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. FMCSA’s withdrawal of this important safety rulemaking ignores the advice of medical experts, fellow federal regulators and the agency’s own advisory committees.
  • Enforce Electronic Logging Device Mandate: The ELD final rule is set to take effect in December of this year, and the FMCSA must ensure that motor carriers are compliant with this life saving mandate.
  • Mandate Minimum Number of Hours of Behind-the-Wheel Entry Level Driver Training: The FMCSA blunted the safety potential of the entry-level driver-training rule by removing the requirement for a minimum number of hours for behind-the-wheel training from the final rule.
  • Increase Minimum Levels of Insurances Required by Trucks: In June 2017, the FMCSA withdrew an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to increase the minimum level of financial responsibility for trucks per incident. The $750,000 amount was set in 1980 and has not been increased, not even to account for inflation.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 31, 2017, 10 a.m. (Family Members Available For Interviews Before and After Hearing)

WHERE: Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253

WHO: Morgan Lake (Bowie, MD) On July 19, 2013, Morgan’s car was hit from behind by a distracted truck driver while slowed to a near stop for traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, traveling at approximately 50 mph.

Ed Slattery (Lutherville, MD) Board Member, PATT. Ed’s wife Susan Slattery was killed and his sons Matthew and Peter Slattery were critically injured in a truck crash 8/16/10 after a truck driver, operating a triple tractor-trailer, fell asleep behind the wheel.

Dawn King (Davisburg, MI) President, Truck Safety Coalition. Dawn’s father, Bill Badger, was killed on December 23, 2004, just over the Georgia state border, by a tired trucker who fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into his car.

Available for Phone Interviews:

Kate Brown, Gurnee, IL | Minimum Insurance:  On May 2, 2005, in Round Lake, Illinois, Kate’s 27-year-old son Graham was hit by a drunk, drugged and fatigued truck driver who had fallen asleep, swerved into the oncoming lane, and hit Graham’s car sending it airborne into a field where it rolled over.  The driver stepped out of his rig and was witnessed saying he had been “partying all night.”  The driver’s blood and urine were taken, but the blood work was never tested although a crack pipe was found in his truck and cocaine and alcohol in his urine. The bloodwork mishandling enabled the driver to receive a lesser sentence. Due to life-threatening injuries, Graham underwent 22 different surgeries and endured three years of physical and occupational therapy. He is now permanently, partially disabled.

Steve Owings, Atlanta, GA (Co-Founder of Road Safe America) | Speed Limiters: Steve’s son Cullum was killed by a tractor-trailer on December 1, 2002, in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Cullum and his younger brother Pierce were on their way back to Washington and Lee University after spending Thanksgiving at home. They were stopped in traffic when a speeding tractor-trailer came up behind them. Cullum tried to swerve his car into the median, but the truck barreled into the driver’s side of his car, pinning Cullum and Pierce’s car against an embankment in the median. Pierce, survived with minor injuries while Cullum died before he could be retrieved from the car.

Wanda Lindsay, New Braunfels, TX (Founder of the John Lindsay Foundation) | Sleep Apnea Screening: Wanda and her husband John were on their way to Kentucky to visit family on May 7, 2010, when they stopped for traffic on I-30 as they were coming into Texarkana, Texas. They were the last car stopped in a two mile-long, very visible line of traffic, in a well-marked construction zone when a Celadon tractor-trailer slammed into the rear of their car. The truck was traveling 65 mph with the cruise control engaged when it hit John and Wanda. John died two days later on Mother’s Day, as a result of his extensive injuries. The Lindsay family later learned that two months prior to the collision the truck driver had been diagnosed with severe, uncontrolled sleep apnea, which results in chronic fatigue. Yet, he was still allowed to drive a truck even though he was not being treated and monitored for his condition.

Ron Wood, Washington, DC | Entry-Level Driver Training: On September 20, 2004, Ron’s mother Betsy Wood, sister Lisa Wood Martin and his sister’s three children, Chance, Brock and Reid Martin, were killed outside Sherman, Texas when a tractor trailer driver fell asleep behind the wheel and crossed a median into oncoming traffic on a busy North Texas highway. The driver collided with two vehicles, killing a total of ten people and injuring two more.  The truck driver eventually pleaded guilty to 10 counts of manslaughter in the 2004 crash. This crash prompted a Dallas Morning News investigative team to begin a fourteen month-long exploration that revealed unqualified drivers, dangerous working conditions, lack of safety inspections, and very little oversight.

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


Statement of the Truck Safety Coalition on 2016 Increase in Truck Crash Fatalities

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) release of the 2016 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview revealed that in 2016, there were 4,317 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks – a 5.5 percent increase from 2015 and a 28 percent increase since 2009. Unfortunately, this increase in deaths is not surprising given the troubling safety trends that the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) has been highlighting since 2009.

Since 2009, TSC has been informing Congress of the worsening trends in truck safety as well as of the various commonsense solutions that they could implement to prevent truck crashes and reduce the resulting injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, legislators lack a sense of urgency and regulators continue to delay data-driven technologies, like automatic emergency braking and heavy vehicle speed limiters. Those technologies have been implemented, with great results, throughout the world, but continue to stall here in the United States.

Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation has delayed or completely withdrawn other critical safety rules that would protect the public as well as the occupants of trucks. A rule requiring truck drivers to be screened for sleep apnea was scrapped. A rule requiring the minimum insurance for large trucks per incident be increased was withdrawn, even though it has not been raised once since the 1980s. And two rules requiring improvements to underride protections on trucks and trailers were delayed by at least a year.

Instead of passing bills stuffed with exemptions, delays, and regulatory rollbacks to appease special interests, like a weight exemption for North Dakota and a non-divisible exemption for milk, Congress must act now to stop preventable truck crash deaths and injuries on our nation’s highways. They can start by asking Secretary Chao why truck safety is trending in the wrong direction and how the actions the DOT has taken since January will reverse those trends.

Rolling back regulations that would ensure truck drivers are awake and alert, motor carriers are adequately insured, and trucks are crash compatible with cars to prevent underride, will do nothing to reduce the number truck crashes, prevent injuries, or save lives. The only thing DOT’s actions accomplish is protecting the bottom lines of some special interests and placating a small, loud group of unsafe truck drivers that see all regulation as bad.

If lawmakers and policymakers are serious about reducing the number deaths and injuries resulting from large truck crashes, they seriously need to readjust their strategy. This increase would not be tolerated if the mode of transportation were different. People would not fly if 83 people died on flights each week or if the number of fatalities went up by 28 percent since 2009.