Sorrow to Strength 2015 Press Page

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

Sorrow to Strength 2015 Press Page

Issue Summaries

Fact Sheets

Infographics

Statements and Letters

Media Coverage

View the Sorrow to Strength Conference Page here.

A Foolish Attempt to Weaken Truck Safety

From the New York Times:

The trucking industry is again pushing Congress to allow bigger and heavier trucks with overworked drivers behind the wheel onto the country’s roads.

Republican lawmakers have attached a long industry wish list to an appropriations bill that will be voted on by the House in the coming weeks. It includes provisions that would allow trucks to carry longer trailers across the country, make it harder for the Department of Transportation to require drivers get more rest before they hit the road and forbid the department from raising the minimum insurance it requires trucks and buses to carry. The insurance levels have been in effect since 1985.

Trucking companies seem to have been emboldened by their success last year in getting Congress to temporarily suspend parts of a Transportation Department regulation meant to give truck drivers at least 34 hours of rest. That rule was meant to ensure that truck drivers got at least two consecutive nights of rest after working 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight days. The industry had complained — wrongly in our view — that the rule, which went into effect in July 2013, “exacerbates congestion” and could make highways less safe by forcing more truck drivers onto the roads during morning rush hours.

Read the full article here.

Safety Advocates Call on U.S. DOT to Issue Rule Requiring Crash Avoidance Technology for Large Trucks

For Immediate Release: Contact: Beth Weaver (301) 814-4088 February 18,, 2015 beth_weaver@verizon.net Safety Advocates Call on U.S. DOT to Issue Rule Requiring Crash Avoidance Technology for Large Trucks As Deaths and Injuries from Truck Crashes Continue to Rise, Federal Regulators Must Require Lifesaving Technology in All New Large Trucks WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety and Road Safe America, filed a petition today with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requesting that the agency initiate rulemaking to require forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking (F-CAM) systems on all new large trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more.

F-CAM technology uses radar and sensors to first alert the driver and then to apply the brakes when a crash is imminent. F-CAM systems employ a Forward Collision Warning (FCW) to alert a driver when his/her vehicle gets too close to another vehicle that is stopped or traveling more slowly in front of his/her vehicle, giving the driver a chance to brake. When the system determines that a crash is about to occur, a Collision Mitigation Braking (CMB) system automatically applies the brakes to avoid the crash or reduce its severity. NHTSA estimates that current generation F-CAM systems can prevent over 2,500 crashes each year and future generation systems could prevent over 6,300 crashes annually. However, the agency has not yet decided to move ahead to require this basic crash avoidance technology.

“The safety technology is available to reduce the carnage on America’s roads resulting from rear-end crashes by large trucks,” said Henry Jasny, Senior Vice President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “The NHTSA can take action to improve safety and reduce preventable losses by requiring F-CAM technology on all large commercial motor vehicles.”

Truck crashes are a serious public safety threat. Every year on average, over 4,000 people are killed and nearly 100,000 are injured in crashes involving large trucks. Since 2009, the number of fatalities resulting from collisions involving large trucks has risen 16 percent and injuries have increased by 40 percent. The annual cost to society from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles is estimated to be over $99 billion. According to NHTSA data, from 2003-2008, there were 32,000 crashes involving a truck striking the rear of a vehicle resulting in at least 300 fatalities and injuring over 15,000 people annually. However, since 1,600 large trucks are involved in fatal crashes in which the front end of the truck is the initial point of impact, the annual death toll in this crash mode may be far higher than 300 deaths each year. These crashes are precisely the type of collisions that F-CAM technology can prevent.

John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition commented, “In work zone areas and when traffic is significantly slowed or at a complete stop, cars are particularly vulnerable to being rear ended by large trucks. Trucks are overrepresented in fatal highway crashes, and they are even more so in fatal work zone crashes. This is why it is imperative that F-CAM technology is required safety equipment in large trucks.”

With total tonnage of truck freight shipments predicted to increase by as much as 63 percent by 2040, the need for F-CAM technology has never been greater. While nearly every truck manufacturer currently offers some type of F-CAM system on new vehicles, there is no national standard for F-CAM system performance and not all buyers purchase this safety option. Thus, few trucks are actually equipped with the technology despite its availability. Only 3 percent of the more than 3 million standard tractor-trailers (class 8) on the road today are equipped with some form of this technology.

Steve Owings, Road Safe America Co-Founder and immediate past Chairman of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, lost his son, Cullum, when the car Cullum was driving was barreled into from behind, in stopped traffic, by a tractor-trailer. That big-rig’s driver was speeding 8 mph over the posted speed limit using cruise control and didn’t touch his brakes until his truck was within 100 feet of the stopped traffic. “There is little doubt that Cullum would still be alive today if only that truck had F-CAM technology,” Owings said.

Judith Williams, of Merrillville, Indiana, whose daughters, Lindsey and Yvette Williams, grandchildren, Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, and brother, Amado Mangual, were all killed in a truck crash last year in Jasper County, Indiana, stated, “I was devastated after I learned technology already exists that could have prevented my family’s crash.” The crash that killed Judith’s family occurred when a truck rear-ended their SUV in slowed traffic approaching a work zone area. Judith continued, “I know nothing I do will bring back my loved ones, but I will work to ensure that no one else has to go through the tremendous loss and heartache my family and I must cope with for the rest of our lives.”

Federal regulatory action has previously expedited the installation of critical vehicle safety advances, such as airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems, by requiring these safety systems as standard equipment rather than as expensive options. Federal regulation remains the best and swiftest means to ensure the latest safety advances reach the majority of the traveling public.

Jane Mathis, lost her son David and David’s bride of five days, Mary Kathryn, when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel and rear ended their car which was stopped in traffic. Mathis, a board member of Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) and a member of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) stated, “David and Mary Kathryn might be alive today if F-CAM had been in use at the time of their crash. Every moment that NHTSA neglects to issue a rule, they miss an opportunity to keep a family whole.”

“Many hundreds of lives could be saved each year if trucks are equipped with automatic braking systems,” said Clarence Ditlow, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety. “The NHTSA should move quickly to require this safety technology on all trucks.”

Read the petition here:

Petition for Rule Making (PDF)

Petition Crash List (PDF)

Press Release (PDF)

While large trucking companies lobby for bigger semitrailers, National Troopers Coalition chairman points to poll showing three of four Americans oppose increases

Minneapolis, Minn.—While major trucking companies lobby Congress to allow longer and heavier semitrailers, a just-released poll found that three of four Americans oppose longer and heavier semitrailer trucks on the highway.

“Speaking on behalf of the over 45,000 members of the National Troopers Coalition, I can tell you that law enforcement officers have known for quite some time that bigger trucks threaten highway safety, and this poll shows that the public knows it, too,” said National Troopers Coalition Chairman Mat Hodapp, a Minnesota state trooper.

The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, a nonprofit advocacy group that opposes truck size and weight increases, commissioned the live-operator survey of 1,000 nationwide respondents. The poll was conducted January 5-8, 2015, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

View the full PDF here

TRUCK CRASH VICTIMS RESPOND TO ATA AND WERNER ENTERPRISES ALLEGATIONS

In response to recent misleading allegations made by Werner Enterprises and the American Trucking Associations at a Senate hearing, truck safety victims today sent the attached letter to the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC) who suffered the loss of her father in a truck crash said “It is not only disingenuous, but truly insulting to families like mine who have lost a loved one in a truck crash for the trucking industry to boast about declining rates of truck fatalities. According to NHTSA data, this is the fourth year in a row that truck crash fatalities have actually increased, not decreased—we need to set the record straight.”

Jane Mathis (St. Augustine, FL) who lost her son and daughter in law in a 2004 truck crash, said “The misguided agenda by the ATA and Werner Enterprises of pushing bigger, longer trucks driven by tired truckers will continue to result in more, not less deaths and injuries on our nation’s highways.”

