STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION, ON RELEASE OF NAS REPORT ON U.S. DOT’S CSA CARRIER RATING SYSTEM

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

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION, ON RELEASE OF NAS REPORT ON U.S. DOT’S CSA CARRIER RATING SYSTEM

The National Academy of Sciences released a report, Improving Motor Carrier Safety Measurement, which confirmed much of what the Truck Safety Coalition has been saying about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) carrier rating system and truck safety in general:

  1. The CSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) is “conceptually sound,” and
  2. That well-compensated drivers and drivers who are not paid per miles travelled, have fewer crashes.

Our goal is to reduce truck crashes, prevent injuries, and save lives, which is why we have always supported continuous improvement to make the rating system even more effective in determining which motor carriers are safe and which motor carriers pose a risk to public safety. By embracing a more data-driven method of scoring the safety of motor carriers, the agency can build on the success of CSA and continue to enhance it. Additionally, transitioning to a more statistically principled approach will make the program more transparent and easier to understand, further justifying why both the data as well as the rankings should be public.

The report also underscores a need for improved data collection by and collaboration between motor carriers, states, and the FMCSA. The agency should enhance data collection regarding vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by trucks, and can do so by working with relevant tax agencies given that all motor carriers report their VMT for tax purposes. The FMCSA can also improve data collection regarding crashes by continuing their efforts to standardize post-accident reports that vary state-by-state, an effort that I have worked on as a member of the FMCSA’s Post-Accident Report Advisory Committee.

While the report highlights opportunities for the FMCSA to improve CSA’s SMS, members of the industry must recognize their own responsibilities and role in improving this safety rating system. Collecting data on “carrier characteristics,” including driver turnover rates, types of cargo hauled, and the method and level of driver compensation, will allow the agency to establish a fuller and fairer determination of safety. This requires motor carriers to share even more data, not attempt to hide it.

###

 

 

 

State Fact Sheets

Alabama Fact Sheet

Alaska Fact Sheet

Arizona Fact Sheet

Arkansas Fact Sheet

California Fact Sheet

Colorado Fact Sheet

Connecticut Fact Sheet

Delaware Fact Sheet

District of Columbia Fact Sheet

Florida Fact Sheet

Georgia Fact Sheet

Hawaii Fact Sheet

Idaho Fact Sheet

Illinois Fact Sheet

Indiana Fact Sheet

Iowa Fact Sheet

Kansas Fact Sheet

Kentucky Fact Sheet

Louisiana Fact Sheet

Maine Fact Sheet

Maryland Fact Sheet

Massachusetts Fact Sheet

Michigan Fact Sheet

Minnesota Fact Sheet – 2017

Mississippi Fact Sheet

Missouri Fact Sheet

Montana Fact Sheet

Nebraska Fact Sheet

Nevada Fact Sheet

New Hampshire Fact Sheet

New Jersey Fact Sheet

New Mexico Fact Sheet

New York Fact Sheet

North Carolina Fact Sheet

North Dakota Fact Sheet

Ohio Fact Sheet

Oklahoma Fact Sheet

Oregon Fact Sheet

Pennsylvania Fact Sheet

Rhode Island Fact Sheet

South Carolina Fact Sheet

South Dakota Fact Sheet

Tennessee Fact Sheet

Texas Fact Sheet

Utah Fact Sheet

Vermont Fact Sheet

Virginia Fact Sheet

Washington Fact Sheet

West Virginia Fact Sheet

Wisconsin Fact Sheet

Wyoming Fact Sheet

Safety Groups Respond to U.S. DOT IG Rubber Stamping Study on Truck Driver Hours of Service Safety Protections

Study Created with Pre-Determined Outcome of Failure

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Late last week, the Office of the Inspector General (IG) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) sent a letter to Congress regarding a study of safety reforms to the truck driver hours of service (HOS) rules. By sending this letter, the IG essentially gives the imprimatur of this well-respected office to a study that was set up for failure at the onset and will ultimately result in the continuation of the widespread industry problem of truck driver fatigue.  Parameters of the study and what it was charged with finding were widely attributed to being crafted by corporate trucking interests in an effort to undue safety reforms which took effect in 2013.  While the IG may have signed off that the study was carried out as mandated by Congress, the IG did not assess the underlying data used.  Rather, the IG simply “rubber stamped” that the “junk science” study checked off all the boxes required by Congress when it created the study.

