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.

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STATEMENT OF TRUCK SAFETY COALITION ON WITHDRAWAL OF ADVANCE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING TO INCREASE MINIMUM FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS

STATEMENT OF TRUCK SAFETY COALITION ON WITHDRAWAL OF ADVANCE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING TO INCREASE MINIMUM FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS

ARLINGTON, VA (June 2, 2017) – On behalf of families of truck crash victims and survivors, the Truck Safety Coalition is extremely disappointed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA, agency) withdrawal of a long overdue Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to increase the minimum financial responsibility requirements for motor carriers, which has not been raised since it was set 37 years ago. The FMCSA’s decision to forego pursuing a commonsense approach to enhancing safety on our roads and leveling the playing field in our nation’s trucking industry is deeply troubling, but unfortunately it is yet another data point to demonstrate the agency’s dereliction of duty and lack of direction.

The fact of the matter is that the minimum level of insurance required by trucks per incident has not been increased since 1980. It has not been adjusted for inflation or, more appropriately, for medical cost inflation. The results of these decades of inaction are devastating. Families are forced to face the financial impact of under-insured truckers along with the emotional and physical destruction. The failure to raise the required amount of minimum insurance allows chameleon carriers to enter the market, with no underwriting, and simply close down and reincorporate under a new name following a catastrophic crash.

Yet, this issue is not unique to survivors and families of truck crash victims; it affects all taxpayers. Insurance is supposed to address the actual damages caused. When there is an insufficient payout, families are forced to declare bankruptcy or rely on government programs after being financially drained. The costs of healthcare, property, and lost income for all parties involved in a truck crash can greatly exceed $750,000 per event, and all of these costs are much higher today than they were in 1980. The unpaid costs are then passed on to taxpayers. In other words, maintaining the grossly inadequate minimum privatizes profits but socializes the costs of underinsured trucking.

Moreover, if the mandate for minimum insurance is to remain a significant incentive for carriers to operate safely as Congress intended, it must be updated to reflect the current realities of the industry. Because the minimum insurance requirements have not kept pace with inflation, the $750,000 per event has become a disincentive for unsafe motor carriers to improve and maintain the safety of their operations. Additionally, raising the minimum amount of insurance will motivate insurers to apply a higher level of scrutiny in determining which motor carriers they insure.

What is even more frustrating and confusing about this decision to walk away from this rulemaking is that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fully acknowledges that $750,000 is an insufficient amount to cover one person’s life. The Department uses a value of statistical life of $9.6 million. This is a figure the DOT defines “as the additional cost that individuals would be willing to bear for improvements in safety (that is, reductions in risks) that, in the aggregate, reduce the expected number of fatalities by one,” and updates to account for changes in prices and real income. Clearly, the DOT has determined that not only is a single life worth more than $750,000 but that it benefits the American public to ensure that these values are indexed to inflation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and President Trump should be embarrassed that they withdrew a commonsense rule that will improve safety on our roads and ensure families are adequately compensated for the pain and suffering they endure. This issue now falls to Secretary Elaine Chao, who is vested with the authority to raise this figure. These families do not need well wishes and condolences from policy-makers—they need change. The Secretary should take immediate action to increase the minimum insurance requirement and to index it to inflation. This way, the amount will be increased periodically and apolitically. 

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Sorrow to Strength 2017 Press Page

Press Release:

Videos:

TSC Report:

Truck Crash Fatality Rate per Million – Infographic

Infographics:

Fact Sheets:

Statements and Letters:

Truck Safety Award Recipients

Pictures:

 

 

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.

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STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION ON TOUGHGUARD ANNOUNCEMENT BY IIHS

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

ON TOUGHGUARD ANNOUNCEMENT BY IIHS

ARLINGTON, VA (March 1, 2017) – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced today that five out of eight major North American semitrailer manufacturers met their TOUGHGUARD standard. Great Dane, Manac Inc., Stoughton Trailers LLC, Vanguard National Trailer Corp., and Wabash National Corp, received this recognition of their rear trailer guards that prevent underride crashes involving a mid-size car traveling at 35mph into the rear of the trailer in three different scenarios – 100, 50, and 30 percent overlap.