———————————————————————————–

February 6, 2015
The Honorable John Thune, Chairman
The Honorable Bill Nelson, Ranking Member
Committee on Commerce, Science and
Transportation

The Honorable Deb Fischer, Chairman
Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and
Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson and Chairman Fischer:

As families who have lost loved ones in truck crashes, we are writing this letter to set the record straight about the current status of truck safety and to respond to the cynical and callous allegations made by Werner Enterprises at the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security hearing on January 29, 2015, “Improving the Performance of our Transportation Networks: Stakeholder Perspectives,” and echoed by leaders of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). We respectfully request that our letter be included in the Senate hearing record.

The testimony of Werner Enterprises and recent statements by the ATA claim that truck safety is “improving” because of a meager 1.6% decline in the truck fatality rate in 2013 disregards the growing carnage on our roads and highways caused by big trucks. Unfortunately, a more important statistic measuring truck safety is the actual number of people needlessly killed in truck crashes in 2013. Recent fatality data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) shows that 3,964 people died in big truck crashes in 2013. The reality is that there was no improvement in 2013 because the death toll was higher than in 2012.

Since 2009 truck crash deaths have been steadily climbing while overall motor vehicle crash fatalities have been steadily declining, with the exception of 2012. In fact, from 2009 to 2013 there has been a significant 17% increase in truck crash deaths, or 584 more fatalities. Truck crash deaths on our nation’s highways are equivalent to a major airplane crash every week of the year. The trucking industry’s “high-fiving” because more people are being killed albeit at a slower “rate” should undermine their credibility on this issue and their relentless push in Congress for bigger, longer and more deadly trucks.

Members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee would challenge and reject any assertion by a hearing witness who suggested that even though there were more airplane crashes and more deaths that aviation safety was actually improving because more people, more planes and more air miles were being traveled resulting in a “lower death rate”.

We can assure you that the families and friends who buried 18,755 loved ones killed in preventable truck crashes between 2009 and 2013 do not believe that our highways are safer today because there are more trucks on the roads traveling more miles. And, neither should anyone else.

The trucking industry’s agenda of relentlessly pushing bigger, longer, overweight trucks being driven by overtired truck drivers ignores the current dismal status of truck safety and will result in even more deaths and injuries on our roads. It is unacceptable to us that the growing truck crash death toll is being masked by a statistic that measures miles and vehicles while downplaying the catastrophic loss of nearly 4,000 lives annually and ignoring the profound heartache of our families.

Sincerely,

Daphne Izer
Lisbon, ME
Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT)
Mother of Jeff Izer
Killed in a truck crash 10/10/93

Jennifer Tierney
Kernersville, NC
Board Member, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH)
Member, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC)
Daughter of James Mooney
Killed in a truck crash 9/20/83

Dawn King
Davisburg, MI
Board Member, CRASH
Daughter of Bill Badger
Killed in a truck crash 12/23/04

Larry Liberatore
Severn, MD
Board Member, PATT
Father of Nick Liberatore
Killed in a truck crash 6/9/97

Linda Wilburn
Weatherford, OK
Board Member, PATT
Mother of Orbie Wilburn
Killed in a truck crash 9/2/02

Frank & Marchelle Wood
Falls Church, VA
Volunteers, Truck Safety Coalition
Parents of Dana Wood
Killed in a truck crash 10/15/02

Jane Mathis
St. Augustine, FL
Board Member, PATT
Member, MCSAC
Mother of David Mathis, Mother-in-Law of Mary Kathryn Mathis
Killed in a truck crash 3/25/04

Tami Friedrich Trakh
Corona, CA
Board Member, CRASH
Member, MCSAC
Sister of Kris Mercurio, Sister-in-Law of Alan Mercurio, Aunt of Brandie Rooker
& Anthony Mercurio
Killed in a truck crash 12/27/89

Marianne & Jerry Karth
Rocky Mount, NC
Volunteers, Truck Safety Coalition
Parents of AnnaLeah & Mary Karth
Killed in a truck crash 5/4/13

Michelle Novak
Franklinville, NY
Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition
Aunt of Charles “Chuck” Novak
Killed in a truck crash 10/24/10

Ron Wood
Washington, D.C.
Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition
Son of Betsy Wood, Brother of Lisa Wood
Martin, Uncle of Chance, Brock, & Reid Martin
Killed in a truck crash 9/20/04

cc: Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

Truck Crash Victims and Labor and Safety Groups Urge Congress to Put Public Safety Before Industry Profit

Eliminating Truck Drivers’ Weekend Off Will Result in Death, Devastation and Danger on our Roads

 WASHINGTON, DC (Monday, December 8, 2014) – Today, families of truck crash victims and labor and safety groups joined U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to stop a special interest anti-safety provision being considered in the omnibus spending bill.  This provision being pushed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) would be a major change to federal truck safety regulations and dramatically increase the number of working and driving hours for truck drivers as well as repeal their two-day weekend off.

 Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), said, “Christmas is still a few weeks away but Senator Collins already is working to wrap up and deliver an expensive gift for her trucking industry allies.  She is trying to quietly slip language into the omnibus spending bill that will put trucking industry profits ahead of public safety.  Her proposal will allow trucking industry executives to force truck drivers to get behind the wheel and work for more than 80 hours a week, double the 40-hour work week of most Americans.  Unfortunately, this gift to industry will be paid for by the families across the country and tired truckers who will be put at unreasonable and unacceptable risk of death and injury on our highways.”

 Teamsters Director of Federal Legislation and Regulation, Fred P. McLuckie, said,  “As our General President Jim Hoffa aptly stated last week, Senator Collins should not be trying to use the Omnibus as a testing ground for policies that denigrate highway safety and put all the traveling public at greater risk.”

 A recent survey conducted by Lake Research Partners shows that the public understands this industry-wide problem of fatigue and the dangers it poses to motorists. This survey found overwhelming public opposition (80%) to Congress raising the number of hours a semi-truck driver is allowed to work in a week. The American public convincingly rejects increasing work and driving hours for truck drivers no matter the political affiliation, age, sex or geographic location of the respondent.

 Jacqueline Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated, “The Collins proposal to gut a key truck safety rule has not been the subject of a single House or Senate congressional hearing, undergone any comprehensive safety review or analysis by experts, or been part of an open rulemaking process for the public to provide their views and concerns.  In sharp contrast, the deal-making is happening behind closed doors as Congress rushes to finish up legislative business.  Let’s be clear.  The American public opposes it as well as truck crash victims, safety and labor groups, law enforcement and the Secretary of Transportation doesn’t want it. We urge Congress to stop this assault on safety.”

 Daphne Izer, of Maine and a founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) stated, “It’s outrageous that the Senator from my home state would try to attach this language to a must-pass spending bill. I’m also personally offended by Senator Collins’s attack on Secretary Foxx for sending a letter to Congress urging retention of the evidence and research-based current rule. Secretary Foxx’s objections are consistent with the DOT’s mission to reduce fatalities and injuries and protect the driving public.”  Izer’s 17-year-old son Jeff and three of his friends were killed on October 10, 1993, when a Walmart truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

 Ron Wood, whose mother Betsy, sister Lisa and her three children, Chance (age 4), Brock (age 2) and Reid (6 weeks old), were killed near Sherman, Texas when a tractor trailer driver fell asleep behind the wheel and crossed a median into oncoming traffic, said, “I urge our Members of Congress to support their constituents, and prevent the dangerous Collins Amendment from progressing any further. A fatigue-related truck crash happens in a second. Grief and loss last a lifetime.”