As part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, corporate trucking interests and their friends in Congress inserted legislative language that suspended enforcement of the 2013 HOS reforms until the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completed further study on the effectiveness of the provisions.  Concerned that the study would not produce results favorable to their agenda, these same interests inserted additional language into the FY 2016 THUD bill which raised the bar on what the study had to find. This backroom industry rewrite all but guaranteed the preordained outcome that was realized today.  These policy provisions were inserted to a funding bill behind closed doors without any public input. Further, they belie decades of irrefutable data that shows that driver fatigue is a serious safety problem within the trucking industry.  “When I began advocating for truck safety after a truck driver fell asleep while driving and killed my son Jeff, I never thought I would still be fighting on the issue of fatigue more than two decades later,” said Daphne Izer, Co-Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), “Truck drivers should not be forced to drive and work such grueling schedules, and the public should not be subjected to the risk that tired truckers pose to all road users.”

The study, while yet to be made available for public review, could have only examined 15 months of data as the Obama reforms went into effect in July of 2013 and were suspended at the behest of the certain segments of the trucking industry in December of 2014.  The fact that the study was fatally flawed from the start and reached such a dubious conclusion is totally unsurprising. “This study does nothing to shed light on the serious problem of truck driver fatigue,” said Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.  “But, it does shed light on the power of special trucking interests to run to their friends in Congress and repeal important health and safety rules.  Sadly, the U.S. DOT IG has become yet another political pawn in this tortured process.”

Common sense and real world experience clearly show that truck driver fatigue is a serious and pervasive safety problem, no matter how much special trucking interests wish to believe otherwise. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly cited fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes and included reducing fatigue related crashes on the 2017-18 Most Wanted List of safety changes.  In addition, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has warned that drowsy driving can have the same consequences as driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  “Since 2009, truck crashes have shot up by 45 percent, resulting in a 20 percent increase in truck crash fatalities and a 57 percent increase in truck crash injuries,” stated John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition. “Instead of focusing on requiring crash avoidance technologies in large trucks that would have actually reduced crashes, FMCSA was forced to spend time and money conducting an ill-conceived study based on flawed data.”

While high profile crashes like the one that killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured Tracy Morgan grab national headlines, fatigue-related crashes happen to families all over the country every day.  Until leaders in Congress are willing to face the real facts about truck driver fatigue, far too many Americans will continue to be needlessly killed by tired truckers.

###

Letter from NC Truck Safety Advocates to Secretary Foxx on Hours of Service

November 9, 2016

The Honorable Anthony Foxx Secretary,

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC 20590

Dear Secretary Foxx:

We appreciate your verbal commitment to improving safety of our roads and vehicles throughout your tenure as Secretary of Transportation. In public meetings and congressional hearings, you have consistently said that far too many people are killed despite decades of safety advances. We completely agree with that statement. Yet, it will be your actions that truly make the difference in decreasing the deaths and injuries that have left families like ours devastated and incomplete. We urge you to stand with us and oppose any provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations bill that will weaken the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations by overturning the Obama rule and increasing truck drivers’ weekly working and driving hours from 70 to 82 and eliminating their required “weekend” off. It is imperative that the Administration continues the position relayed in the May 16, 2016, Statement of Administration Policy on how changes to the HOS rules “have the potential to undercut public safety.” Now is the time when the rubber hits the road, and we need your leadership to ensure the safety of truck drivers and all motorists on our roads and highways.

With truck crashes having skyrocketed by 44 percent between 2009 and 2014 (the last available year of complete data), weakening any truck safety rule or law should not even be considered. The attack on truck driver HOS rules on Capitol Hill will undue rules that were issued by the U.S. DOT after consideration of 21,000 formal docket comments submitted from drivers, carriers, state law enforcement, safety advocates and trucking industry associations; six public listening sessions and an online Q&A forum; review of 80 sources of scientific research and data; a Regulatory Impact Analysis of nearly 50 scientific sources; 10 years of rulemaking; and, three successful lawsuits. Moreover, the anti-Obama HOS rule provision has not been subject to any public scrutiny, committee hearings, or adequate safety review, and this substantive policy overhaul is not based on any sound scientific research, independent expert analysis, or objective peer review.