Underride crashes have long been identified as a safety issue, but little has been done to prevent or mitigate the severity of these of truck crashes, which can nullify a car’s protections and result in passenger compartment intrusion. The Truck Safety Coalition has been a leading voice in advocating for stronger rear underride guards. Unfortunately, both Congress and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have missed opportunities to make a real improvement in this area.

The United States government is so far behind on regulating the issue of underride guards, that NHTSA, has proposed a rule to replace the antiquated U.S. standard with an outdated Canadian standard. The semitrailers manufactured by the recipients of the TOUGHGUARD qualification greatly exceed the Canadian force requirements.

The Truck Safety Coalition salutes IIHS and the abovementioned companies for this major step forward in underride protection. These rear guards will reduce the number of fatalities and injuries resulting from rear underride crashes. We call on Hyundai Translead, Strick Trailers LLC, and Utility Manufacturing Co. – the major North American semitrailer manufacturers whose trailers failed the 30 percent overlap test – to upgrade their rear underride guards to meet the IIHS TOUGHGUARD standard.  

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TRUCK SAFETY COALITION STATEMENT ON CONFIRMATION OF U.S. DOT SECRETARY ELAINE CHAO

The Truck Safety Coalition, a partnership of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), congratulates Elaine Chao on becoming the 18th Secretary of Transportation of the United States. Our volunteers, families of victims and survivors of large truck crashes, look forward to collaborating with Secretary Chao to improve truck safety in the United States.

As the Secretary noted in her nomination hearing, safety must be a top priority for the Department of Transportation. Since 2009, truck crashes have increased by 45 percent; truck crash injuries have risen by 57 percent; and truck crash fatalities have gone up by 20 percent, resulting in the number of truck crash deaths exceeding 4,000 in the United States for the first time since 2008. Meanwhile, the European Union, which has mandated a number of significant safety solutions, including automatic emergency braking and entry-level driver training with a minimum number of hours of behind-the-wheel training, saw their truck crash fatalities drop by 23 percent. Clearly, the laws passed in the EU have enhanced truck safety. We welcome the opportunity to work with Secretary Chao to implement similar policies and technologies.

We wish Secretary Chao success as she leads the Department of Transportation and we are eager to work together to reduce truck crashes, injuries, and fatalities in America.

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Statement on Selection of Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation

The Truck Safety Coalition, a partnership of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), looks forwards to working with Secretary-Designate of Transportation, Elaine Chao, and President-Elect Donald Trump on behalf of our volunteers who have lost loved ones in truck crashes to improve overall truck safety in the United States. Our volunteers know first-hand the devastating consequences of preventable truck crashes and have transcended their own losses and injuries to advocate for truck safety improvements to benefit all who drive on our roads.

A focus on safety is crucial given the troubling trends in truck safety. Truck crashes have skyrocketed by 45 percent between 2009 and 2015 and the injuries they cause rose at an even faster rate in that same period, climbing by a staggering 57 percent. Unfortunately, there are also more and more families like the ones who volunteer with our organization, who have an empty seat at their tables, as the number of people killed in truck crashes continues to grow. In fact, this past year marked the first time since 2008 that the number of truck crash deaths exceeded 4,000.

We wish Ms. Chao success on becoming our nation’s next top transportation official and offer our insight, experience, and assistance to her as she navigates the challenging issues in trucking that pertain to drivers, the vehicles, the industry as a whole, and the people with whom truck drivers share the road.