Download/Print PDF

CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088
beth_weaver@verizon.net or
Cathy Chase, 571-243-7282
cchase@saferoads.org

The AnnaLeah & Mary Karth Petition: STAND UP FOR TRUCK SAFETY

Each year 4,000 people are killed and another 100,000 people are injured in truck crashes. This is an unacceptably high number of losses and injuries, but most people don’t know about these numbers or the safety equipment that can protect people on the roads until they or someone they know has their lives forever altered in a crash involving a semi truck.

Karth Crash
Karth Crash Photo

We found out the hard way all about how important truck safety is when AnnaLeah (age 17) and Mary (age 13) were killed in an accident involving two semi trucks on May 4, 2013. In a meeting on September 12th, 2013, with the Truck Safety Coalition and Secretary of Transportation Foxx to discuss truck safety issues, Foxx stated, “I can promise you tangible progress in a short period of time.” As a member of the Cabinet, Foxx has executive authority to make these changes.

Sign the Petition

Click Here to Sign the AnnaLeah & Mary Karth Petition: STAND UP FOR TRUCK SAFETY.

At this time, we are initiating an online petition to request Foxx to fulfill his promise and to do everything he can to protect our families on the road and prevent more senseless tragedies by ensuring that the following truck safety improvements are made:

We are specifically asking Foxx to:

  1. Raise minimum levels of insurance required for truck drivers–which has not been done for over 30 years.
  2. Decrease driver fatigue and monitor their hours on the road with Electronic Logging Devices.
  3. Take needed steps to improve underride guards, which prevent vehicles from sliding under trucks–causing horrific injuries and tragic deaths.

We will print each signed petition and put them in separate envelopes. Then, on May 5, 2014, we will take these envelopes to Washington, D.C. and meet with DOT to remember AnnaLeah & Mary and to promote truck safety.

A Mom’s Story: Why we are asking for change

What You Can Do To Help

1. Sign the petition and share our story & petition with others, http://bit.ly/1gN3jQf :

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Google+
  • Blogs which you write
  • Any other conversations which you engage in…

2. Organize efforts to get signatures from members of a group to which you belong.

  • Advertise The AnnaLeah & Mary Petition: STAND UP FOR TRUCK SAFETY to your group.
  • Encourage group members (and everyone else you know) to sign the online petition by providing them with this link: http://bit.ly/1gN3jQf .
  • To print out a petition, go to http://annaleahmary.com/petition.pdf
  • Arrange a time to have the printed petitions available for group members to sign—making sure that they include their contact information as indicated on the form.

NOTE: Be sure that they only sign ONE petition: either the online OR printed version—NOT both. Mail the signed petitions to us—POSTMARKED NO LATER than April 21, 2014:
Jerry & Marianne Karth

2800 Ridgecrest Drive

Rocky Mount, NC 27803

3. Find out more about Our Story and about Truck Safety Issues:

  • We have set up a website in memory of AnnaLeah & Mary and for the promotion of truck safety advocacy: http://annaleahmary.com
  • After our accident, we were contacted by volunteers from the Truck Safety Coalition–other people who had lost loved ones in truck crashes–and provided with helpful information and support in the wake of our tragedy.The Truck Safety Coalition is a partnership between The Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T). The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) 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.For more information on truck safety issues and to sign up for newsletters and updates, please visit the rest of the Truck Safety Coalition’s website.

Please pray for this effort to be fruitful and make a difference for those who travel on the roads of our country.

Thank you,

Jerry & Marianne

New Truck Driver Hours of Service Rule Issued – Dangerous 11 Hour Limit Retained

New Truck Driver Hours of Service Rule Issued – Dangerous 11 Hour Limit Retained – click to view press release

Update: Commerce Committee passes Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act

Great Safety News!
Yesterday, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act as part of the transportation authorization bill.   Thanks to your efforts, we have won a significant safety victory.
The bill includes:
  • A mandate to for electronic onboard recorders on all trucks and buses.
  • Requirement for the DOT to study and adjust the minimum insurance level for commercial carriers.
  • Increased financial penalties for carriers that create an imminent hazard to public health
  • Improved new carrier entry registration by requiring a safety proficiency examination and safety management plan as a precondition for operating authority.
  • Strengthens FMCSA’s tools to crack down on “reincarnated carriers”.
  • Support FMCSA’s implementation of its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program and give it the authority to assess the health/safety fitness of drivers.
We thank Senators Lautenberg, Rockefeller, and Pryor for their leadership on truck and highway safety.  If you would also like to thank the Senators for their leadership and commitment to truck safety, please send us an email note at info@trucksafety.org and we will be glad to pass them on to their Transportation Legislative Assistants.
Of course our work is not done yet – the bill still needs to get passed by the full Senate and then the House.  Please continue to stay in touch with your Members of Congress during winter recess and express your support for these safety provisions in S.1950.

Kraft Pushes for 97,000-Pound Trucks Called Bridge Wreckers

Kraft Pushes for 97,000-Pound Trucks Called Bridge Wreckers

By Jeff Plungis – Dec 12, 2011

Emboldened by U.S. legislation allowing Maine and Vermont to keep 97,000-pound trucks rumbling on their interstate highways, Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) and Home Depot Inc. are pressing more states to follow.

Companies including Kraft, which says its trucks would drive 33 million fewer miles a year with higher weight limits nationwide, say they need to carry loads more efficiently to combat high diesel-fuel prices. Safety advocates say more heavy trucks would accelerate an increase in truck-related accident deaths, and question whether bridges can withstand the added weight.

“You’re starting to roll the dice,” said Andrew Herrmann, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “Do you really want to keep these heavy loads, have a lower factor of safety and start wearing these bridges out faster?”

Trucks can weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds on interstate highways under U.S. law. Maine and Vermont are exceptions under a pilot program that Congress last month extended for 20 years.

The proposed Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, sponsored by Representative Michael Michaud, a Maine Democrat, would allow every state to decide how extensively 97,000-pound trucks can travel based on economic need and the condition of its roads and bridges.

The bill may be rolled into a multiyear highway policy bill Congress will work on next year, said John Runyan, executive director of the Washington-based Coalition for Transportation Productivity. The group had 120 company members, including Kraft, MillerCoors LLC, International Paper Co., Hershey Co., Owens Corning Inc. (GLW) and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., as of Dec. 2. Seventy trade associations also backed the effort.

Home Depot

States are already allowed to set higher weight limits for secondary roads and 44 do, according to Runyan’s group. Twenty- eight states also allow a limited number of heavier trucks on interstates by permit, for certain vital commodities or for shipping containers loaded from ports, Runyan said.

Lindsay Chason, senior manager for environmental innovation for Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc. (HD), told Georgia’s transportation board Oct. 19 that 97,000-pound trucks were needed to keep up with a tripling of congestion since 1982 and diesel-price increases.

The average U.S. retail price for diesel fuel was $3.93 per gallon as of Dec. 5, according to the U.S. Energy Department, up 18 percent from the beginning of the year.

Wisconsin Loosening

Wisconsin last month passed a package of nine bills intended to loosen various truck size and weight limits. Governor Scott Walker,a Republican, said the new laws would create jobs.

Companies are trying to win higher weight limits rather than the ability to operate longer trucks, like triple trailers, Runyan said. Adding a sixth axle to 97,000-pound trucks on the interstates, as required by Michaud’s bill, would reduce road wear and improve braking, he said.

“When you’re filling a truck with a product and it’s 80 percent filled, you’re running around with a lot of trucks with extra space,” he said.

Bridge Stress

Companies can partially offset the heftier trucks’ added road wear by keeping the size of the trailer the same and spreading the weight over an additional axle, said Herrmann, head of the engineering group. The extra axle doesn’t offset the stress on interstate bridges, which were designed for 80,000- pound trucks, he said.

Herrmann’s group estimates that 25 percent of U.S. bridges need weight limits or restrict traffic because they’re not strong enough. The U.S. is spending about $10.5 billion a year to maintain bridges, and $17 billion is needed to keep up with the ongoing damage, he said.