If this anti-safety measure is enacted, it will result in more overtired and overworked truck drivers driving alongside our loved ones, which will inevitably lead to more crashes, injuries, and fatalities. As you know, driver fatigue is a well-documented and widespread problem in the trucking industry. In fact, the Department of Transportation’s own data shows that more than six out of ten truck drivers have driven while fatigued, and nearly half have admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel. Clearly, the solution to this pervasive problem is not to add more driving and working time, but rather to consider ways to address and prevent fatigue.

As the President’s top transportation advisor, you have the unique ability to demonstrate your commitment to safety and stop this attempt to weaken HOS regulations by recommending that the President continue to oppose and veto any spending bill that includes language seeking to increase the number of truck driver working and driving hours. We hope we can count on you to ensure that this Administration vocally opposes and does not sign into law any bill that will degrade highway safety in any way.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Tierney

Kernersville, NC

Board Member, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH)

Daughter of James Mooney

Killed in a truck crash 9/20/83

 

Jackie Novak

Edneyville, NC

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Mother of Charles “Chuck” Novak

Killed in a truck crash 10/24/10

 

 

Omnibus-HOS Letter to Secretary Foxx-Nov 2016

Huffington Post: [Some in Congress] Want To Use Zika Funding Bill To Keep Truckers On The Road Longer

Add-on provision could let truckers work more than 80 hours a week.

WASHINGTON ― Want to keep the government open? Want to fund the Zika response? The trucking industry and Republican allies in Congress say the price for that could be weakening rest rules for truck drivers, sources said.

The industry is trying to latch onto the stopgap bill that Congress must pass this month to combat Zika and to fund the government until Dec. 9, hoping to slip in a provision that would permanently block a rest regulation for truck drivers that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has tried to implement since 2013.

The rule would ensure that drivers take off at least two nights a week and drive no more than 70 hours. It was enacted because research suggested the best, most restorative sleep happens at night, and because accidents jump dramatically when drivers are fatigued.

The industry and many drivers believe this rule robs them of flexibility. Forcing drivers to sleep at night means they have to drive during the daytime, when there are more vehicles on the roads and more accidents, they argue.

Sources familiar with talks over the government funding bill and Zika legislation say Republicans are pushing the unrelated trucking provision, and that Democrats are reluctant to go along.

“They want to make the blockage of the rule permanent,” one of the sources said, speaking on background because matters were still being negotiated.

Although trucking policy has nothing to do with Zika or short-term government appropriations, the industry has repeatedly used funding crises to attach riders that it favors and cannot pass through the regular legislative process.

The trucking lobby, which spends more than $20 million a year to influence Congress, has managed to block the rule before by getting it suspended for more study. It won that concession in the infamous “CRomnibus” spending bill that kept the government from shutting down shortly before Christmas in 2014.

The offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) did not answer questions about the provision. And since the details of the current bill are not public, it was unclear what the new trucking language would be.

It could be similar to provisions that the trucking industry got added to earlier Zika and funding bills that have not passed Congress. One such provision in the Senate would let drivers stay behind the wheel for 73 hours each week, with an additional 8.5 hours permitted for other work.

The idea has not been studied by safety experts and none of the sleep provisions pushed by the industry have been subjected to congressional hearings.

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/zika-funding-trucker-safety_us_57e038a6e4b04a1497b5f5fb

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF TRUCK SAFETY COALITION ON NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR HEAVY VEHICLE SPEED LIMITERS

Arlington, VA (August 26, 2016) – After ten years since a petition for rulemaking was filed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) just released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiter rule. TSC supports a rule that extends the set speed requirement to all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds that are already equipped with a speed limiting device, and that requires the speed limiters to be set at 65 miles per hour. Unfortunately, this proposed rule fails to outline either of these requirements.

As TSC has stated before, this technology has been built into most truck’s engine control module (ECM) since the 1990s. The agencies reaffirmed this in the NPRM. Nevertheless, they have chosen, so far, to only apply this rule to new trucks, while asking for comment “on whether to require that the speed limiting devices in these older CMVs be set to a speed not greater than a maximum specified set speed.” It is unreasonable that in the ten years since the petition was filed and after acknowledging in their NPRM that ECMs “have been installed in most heavy trucks since 1999,” that NHTSA and FMCSA were unable to propose a rule that extended to older CMVs with this technology already installed.