 

Senator Schumer Speaks Out in Support of Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters

Long Island Expressway (LIE) Speed Limit Is 55MPH But Any Long Islander Can Tell You That Big Rigs, Even Large Buses, Often Give It The Gas & Exceed The Limit, Putting Thousands Upon Thousands Of Everyday Drivers At Risk For Accidents—Or Worse 

Ready-To-Go Technology That Caps Big Rig Speed Has Far and Wide Support But Requires Feds To Approve Across-The-Board Installation

Schumer: Capping Big Rig Speed – On The LIE and Elsewhere – Should Get Green Light 

Standing nearby the Long Island Expressway, amidst passing trucks, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to swiftly finalize a proposed rule that would require electronic speeding devices in large trucks, buses and school buses over 26,000 pounds.

“For every Long Island driver who has been next to or in the crosshairs of a speeding big rig, a technology like this can’t come fast enough,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Trucks, and large buses that barrel down our roads unsafely put everyone in danger, but now that we have a sensible technology that can make extreme truck and bus speeds a thing of the past, we must push the feds to accelerate its swift adoption. The LIE is just one of New York’s big rig attractions, and so, capping speed in a safe and reasonable way will make this expressway and everyday drivers safer.”

“There is ample proof that speed limiting technology reduces crashes, prevents injuries, and saves lives.” said Steve Owings, who co-founded Road Safe America (RSA) with his wife, Susan, after their son Cullum was killed by a speeding big rig on Virginia Interstate highway. “When Ontario required speed limiters, they experienced a 24 percent reduction in truck crash fatalities. When truck companies that have voluntarily adopted speed limiters set them on their trucks, their trucks were less likely to be involved in highway speed crashes than trucks that do not set their speed limiters. With nearly thirty delays over the ten years since RSA filed the petition for rulemaking to require all trucks to be equipped with a heavy vehicle speed limiters set at a reasonable top speed, I am frustrated that NHTSA and FMCSA produced a proposed rule that only applies to new trucks. Susan and I hope that the agencies modify the proposal to apply to all trucks and issue a final rule immediately. We are grateful that Senator Schumer is pushing for this much-need technology that will make our roads safer.”

John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition, stated, “The heavy vehicle speed limiter rule is a life saving measure that is long overdue. At a time when truck crashes have shot up 44 percent between 2009 and 2014, and truck crash fatalities have exceeded 4,000 for the first time since 2008, our regulators should be working diligently to produce a final rule that applies to all large trucks as quickly as possible. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) note in their joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that this technology has been standard in most trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds since the 1990s. There is no reason this commonsense rule should not apply to all trucks. Our volunteers – families of truck crash victims and truck crash survivors – thank Senator Schumer for taking on this issue that causes too many preventable deaths and injuries.”

In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed installing large commercial trucks with electronic devices that limit their speeds on roadways, and requiring the devices to be set to a maximum speed. Schumer highlighted that while the federal rule making process can sometimes take years, this rule should be finalized as quickly as possible so that installation of the systems can begin quickly and drivers can be properly trained.

According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), approximately 70 percent of trucking companies already use electronic limiters. Schumer today said that adopting this proposal could help reduce the more than 1,000 fatalities involving heavy vehicles and speed every year. Schumer highlighted that while many trucks and large vehicles are operated safely, technology like speed-limiters, when used correctly can help crack down on the few bad actors who are putting lives in danger.

According to NHTSA, in 2014 there were 3,903 people killed and 111,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks nationwide. Of the people killed in large truck crashes, 83% were occupants of other vehicles or pedestrians.

According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, since 2009, there has been a 15 percent increase in fatalities and a 50 percent rise in the number of injuries in large-truck crashes.

According to the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2014, there were 10,742 police-reported large truck crashes in the state of New York. Of these crashes, 990 were related to unsafe speed.

According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), speed is a contributor to roughly 29 percent of all fatal crashes. And, driving too fast for conditions or over the posted speed limit was the primary reason for 18 percent of all fatal crashes where a large truck was deemed at fault.