“Those bridges already need work,” Herrmann said. “Now we’re saying let’s go back and reinforce all the bridges that need it, when we don’t have enough money to maintain the structures that we have.”

Kraft, the maker of Cheez Whiz and Oreo cookies, would make 66,000 fewer truck trips if the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act were passed, said Harry Haney, associate director of transportation planning with the Northfield, Illinois-based company. Heavier trucks in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio would help the company most, he said.

Kraft trucks would drive 33 million fewer miles a year and put 2.1 billion fewer pounds on roads with higher U.S. weight limits, Haney said. The biggest savings would be in shipments of products like Miracle Whip salad dressing, Oscar Meyer meat and Capri Sun juices, he said.

“We need to find ways to use our existing infrastructure more efficiently,” Haney said. “Members of Congress increasingly agree.”

Logging Trucks

Congress last month extended a one-year pilot program to allow 100,000-pound trucks on interstates in Maine and Vermont for 20 years, with support from Weyerhaeuser Co. and other forest-products companies.

Trucks are the only transportation mode that logging companies and paper producers can use to carry felled trees, wood chips and biomass from leaves and branches from forests, said Neil Ward, communications director of the Forest Resources Association in Rockville, Maryland.

Minnesota, Ohio

Minnesota, like Maine, is a border state where industry wants heavier trucks from Canada allowed on the interstates, Ward said. Ohio’s legislature is debating higher weight limits to accommodate agricultural products, depending on what Congress does, he said.

“In the cases where a state already has a state limit similar to what we’re proposing for the interstate highway, then it’s a quick and turnkey operation to get an opt-in” to the proposed House bill, Ward said.

In Minnesota, where a bridge on Interstate 35 collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people, the state transportation department supports allowing either 97,000- or 99,000-pound trucks with six axles on interstate highways, according to a March statement. Interstate bridges are equal to or better than those on state highways where heavy trucks already travel by permit, the agency said.

Safety Concerns

Maine and Vermont officials downplayed concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration about the ability of interstate bridges to stand up under 100,000-pound trucks, according to officials at The Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The three safety-advocacy groups obtained documents about the two states’ pilot program under the Freedom of Information Act.

“If one assumes that greater than a 10 percent ‘overstress’ is unacceptable, then these results show that every 100,000 lbs. truck is a problem,” a FHWA analysis concluded.

Justin Nisly, a spokesman for the highway administration, declined to comment, saying the agency’s analysis wasn’t final.

Extra fees proposed for overweight trucks won’t cover the costs of reinforcing or rebuilding bridges that weren’t designed for the higher weight, with car owners and taxpayers picking up the tab, said John Lannen, executive director of The Truck Safety Coalition, based in Arlington, Virginia.

‘Ripple Effect’

“The ripple effect will be catastrophic,” Lannen said of the pressure on other states to increase weight limits. “The entire country’s motoring public will be put in grave danger.”

Commercial truck-related fatalities, including people in cars struck by big rigs, rose 8.7 percent in 2010 to 3,675, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Dec. 8. The American Trucking Associations said the same day that 2010 was still among the safest years on record and the trucking fatality rate, adjusted for miles driven, has fallen over the past two decades.

In Pennsylvania, John Rafferty, the Republican chairman of the state’s Senate Transportation Committee, and John Wozniak, the panel’s senior Democrat, warned the state’s congressional delegation that Pennsylvania already needs $3.5 billion a year to upgrade and maintain roads and bridges. More than 5,000 bridges remain structurally deficient, they said in a Nov. 14 letter.

“We cannot afford larger trucks on our roads and bridges,” the senators said.

The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act is H.R. 763.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at jplungis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

After Tragic Crash, Maine Family Works to Make Roadways Safer

Jackman, ME:  The Mahaney Family lost their 5 year old son Liam, parents Christina and Gary were badly injured and their home was destroyed when a 100,000 + lb. logging truck crashed and dumped its logs onto their home.  The truck driver admitted that he had falled asleep behind the wheel.

This fall the Mahaneys were shocked to learn that the Somerset County District Attorney’s office would not press charges against  truck driver Christian Cloutier.  To read more click here.

The Mahaneys, seeking to prevent another family from suffering the needless loss and pain that their family is enduring, reached out to community and state leaders to make their roadways safer.  To view story click here:  http://www.wabi.tv/news/25910/5-months-after-tragedy-jackman-residents-trying-to-slow-log-trucks-down.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: FMCSA Administrator Ferro Contradicts Claims by Trucking Industry

-Truck Crash Fatalities Up to Nearly 4,000 in 2010 Demonstrating Need for Safer Truck Safety Rules

-TSC has joined with Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and other safety groups in sending a letter today to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Cass Sunstein disputing phony claims by the ATA and urging a new, safer HOS rule

URGENT ACTION NEEDED NOW TO PROTECT HOS PROPOSAL

Truck Safety Coalition

October 18, 2011

 

UPDATE:

Truck driver fatigue is a serious highway safety problem that threatens all of us.  Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (pronounced EYH-ott) is planning to offer an amendment this afternoon that would block implementation of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s rulemaking on truck driver Hours of Service (HOS).  The DOT’s proposed changes to the current HOS rule are commonsense and cost-effective and would improve safety for everyone. We are being told that Senator Ayotte plans to offer the amendment on the Senate Floor during debate on HR 2112, the “Minibus” Appropriations bill which will include Transportation allocations.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW:

Please call Senator Ayote’s Legislative Director Adam Hechavarria at 202-224-3324 or email him at Adam_Hechavarria@ayotte.senate.gov .

 

Please also call your Senators’ offices and urge them to oppose any amendment to stop the HOS Rulemaking.  www.senate.gov.  Click in the top right corner to get your Senators’ numbers.

 

This is a sample – if possible please make a couple of quick changes to personalize your message.

You can save this email, then copy and paste the following information into an email, then add your personal edits and send to Adam Hechavarria.

 

I am writing to urge Senator Ayotte not to offer an amendment stopping the Department of Transportation’s current rulemaking on truck driver hours of service.

 

Truck driver fatigue is a serious safety problem that threatens all of us every day, on every major road, in every state. Each year on average, 4,000 people are needlessly killed and 100,000 more are injured in truck crashes. The National Transportation Safety Board has warned of the dangers of truck driver fatigue because it is a major factor in these crashes.

 

During the current rule which allows 77 hours a week or more of driving and more working hours beyond that, 65% of drivers reported that they often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving and 48% said they had fallen asleep while driving in the previous year. These overly tired truckers are driving loads up to 80,000 lbs. or more at highway speeds alongside families in small passenger vehicles.

 

Not only have two unanimous court decisions overturned the rule, but the rule also contradicts the DOT’s own research which shows that the crash risk of truck drivers increases dramatically after 8 consecutive driving hours. Trucking interests are falsely claiming the current rule has resulted in a reduction in truck crashes. Yet, no study or data directly links the recent decline in deaths with the rule, and truck crash deaths actually increased during 2004 and 2005, the first 2 years of the current rule.

 

The proposed rule will save lives, improve driver health, reduce costs to society and provide an estimated 40,000 jobs. I ask that Senator Ayotte put the safety of motorists first and foremost.

 

For More Information, contact the Truck Safety Coalition, 703-294-6404

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Thanks,

John Lannen's Sgnature

John Lannen
Executive Director
Truck Safety Coalition
jlannen@trucksafety.org
703.294.6404

Maine Vermont FOIA Information Released

Please click the links below to view the PDF documents.