Furthermore, it is discouraging that after all of these years the agencies were unable to decide upon a speed limit, 60 mph, 65 mph, or 68 mph. That is a range of eight miles per hour. This may seem like a minimal difference in speed, but as the agencies note in their NPRM – this can have a huge effect on the impact force during a crash: “As speed increases, so does the amount of kinetic energy a vehicle has.” So how can the agencies note that a difference of five miles per hour can greatly enhance the kinetic energy of a vehicle, while considering setting speed limiters at 60 mph or 68 mph? The fact of the matter is that the agencies should have selected a speed to set the limiters before publishing the NPRM so that the public could have commented on their choice; asking for comments on all three options should have been asked when the petition was granted back in 2011.

We hope between now and the publication of this rule, NHTSA and FMCSA remember that their primary goals are to promote safety, and will implement a commonsense, life-saving rule.

###

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Coal Truck Driver Fled Fatal Crash in Bell County, KY

A coal truck driver crossed the center line and sideswiped a pickup truck, causing it to flip over. Then, the coal truck continued driving and struck a Nissan Maxima, killing the driver and the passenger of the car. The truck driver was eventually arrested after he was located at a nearby hospital. These crashes should have never happened given the that coal truck driver was operating with a suspended/revoked CDL. TSC promotes enhancing enforcement efforts to ensure drivers like this are prevented from operating trucks and jeopardizing public safety.

Link: http://www.wbir.com/news/crime/ksp-truck-driver-fled-fatal-bell-county-crash/102231987   

The Truck Safety Coalition Team

 

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

 

PRESS RELEASE: TRUCK CRASH FATALITIES INCREASE AGAIN IN 2011

TRUCK CRASH FATALITIES INCREASE AGAIN IN 2011

DESPITE OVERALL DECREASE IN TRAFFIC FATALITIES

Second Consecutive Year of DangerousTrend

 

Arlington, VA (December 10, 2012): The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed today that truck crash fatalities increased in 2011, while overall traffic fatalities decreased, for the second consecutive year. The greatest change in truck crash fatalities occurred in the truck occupant category which showed a 20-percent increase. This dangerous trend serves to emphasize the safety issues with large trucks, which impose tremendous risk toboth passenger vehicle occupants, as well as to truck drivers.

 

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,stated, “Truck driving is consistently listed in the top ten most dangerous jobs.  Drivers are pushed to their limits regularly working 14 hour days, including overnight shifts, day-in and day-out. It’s just not humanly possible to keep up that pace and it negatively impacts safety, both for the truck driver and for the rest of us who drive alongside these huge rigs.  Recently, it was reported that the trucking industry’s turnover rate climbed over 90-percent, and it’s no wonder as to why.  Truck drivers are exposed to daily dangers, overworked and only make, on average, $38,000 a year. Until the industry improves working conditions and pays a competitive wage, they’ll continue to lose experienced drivers and we’ll continue to be subjected to unnecessary dangers on our roadways.”

 

Truck drivers also face a high health risk for personal injury, high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, to name a few. The life expectancy for truck drivers is 61 years, 16 years less than the average.

 

This new data supports the position of safety groups,and the friends and family of truck crash victims, who maintain that improvements to truck safety issues are vital, particularly as the economy improves and more goods are moved on our roadways. Safety advocates have long asserted the importance of preventing any increases to the size and weight limits of trucks and returning HOS to the 10-hour limit. Bigger, heavier trucks are more deadly, more destructive to roadway and bridge infrastructure and result in more unfunded costs. Additionally, studies show that truck crash risk increases exponentially after 8 consecutive hours of driving and the highest level of crash risk occurs during both the 10th and 11th hours of consecutive driving.  Decreasing truck driver’s HOS by one hour would limit the time they are on the road during this period of highest crash risk. Truck weight and size limits and HOS are but two truck safety issues that must be addressed if we hope to resolve the nearly 4,000 fatalities and over 80,000 injuries that result yearly from truck related crashes and constitute a national health and safety crisis.

 

John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition added, “Under the best of conditions, truck driving isa dangerous and high stress job. If we want to keep skilled and safe drivers behind the wheel, the trucking industry needs to be competitive by increasing salary and benefits and treating truck drivers like professional workers. A 70 hour work week, with no benefits and low pay will neither attract nor retain the best and safest drivers and we all pay the price for hiring the less expensive person for the job.”

 

The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org), a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.), 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.

To download a pdf of the press release, click here.

###

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”