According to NHTSA and FMCSA, even a small increase in speed among large trucks will have large effects on the force impact in a crash, and that’s why, Schumer said, this proposal is so important. According to estimates in the proposed rulemaking, limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 60 miles per hour would save an estimated 162 to 498 lives annually; limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 65 miles per hour would save 63 to 214 lives annually; and limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 68 miles per hour would save 27 to 96 lives annually. The FMCSA proposal would also prevent an estimated 179 to 551 serious injuries and 3,356 to 10,306 minor injuries with a maximum set speed of 60 miles per hour; 70 to 236 serious injuries and 1,299 to 4,535 minor injuries with a maximum set speed of 65 miles per hour; and 30 to 106 serious injuries and 560 to 1,987 minor injuries with a maximum set speed of 68 miles per hour.

Schumer today urged the USDOT to quickly approve this rule so that electronic speed limiters would be installed in trucks as soon as possible. Schumer said the rule should be finalized in a way that also ensures the continued safety of truck drivers by allowing them to safely accelerate and merge. Schumer said that the benefits of this proposal are two-fold: requiring electronic speeding devices in trucks would not only help save lives and prevent injuries, but also positively impact the environment. According to NHTSA and FMCSA, requiring speed limiting devices could result in fuel savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions totaling $850 million annually.

Schumer pointed to the number of fatalities involving large trucks in New York between 2009-2015, according to NHTSA:

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
New York State: # of Fatalities 107 120 114 100 118 98 126
Long Island: # of Fatalities 16 15 19 17 14 14 18
Long Island: % of Total Fatalities 14.95% 12.50% 16.67% 17.00% 11.86% 14.29% 14.29%
NYC: # of Fatalities 27 24 38 28 27 28 27
NYC: % of Total Fatalities 25.23% 20.00% 33.33% 28.00% 22.88% 28.57% 21.43%

*NYC includes Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island; and Long Island includes Nassau and Suffolk

 

Schumer’s letter to FMCSA Administrator Darling and NHTSA Administrator Rosekind appears below:

Dear Administrator Darling and Administrator Rosekind:

I write to you today to both applaud your efforts to commence a rulemaking on truck speed limiters and urge you to finalize this rule as quickly as possible. As you know, truck speed limiters, if implemented safely, have the potential to save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of crashes. While most truck drivers and other heavy vehicle operators operate safely, truck speed limiters can help prevent the handful of dangerous actors from inflicting high-speed damage on our roadways.

I appreciate the need to have a careful and thorough rulemaking process, but feel strongly that your agencies should do everything they can to move through this process and finalize this common sense rule as quickly as possible. I’d also urge your agencies to work closely with truck drivers to ensure that the rule is implemented in a way that still allows them to safely merge and operate their vehicles.

Throughout New York State we have had a long-history with high-speed truck related crashes. In 2014 alone, there were 10,742 policed-reported large truck crashes, 74 of which were fatal and 990 of which were related to unsafe speed. While truck speed limiters will not prevent all crashes, they will certainly significantly reduce both the number and severity of these accidents. It’s for these reasons that I urge your agencies to move swiftly to finalize this rule.

Thank you for your consideration, should you need further information please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

 

 

THUD Bill with Tired Trucker Provision Passes House Committee

For Immediate Release: May 24, 2016

Contact:  Beth Weaver 301-814-4088, beth_weaver@verizon.net

THUD Bill with Tired Trucker Provision Passes House Committee

The House Committee on Appropriations today passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, which included Section 132 – the tired trucker provision. We are disappointed that a majority of the committee opposed an amendment offered Congressman David Price (D-NC) to remove this and other anti-safety riders from the bill.

Daphne Izer, founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) said, “I am frustrated that year after year, our lawmakers are more focused on inserting corporate earmarks into must-pass bills than passing data-driven safety solutions that will save lives and prevent injuries. Not only does this special interest handout, which will change a federal safety rule, have no place in an appropriations bill, it has no place in any bill. The tired trucker provision has not been subject to any public scrutiny, committee hearings, or adequate safety review. Trucking industry lobbyists should not be able to use the appropriations process to drive their agendas, while everyday people like me are forced to wait years for meaningful safety reforms in the gridlocked legislative avenues available to the non-lobbying public.”