Maine Vermont FOIA Information Revealed (PDF)

Vermont Truck Interstate Pilot Study (PDF)

Commerce Effects VT State Review (PDF)

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT HOS PROPOSAL

October 7, 2011

 

UPDATE:

Truck driver fatigue is a serious highway safety problem that threatens all of us.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is trying to improve safety for everyone by proposing changes to the current rule on the number of driving and working hours of truck drivers (Hours of Service, or HOS, rule).  However, special interests have gone to Congress and the White House and are trying to stop this commonsense and cost-effective public health and safety rule.  The Office of Management and Budget in the White House will soon be reviewing the proposed new rule.  We need your help to put safety first and make sure the White House hears from supporters of the proposed safety changes.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW:

Please send an email to the White House http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

 

This is a sample – please make changes to personalize your message. Note there is a 2,500 character limit which is approximately 400 words.

 

I am writing to request immediate adoption of safety improvements to the current truck driver Hours of Service (HOS) rule proposed by Secretary LaHood. Truck driver fatigue is a serious safety problem that threatens all of us every day, on every major road, in every state. Each year on average, 4,000 people are needlessly killed and 100,000 more are injured in truck crashes. The National Transportation Safety Board has warned of the dangers of truck driver fatigue because it is a major factor in these crashes.

 

The current Hours of Service (HOS) rule which was proposed by the Bush Administration benefits industry interests at the expense of public safety. During the current rule which allows 77 hours a week or more of driving and more working hours beyond that, 65% of drivers reported that they often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving and 48% said they had fallen asleep while driving in the previous year. These overly tired truckers are driving loads up to 80,000 lbs. or more at highway speeds alongside families in small passenger vehicles. This is a deadly combination, and I urge you to change it and protect innocent motorists as well as truck drivers.

 

Not only have two unanimous court decisions overturned the rule, but the rule also contradicts the DOT’s own research which shows that the crash risk of truck drivers increases dramatically after 8 consecutive driving hours. Trucking interests are falsely claiming the current rule has resulted in a reduction in truck crashes. Yet, no study or data directly links the recent decline in deaths with the rule, and truck crash deaths actually increased during 2004 and 2005, the first 2 years of the current rule.

 

The proposed rule will save lives, improve driver health, reduce costs to society and provide an estimated 40,000 jobs. I ask that you move forward and adopt the proposed rule, putting the safety of motorists first and foremost.

For More Information, contact the Truck Safety Coalition, 703-294-6404

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Thanks,

John Lannen's Sgnature

John Lannen
Executive Director
Truck Safety Coalition
jlannen@trucksafety.org
703.294.6404

Bigger trucks spell big trouble on Maryland’s roads

AAA Mid-Atlantic says Congress should resist lobbying efforts, protect state’s drivers and roads by saying no to huge new vehicles

June 19, 2011|By Ragina C. Averella

In meetings with members of Congress and their staffs this month, I was very clear about my reason for being there: AAA Mid-Atlantic is strongly opposed, on behalf of its members and all motorists, to any increase in the size and weight of tractor-trailer trucks. The trucks we see every day on I-95 and the Baltimore Beltway are plenty big already.

I am supported in this position by a December 2010 Maryland public opinion poll, commissioned by AAA Mid-Atlantic. The poll showed 85 percent of Maryland drivers opposing any increase to the size or weight of tractor-trailer trucks, with 70 percent of respondents stating they are “strongly opposed” to any such move. Yet, Congress is being heavily lobbied to do just that. A measure to increase the maximum weight of these giant trucks — currently 80,000 pounds — by an additional 17,000 pounds (that’s 81/2 tons) is being considered for inclusion in the upcoming national surface transportation funding bill. Lobbyists are also urging Congress to lift a freeze on triple-trailer trucks — vehicles that move across traffic lanes in a snakelike motion and can stretch longer than 110 feet.

In our more than 100 years of advocating for safety on the roads, AAA has always pushed hard for measures that save lives and increase the well-being of all motorists. That means we do not believe commerce trumps safety. The truck size and weight increase is being pushed by lobbyists for large corporations, trucking companies and their supporters in Congress as a way for trucking companies to operate more profitably. At what cost, we ask? Is a more profitable business worth endangering the lives of millions of motorists?

Despite significant improvement in truck crash rates, large trucks on the road today have a fatal crash involvement rate 40 percent higher than that of passenger vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Increasing the weight or size of trucks will only make trucks more dangerous. In its 2000 Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) pointed out that heavier trucks tend to have a higher center of gravity because the additional weight is typically added vertically. This higher center of gravity increases the risk of rollovers and creates concern about the ability of truck operators to maintain their brakes with heavier loads. This could drastically affect the stopping distance of these trucks. The Department of Transportation also found that the risks of long-doubles and triple-trailer trucks increased the likelihood of trailer sway, as well as the possibility of a higher overall fatal crash rate than single-trailer trucks.

In addition to motorist safety, there are also concerns about the impact heavier trucks would have on our roads and bridges, which are already severely stressed. As it is, there is not enough money to repair or rebuild our transportation infrastructure. Maryland, for example, has more than 1,322 highway bridges classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, according to the Department of Transportation’s 2010 National Bridge Inventory. That’s an important part of the equation, because Congress is considering pushing our roads and bridges past their breaking point with these big-truck measures. We cannot, in good conscience, allow that to happen without a fight. At minimum, Congress should comprehensively study the impact of such a move before even considering passing such laws. Decisions on increasing truck weights by 81/2 tons or allowing huge triple trailer trucks will impact the safety of everyone.

I urge all Maryland motorists to make their voices heard on this issue. It is time to put a roadblock in front of the bigger-truck lobby — and public participation in the process is the best way to do that.

. Find out more about this issue at http://midatlantic.aaa.com/PGA/issuesactioncenter.

FMCSA Fines American Welding & Tank Company

 

FMCSA Fines American Welding & Tank Company Nearly $4 Million for Violating Federal Hazardous Materials Safety Standards

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced $3,876,000 in fines against American Welding & Tank, LLC (AWT) of Fremont, Ohio for violating federal hazardous materials safety standards.  The company was fined for manufacturing and selling unsafe nurse tanks – a type of cargo tank used to store and transport anhydrous ammonia, a hazardous material used in farming operations.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting motorists from accidents involving the transport of hazardous materials,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We are sending a strong message that companies will face serious consequences when they do not make safety a top priority.”

FMCSA conducted a thorough safety investigation of AWT’s Fremont manufacturing plant following reports of safety defects with recently manufactured nurse tanks. After investigating the company’s welding practices and safety records, FMCSA discovered a clear pattern of AWT failing to manufacture, maintain, repair and sell nurse tanks that meet federal hazardous materials safety standards.

“When cargo tank manufacturers are not living up to federal safety standards, we will take action,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Our agency is committed to using every resource available to keep our roads safe and save lives.”

For more information on federal safety regulations for cargo tank manufacturers, as well as truck and bus companies transporting hazardous materials, visit the agency’s website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Rep. McGovern Receives the Promoting Highway Safety Through Legislation Award

September 21, 2011

Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA) honored US Rep. James McGovern, D-MA, with its Promoting Highway Safety Through Legislation award for his work as a champion of safe highways. Westborough attorney Ted Bassett, Jr. of Mirick O’Connell, LLP presented the award on Sept. 16 during APITLA’s National Interstate Trucking Summit in St. Louis.

According to a press release issued by Mirick O’Connell, APITLA is a national association of attorneys who have joined forces to help eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices and reduce the number of serious trucking accidents throughout the United States.

“The recipient of the Promoting Highway Safety Through Legislation is an elected state or federal official who has demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting interstate trucking highway safety through legislation. As chairman of APITLA’s legislative committee, Bassett selected this year’s recipient,” the statement read.

“Congressman McGovern has led the charge against the trucking industry’s push to allow heavier and longer trucks onto our highways,” Bassett said. “The Congressman shares our concerns that increasing size and weight limits will lead to more accidents, since bigger trucks are harder to stop. APITLA applauds Rep. McGovern’s efforts to make America’s highways safer.”