Jennifer Tierney, the Truck Safety Coalition’s North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator stated, “I was very pleased when I heard that Representative Price offered an amendment to remove several anti-safety riders from the THUD bill, and I thank him on his efforts on behalf of families, survivors, and the motoring public. After more than three decades of advocacy, however, I was not surprised that this commonsense, pro-safety amendment was rejected in favor of a corporate handout. With nearly 4,000 people killed and 100,000 injured year as a result of truck crashes, it is time for our lawmakers to finally acknowledge that increasing a truck driver’s driving and working hours is not the solution to the major safety issue of fatigue.”

“Ultimately, the rejection of the Price amendment has created a tradition that adversely affects policy as well as process. Nevertheless, the Truck Safety Coalition will continue to educate the public and lawmakers about policies and regulations that will reduce the number of large truck crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities.” Tierney concluded.

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

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Letter to the editor: Sen. Collins puts trucking industry profits before public safety

The May 11 column “Maine Voices: Common-sense restrictions on truck drivers’ hours must be preserved” makes inaccurate statements about anti-truck safety provisions championed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

There are about 500 truck crashes annually in Maine. Many crashes result in deaths and injuries, and the victims are usually Maine families.

Despite the carnage, Sen. Collins continues to be the star quarterback for special trucking interests seeking to repeal safety regulations that protect the lives of truck drivers and Maine families. National news stories have documented her legacy working on behalf of corporate trucking interests and, in turn, their generous largesse for her support.

Unfortunately, the annual government spending bill has become her private domain for pushing anti-truck safety measures. When trucking interests sought to significantly increase truck weights in Maine, Sen. Collins was ready to help. Last year, FedEx and others recognized a willing partner in Sen. Collins when they sought to overturn laws in 39 states, including Maine, and allow monster-sized trucks across the country.

And, for the third consecutive year, as a senior Appropriations Committee member, she slipped a provision into the bill to repeal the reasonable federal limits on the driving and working hours of truckers, although fatigue is a major cause of truck crashes.

However, this time she went even further and wrote into law an increase in the driving hours of truckers from 60 to 73 in a week. This is insane, but she has the temerity to actually claim it will be safer. This proposal had no congressional hearing, no scientific review and no public input. But it’s no problem if you are a well-connected trucking lobbyist.

Truck crashes kill 4,000 people and injure 100,000 more annually. Sen. Collins’ solution is to help corporate trucking interests protect their profits, but not public safety.

Joan Claybrook

Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Washington, D.C.

Link: http://www.pressherald.com/2016/05/20/letter-to-the-editor-sen-collins-puts-trucking-industry-profits-before-public-safety/

Change is Hard: Dawn King’s Comments on the Underride Roundtable

by Dawn King, President of the Truck Safety Coalition

Crash dummy survives!

Crash dummies waiting to go to work.
I’d never been a witness to a test crash before. I suppose not many people have. It’s kind of a surreal experience, especially for a person that’s had a loved one die in a violent crash.My husband and I, along with several other of our truck safety volunteers attended an all day conference at the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety in Charlottesville Virginia on Thursday.

And it wasn’t just us in attendance.

In an unprecedented move truck companies, trailer manufacturers, safety advocates, bicycle and pedestrian representatives, policy makers, and researchers were all together in one room to talk about the problem of truck underride.

Most of you don’t know what truck underride is, and I wish I didn’t have to explain it to you. But because our country is a generation behind Europe you probably haven’t seen a truck sporting a side guard to keep a car from traveling under the trailer in a crash.

Perhaps, if you’ve been in New York City or Boston recently, you’ve seen city trucks with side guards; those two cities have now mandated this safety precaution after several bicyclists and pedestrians were killed by falling beneath the trailers and being crushed by the wheels.