In May, McGovern co-sponsored the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA), which will extend truck size and weight limits already in place on Interstate highways to the entire National Highway System. Specifically, SHIPA will extend truck weight limits to 80,000 pounds, cap the length of tractor-trailer trucks at 53 feet and freeze the operation of long double and triple trailer trucks on the National Highway System. SHIPA will not take any truck off the road that is currently operating.

“I am honored to receive this award, which recognizes the importance of making our highways a safer place for all of us — and the next generation,” McGovern said. “We do not need bigger trucks on our highways, we need safer ones. Longer and heavier trucks require more stopping distance, have larger blind spots and increase the risks of rollover and of trailers swaying into adjacent lanes. I look forward to working with APITLA members on many other highway safety initiatives in the years to come.”

http://westborough.patch.com/articles/mcgovern-recognized-with-truck-safety-award

Arizona freeway crash: truck loses control, kills 4

by Kelsey Pfeffer – Sept. 9, 2011 06:16 PM
The Arizona Republic – 12 News Breaking News Team

Authorities on Friday identified four people who were killed in a collision involving semis along Interstate 10 north of Tucson.

Three of the victims were from Pittsburgh, Texas, and were riding in a minivan that was struck by a semi Thursday. They were identified by the Arizona Department of Public Safety as driver Derrick Bryan Reynolds, 46, and passengers Wendy Reynolds, 42, and Joachim Reynolds, 20.

Sierra Transportation driver Rickey Duffey, 61, of Fayetteville, Ga., also was killed. DPS said he lost control of the rig, crossed a dirt median and slammed into the minivan.

Sierra Transportation employs 75 drivers and operates an average of 39 vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, adding that the company has a safety rating of “satisfactory.”

Those injured in the crash include semi driver Steve Murphy, 58, who was in critical condition and transferred to Maricopa Medical Center; Dennis Robinson, 56, the co-driver of the Sierra truck who was taken to the University Medical Center in Tucson; and Samuel Molina, 50, the driver of a two-door Honda sedan who also was taken to University Medical Center.

Washington state cannot afford bigger trucks on our stressed highways

Tommie Pillow
As Washington State Patrol troopers, my colleagues and I see first-hand the dangers and damage large trucks can cause on our state’ s roads.

Yet powerful corporations and large trucking companies are lobbying Congress to let tractor-trailer trucks grow even bigger — by allowing existing trucks to be eight tons heavier and by allowing double and triple-trailer trucks across the country.

This is a bad policy that would only benefit a few big companies, while coming with a heavy price tag that includes new highway dangers to average motorists and further damage to our roads and bridges.

In our state in 2005, there were 68 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks. Nationally, large trucks are involved in fatal accidents 40 percent more than the rate for passenger cars.

Here’ s the reality: Trucks are already dangerous. These new Washington, D.C., proposals would make them even more so.

The reasons are easy to understand: Bigger trucks mean more weight and energy in crashes; crashes become severe accidents; and severe accidents can become fatalities. Further, bigger trucks are more likely to roll over, because they will have a higher center of gravity, greatly increasing the risk of roll-overs on our roads.

Then there are issues with safety maintenance.

Larger trucks will take longer to stop. Increasing truck weight will lead to increased brake maintenance problems. In short, a bigger truck is more likely to wear out its important safety equipment sooner, including the brakes, suspension and tires. The equation is simple: Greater equipment wear means a greater risk of accidents.

The safety of motorists on Washington’ s roads and highways is obviously my primary concern and, respectfully, should be top of mind for our congressional representatives as they consider these bigger truck proposals.

‘ Structurally deficient’

Of course, apart from the safety considerations, we need to keep in mind the potential damage to the infrastructure we all share. Larger trucks will place a greater strain upon our already damaged bridges.

About 400 of our state’ s bridges are classified as “ structurally deficient” — meaning they need to be replaced or receive significant repairs. Almost three million vehicles travel over those bridges on a daily basis.

For an example of how a weakened part of our transportation infrastructure can have great impact, the Seattle — or Alaskan Way — viaduct is a prominent piece of our eroded transportation infrastructure that has to be inspected every three months and will cost us more than $3 billion to replace by the time the project is completed in 2016.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, heavy trucks today only pay for 80 percent of the damage they cause. Allowing them to get heavier and longer means they would only pay half of their costs.

I’ ve served this community for more than 26 years. I know Washington roads. And I know that bigger trucks are a dangerous and expensive proposition.

We are fortunate to have Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, serving as members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

That committee will have a lot to say about whether bigger trucks will be allowed on our roads. I urge Congress to weigh this issue carefully before making a decision that could impact everyone on the road.

– – –

Tommie Pillow is president of the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association. He can be reached at 360-704-7530 or via email at tompillow@wspta.org.

Published May 05, 2011

Your Help Needed Now to Stop Bigger Trucks!

Please contact your Members of Congress with the following message on bigger trucks.  Your Representatives can be contacted at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.

 


 

As you deliberate on the surface transportation authorization bill, I urge you to retain current federal truck size and weight limits and reject any special interest pilot projects or other attempts to increase these limits.  I ask that you support the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA) H.R. 1574/S. 876 which would “freeze” truck weights and lengths in every state and prevent dangerous overweight trucks from being on our already compromised roads and bridges.

On average 4,000 people are killed in truck crashes annually and 100,000 more are injured.  The annual cost of truck crashes exceeds $19 billion.  In the past 10 years more than 48,000 people have needlessly died and over 1 million have been injured in truck crashes.  In fatal 2-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck 98% of the deaths are occupants of the passenger vehicles.  Adding even more weight to a big truck dramatically increases the risk of death and serious injury.

[INSERT PERSONAL STORY]

It is time for Congress to say enough is enough.  Please take action now to protect innocent motorists and truck drivers from the inherent dangers of overweight trucks which would also further damage our infrastructure and lead to more fuel consumption and more emissions.  Please support SHIPA.  Thank you.

Sorrow to Strength 2011 – Press

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Sorrow to Strength Conference 2011

Statements

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Family Fights Back from Truck Accident

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. – It has been six months since Matthew Slattery suffered a traumatic brain injury after a tired trucker fell asleep at the wheel and barreled into his family’s car on an Ohio interstate.

Read More…

Big Rig Underride Hazzards

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is urging the government to change crash test regulations to better protect against underride crashes. 

Watch Video…

Insurance Group Cites Concerns on Underride Guards

Crash-test analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that underride guards on tractor-trailers can fail even in relatively low-speed crashes, and the group is petitioning the federal government to require stronger guards that will remain in place during a crash and to mandate guards for more big rigs and trailers.

Read More…

Statement of Truck Safety Coalition on Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) for Long-Haul Trucks Proposed Rule

Arlington, VA (February 1, 2011): The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) supports the proposed rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requiring that within three years long-haul commercial vehicles, trucks and buses, be equipped with Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs). The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have repeatedly cited driver fatigue as a major factor in truck crash causation. EOBRs which objectively document driving time and on-duty status will help reduce driver fatigue, eliminate fraudulent paper log books, and improve hours of service (HOS) rules enforcement.

Read More…

Maine and Vermont Press Release 12-23-10

Daphne Izer, founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) after her son Jeff and three of his friends were killed in a truck crash, the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) and other safety organizations sent a letter to Governor Baldacci today urging him to take action to stop trucks that weigh 100,000 lbs. from traveling on Maine?s state roads. The one-year pilot program, included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 (Public Law No. 11-117, H.R. 3288), that allowed 100,000 lb. trucks on sections of Maine?s Interstates and 99,000 lb. trucks on Vermont?s Interstates expired on December 17, 2010.

Read More…

What is Driver Fatigue?

Background:
• Truck driver fatigue has been recognized as a major safety concern and a contributing factor to fatal truck crashes for over 70 years.
• Studies sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveal that 65% of truck drivers report that they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half of truck drivers admit that they had actually fallen asleep while driving in the previous year.
• In spite of the industry wide safety issue of truck driver fatigue, in 2003, the truck driver hours of service rule (HOS) was increased from 10 to 11 hours behind the wheel during a 14 hour work day.
• The FMCSA HOS rule allowing 11 hour driving shifts has been overturned in court two different times. In 2011, the FMCSA issued a new HOS rule that kept the 11 hour maximum rather than return to the prior 10-hour rule as advocated by leading safety organizations. In response, safety groups returned to court, for the third time seeking to return the HOS rule to the 10 hour maximum. The case was argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals in March, 2013, and a decision is pending.

The Truck Safety Coalition Supports Efforts to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue Including:

Immediate Rulemaking and Implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) – Despite a provision in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Law, MAP-21 (P.L. 112-141) requiring ELDs in all commercial vehicles, FMCSA has yet to issue a rule. The TSC urges immediate rulemaking and implementation to ensure accurate logging of truck driver hours behind the wheel, increased compliance with HOS regulations, and a reduction in paperwork and stopping time for HOS reviews.

Preventing Exemptions to HOS Regulations – Exemptions to Federal motor carrier safety regulations compromise safety, erode uniformity and weaken enforcement efforts. Safety is not unique to certain types of commercial motor vehicles, carriers, cargo or routes. If the same types of vehicles are being operated on the same roadways, the same set of rules should apply. Allowing industry-specific exemptions to safety regulations is not only dangerous, but it also sets an unsafe precedent for other industries to request similar exemptions. The TSC opposes exemptions to HOS regulations.

Changes to Truck Driver Compensation – A large portion of the trucking industry is paid by the mile rather than by the hour. Truck drivers spend up to 70 hours a week behind the wheel, and then work additional hours, for less pay than similar industries (the hourly average pay is $11.15 for truck drivers, compared to $25.00 for manufacturing or construction), and as a result of their pay structure, are incentivized to drive longer and faster in order to make more money. Paying truck drivers an hourly wage will ensure that they are paid for every hour worked, and will promote healthier drivers and safer trucking.

Assuring Truck Driver Fitness – The TSC supports rulemaking for sleep apnea screening to ensure medical examiners are testing for and monitoring this widespread fatigue producing condition. Additionally, MAP-21 included the Safe Roads Act of 2012 (S.754/H.R.2459) which requires an alcohol and controlled substances testing clearinghouse to be used only for disseminating test results. We urge expedited creation and careful oversight of the clearinghouse and we urge that that it be expanded to include prescription drugs (particularly those which list drowsiness and fatigue as side-effects). Finally, we support funding to expand parking areas and services for truck drivers (a MAP-21 provision known as Jason’s Law) once the survey to determine existing facilities is completed.

Maine and Vermont Overweight Truck Pilot Program

Maine Vermont FOIA Information Released

Press Release

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Letter on Maine and Vermont Truck Weight Exemption

Anti Safety, Special Truck Provision for Maine and Vermont has no place in the continuing resolution.  Consumer health, safety, and environmental groups, and truck crash victims and survivors strongly oppose extending the federal truck weight exemptions.

Read More…

Response to Letter from Secretary Dill and Commissioner Cole – Email

Michael.Onder@dot.gov
Sent:
Thursday, May 13, 2010 2:34 PM
John.Zicconi@state.vt.us
; Getchell, Chip; Elder, Robert
Ernie.Blais@dot.gov
; Jonathan.McDade@dot.gov; Jeffrey.Lindley@dot.gov; Rolf.Schmitt@dot.gov; Tony.Furst@dot.gov
Subject:
Response to letter from Secretary Dill and Commissioner Cole
Attachments:
Letter to Commissioners ME-VT.pdf

Letter from Maine and Vermont – Email

Michael.Onder@dot.gov
Sent:
Thursday, May 06, 2010 9:24 AM
John.Zicconi@state.vt.us
; Getchell, Chip
Jeffrey.Lindley@dot.gov
; Rolf.Schmitt@dot.gov
Subject:
RE: Letter from Maine and Vermont

3 killed, 13 Hurt in I-57 Crash

From Pantagraph.com

“MATTOON — A Louisiana truck driver triggered a fatal nine-vehicle accident when he looked down at a map as he approached slowing traffic on an eastern Illinois highway, police said.

Three people were killed and 13 were hospitalized Monday evening when the truck driver crashed into the back of a vehicle near a construction zone, setting off a chain reaction that eventually included nine vehicles on Interstate 57 north of Mattoon, police Capt. Stuart Shaver said … “

Click to Read Full Article (This takes you to Pantagraph.com)

Appeals Court Again Rejects Hours of Service Rule

Appeals Court Again Rejects Hours of Service Rule
July 24, 2007

A federal appeals court today struck down for the second time a Bush administration regulation that increased the number of hours that truck drivers are permitted to drive without rest.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit again sided with Public Citizen in its contention that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Continue reading “Appeals Court Again Rejects Hours of Service Rule”

NHTSA Study Confirms Value Of Reflective Tape On Trucks

New NHTSA Study Confirms Reflective Tape On Big Trucks Reduces Crashes, Fatalities
April 30, 2000 (OA)

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ – A new study by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirms that the reflective tape now being required to make trailers on big trucks easier to see is effective in preventing crashes.

Continue reading “NHTSA Study Confirms Value Of Reflective Tape On Trucks”

Victory for truck crash victims

A Tenacious Volunteer Achieves Legislative Victory in North Carolina

Jennifer Tierney has helped to achieve numerous advances in truck safety through her involvement with CRASH and the Truck Safety Coalition, and this year she added to her list of accomplishments.  When Jennifer learned about Senate Bill 1695 (S1695) which would allow longer trucks, wider boats and some

Continue reading “Victory for truck crash victims”

30 percent of tractor-trailers, dump trucks overweight

In ‘cat-and-mouse game’ with truckers, FDOT has dull claws; As many as 30 percent of tractor-trailers, dump trucks overweight
By: Fred Hiers / Star-Banner (Ocala, Florida); Monday, October 22, 2007

OCALA – Carlos Reinoso sat with the door of his dump truck slung open and his legs dangling over the side. He couldn’t have looked more bored.

Continue reading “30 percent of tractor-trailers, dump trucks overweight”

Some Truck Drivers Rigged For Danger

Reported by: David Rose / Web produced by: Neil Relyea / Photographed by: 9News
First posted: 2/8/2006 11:15:04 PM

There are some drivers that have no business being on the road.

But what 9News uncovered is that “business” is exactly what they’re doing.

9News takes a look at how some drivers are rigged for danger.

Continue reading “Some Truck Drivers Rigged For Danger”

Trucks, tired drivers can be deadly mix

By LISE FISHER – Sun staff writer / February 19. 2006 6:01AM

A truck driver carrying a gym bag heads for the showers at the Pilot Travel Center in Ocala Thursday evening. Richard Darley has been driving rigs since 1970 and he knows something about driver fatigue.

Continue reading “Trucks, tired drivers can be deadly mix”

Hours Of Service Regulations: (FAQ’s)

1. Do trucks pose a significant safety problem?

Yes. More than 5,000 people have been killed annually in truck-related crashes for the past several years. Large trucks are severely over represented in annual crash figures. Although they are only 3 percent of the registered vehicles, they are responsible for 12 to 13 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths each year Continue reading “Hours Of Service Regulations: (FAQ’s)”

THE DANGERS OF FATIGUED, SLEEP-DEPRIVED TRUCK DRIVERS

Fatigue Is A Killer: Operator fatigue and sleep deprivation are serious, worldwide safety problems in all transportation modes. Operator fatigue has been identified by national governments and the European Union as a major contributor to air, maritime, railroad, and passenger vehicle crashes. In the United States, the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board have cited fatigue as a major factor in truck crash causation. These crashes lead to losses of life Continue reading “THE DANGERS OF FATIGUED, SLEEP-DEPRIVED TRUCK DRIVERS”

Three fatal truck accidents draw national attention

By Jill Dunn

Three headline-making fatal truck accidents occurred in a 15-hour period this week, killing 19 people, though one accident may have been caused by a four-wheeler.

Continue reading “Three fatal truck accidents draw national attention”

Truck Driver Faces 5 Homicide Charges in Bus Crash

By ROBERT IMRIE  / Associated Press Wausau Bureau

EAU CLAIRE Continue reading “Truck Driver Faces 5 Homicide Charges in Bus Crash”

Links – Sorrow to Strength 2007

SORROW  TO STRENGTH – RELATED LINKS

Useful links for those attending the conference or otherwise supporting it.

Identify & Contact Your Elected Officials

Contact the U.S. Senate

Contact the U.S. House of Representatives

Congress.org

Know the Issues

Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Department of Transportation (DoT)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Maps of D.C. and Capitol Hill

Mapquest.com

Accommodations

Hyatt Arlington
Details on reservations coming soon.

Transit

Ronald Reagan National Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro & Bus Transportation)

Press Kit – Sorrow to Strength 2007

2007 SORROW TO STRENGTH CONFERENCE

March 12, 2007 – Press Kit

Sorrow to Strength 2009 – Press

Press Coverage

Press Conference – Media Information

Statements

  • KATHLEEN ELLSBURY, M.D.
    (Seattle, Washington), widow of University of Washington professor and seismologist Anthony Qamar who was killed October 5, 2005, along with his colleague, when an overloaded logging truck with multiple safety citations lost its load on Highway 101.  The tragedy prompted Dr. Ellsbury to lobby for passage of the Tony Qamar and Daniel Johnson Act to improve motor carrier safety in her state.
  • DAWN KING
    (Davisburg, Michigan), whose father, William Badger, was killed December 23, 2004, when a tractor trailer driver fell asleep at the wheel and collided with his car.  Dawn has since joined the Board of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and has participated in its First Response program to assist other grieving truck crash victims.
  • FRANK and MARCHELLE WOOD
    (Falls Church, Virginia), whose daughter Dana Wood and her East Carolina University classmate were killed October 15, 2002, when their car was struck and pushed 1,500 feet by a careless trucker with a suspended license who had clocked nine hours of driving that day.
  • TRACY QUINICHETT
    (Laurel, Maryland), mother of University of Maryland senior Channing Quinichett who was killed January 21, 2009, when a tire flew off a truck being towed and smashed through her windshield.   Channing was to receive her early childhood education degree from the state university on May 22.  She wanted to be a teacher.

Sorrow to Strength 2009

The Truck Safety Coalition is pleased to announce our 2009 Sorrow to Strength Conference.

Sorrow to Strength is specifically designed for survivors of truck crashes and families/friends of those who have died or been injured. The conference allows us to come together for a weekend of sharing, remembrance, workshops and public policy actions to advance truck safety. This conference is open to all survivors, advocates, and legal/medical professionals interested in advancing truck safety.

The last Sorrow to Strength Conference in 2007 produced an agenda of important truck safety priorities. It also included visits arranged by TSC staff with key lawmakers in Congress, senior officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation, and National Transportation Safety Board Members. Additionally, we released a report card on the most lethal states for truck crashes and on the lack of federal leadership by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 10 key categories such as truck driver fatigue, truck size and weight, and safety regulation enforcement, at a well-attended press conference in Washington, DC.

This year’s conference comes at a critical crossroads in truck safety as Congress will soon be taking up a multi-billion dollar transportation spending bill, the successor to the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act-A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Trucking interests have been lobbying Congress to increase the federal truck size and weight limits while also continuing to push for other measures to rollback lifesaving truck safety rules and laws. We need your help and voice in the truck safety debate to counter the views of the trucking industry.

When:
Saturday, May 2nd (tentative start time 1 p.m.) – Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Where:
Hyatt Arlington, 1325 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA
For reservations, please call the hotel directly at 800-233-1234 or go to http://arlington.hyatt.com.

Cost:
The rate for all nights is $99 per room per night (tax not included). The code you need to mention to get this rate is G-TSC1. There is no fee for the conference itself. Need-based scholarship funding is available to assist with travel costs.

This conference will be organized to discuss both personal experiences and how to work as a powerful, effective constituency. Throughout Sorrow to Strength, you will have the opportunity to meet with safety experts, elected officials, and safety supporters. You play an important role in the fight to improve truck safety and bring down truck crash deaths and injuries. Please, join us for this importantmeeting.

For more information or to answer any questions about Sorrow to Strength, please contact us here or at 1.888.353.4572.

We hope to see you in May!

Sorrow to Strength

2011 Sorrow to Strength Conference

We are pleased to announce the 2011 Sorrow to Strength Conference. The conference will be held in Washington, DC from Saturday, April 30th to Tuesday, May 3rd.

This conference is designed to bring together families and friends of truck crash victims and truck crash survivors.   There is no charge, and the conference is open to all survivors, advocates, and legal/medical/other related professionals interested in truck safety.  The conference provides the opportunity to come together for a weekend of sharing, remembrance, and workshops. On Monday and Tuesday we will bring our messages for improved truck safety policies and laws to Capitol Hill and the Department of Transportation during meetings which will be pre-arranged for you and attended by a Truck Safety Coalition staff person with you.

If you are interested in attending, please call the office at 888.353.4572 or 703.294.6404.  You can also email us at info@trucksafety.org. More information will be posted at www.trucksafety.org in the near future.  Please forward this message along to anyone you believe may be interested.

Please mark these dates on your calendar and start thinking about your arrangements to attend. As soon as you have decided if you will be attending, please let us know so that we can begin lining up meetings for you. We look forward to helping you with this process and especially to seeing you there.

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Press Conference Speakers – Sorrow to Strength 2007

Press Conference Speakers
March 12, 2007

  • John Lannen, Executive Director, The Truck Safety Coalition
  • Jackie Gillan, Vice President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; CRASH board member.
  • Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen; Chair, Citizens for Reliable & Safe Highways (CRASH)
  • Daphne Izer, of Lisbon, Maine, who founded Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) after her son Jeff, 17, and three of his friends were killed October 10, 1993, by a tractor trailer driver who fell asleep at the wheel.
  • Nikki Hensley of Fostoria, Ohio, whose husband Virgil Lee Hensley was killed July 9, 1997, when a semi-truck driver, who was working for 19 hours straight, ran a stop sign and struck the side of their car, killing her husband instantly.  The truck driver walked away without any punishment when the Wood County Prosecutor dropped the case.  Nikki was left to raise their two sons who are now in college, and she is now a P.A.T.T. board member.
  • Jane Mathis of St. Augustine, Florida, whose son David and bride of five days, Mary, were driving home from their honeymoon on March 25, 2004, on I-95 near the Kennedy Space Center when they were killed in a fiery crash caused by a Winn-Dixie tractor trailer driver who fell asleep at the wheel.  The truck driver was never prosecuted.  David also was the son of Circuit Court Judge Robert Mathis.
  • Rob and Sherry Durk of Linden, Michigan, whose daughter Janelle Ann Marie Durk, 15, was killed July 6, 2006, in a crash caused by two semi tractor trailer drivers on I-70 in Clark County, IL.  One trucker was driving for 20 hours straight and crashed after falling asleep, which caused a traffic backup. The Durks stopped safely, but another semi hit them from behind, killing their teen daughter.  They were driving home to Michigan from a family reunion in Kansas.
  • Truck crash victims from around the nation will be in attendance, including FL, IL, KY, ME, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NM, NC, OH, OK, VA, and TX.

Truck Crash Target Change – Sorrow to Strength 2007

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