Side and rear underride is a huge problem outside cities too. As you pass a semi out on the freeway, and if it’s safe, glance over and see where the underside of that trailer would hit you if you slid under. Just about the height of your head. And if you slide under your airbags won’t deploy as there would be no impact of the engine and front of your car. The first impact would be the windshield, and that won’t save you.

And don’t think you’re safe if you hit a semi from behind. Many of the rear guards were built to 1953 standards and will collapse if you hit them with any speed. Once again, the only thing between your head and the back of that trailer will be the windshield.

In the lobby of IIHS.  No airbags in the old days.

So for years safety advocates, including the Truck Safety Coalition, has been asking the Department of Transportation to require better rear guards, and to start the process to mandate side guards. It’s another one of those no-brainer things that we just can’t seem to get done through normal channels.

Thursday’s conference wasn’t a normal channel. Never before has the industry met with the safety people to discuss making changes that would move ahead of any regulations that might some day come out of the D.O.T. Never before has such candid conversations been held, without animosity, without rancor, with only safety in mind.

It was amazing.

At noon we went into the lab and watched a test crash of a Malibu slamming at 35 mpr into the back of a semi trailer that had been equipped with a new, stronger rear guard. Some of us weren’t sure we wanted to witness such a thing, but we’re all glad we did.

The dummy survived this crash because the rear guard was strong.

Because in this case the new rear guard held up and the passenger compartment, crash dummy inside, was not penetrated. (You can watch the crash test here.) Everyone inside this particular car would have survived. For many people the test crash was the highlight of the day. But I thought the highlight was later in the program.

During the day we had speakers from New York City and Boston tell us about the processes they went through requiring side guards on trucks within their city limits. We had speakers from government talking about where in the regulatory process we are, speakers from trailer manufacturers talking about stronger rear guards that are ready for market now, from a truck company that has ordered 4,000 of the new, safer rear guards, and from Virginia Tech students who showed us their own new design for a stronger, safer rear guard.

Explaining one of their designs they didn't end up choosing to build.

Those students almost made me cry. They were undergraduates, the project assigned to them was to build a better rear guard for a semi truck. They, like most people, had never heard of underride crashes before. They learned about the problem, dreamed up a number of potential solutions, weeded their options down to four, and then figured out which one was the most plausible, most acceptable to both the trucking industry and safety advocates.

And then they built a it.

Virginia Tech student and a Truck Safety Volunteer who has been fighting for side guards since her dad was killed 33 years ago.

Incredibly 18 and 19 year old young people spent a year on this project, realized the importance of their work, and were brave enough to come and speak about it to a group of adults working in the industry. They were excited about their design and proud to show it off. And a room full of jaded adults sat respectfully listening, leaning forward, following along, congratulation the students at the end for a good design, inviting them to join the industry after they graduate. To think that this whole room of people, including the kids, was there to make the roads safer for everyone. Well. That just about made me tear up.

It should make you tear up too.

Because change is happening. It’s happening because we’ve moved past regulations and asked the industry to listen and to do what’s right. And they are responding. Not everyone. And not every request. But some. And some change will lead to more change. And every step we make toward safety saves another life.

Change is hard. But it’s not impossible.

Link: https://dawnkinster.wordpress.com/ 

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION ON RELEASE OF OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

ON RELEASE OF OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL

ARLINGTON, VA (December 16, 2015) – The United States Congress today released an omnibus spending bill that includes the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations legislation, H.R. 2577.

The Truck Safety Coalition worked closely with a coalition of survivors and families of truck crash victims, law enforcement, first responders, truck drivers, trucking companies, and safety advocacy groups to have 33-foot double tractor-trailers removed from the legislation. We hope to continue working with these groups to address missed opportunities to improve truck safety going forward.

We want to especially thank Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for their leadership, and the hard work of their staffs, in our fight against these longer, less safe trucks.

We successfully advocated for the exclusion of a measure hindering a rulemaking to determine the adequacy of minimum insurance for motor carriers. The minimum financial requirement has not been raised in over 35 years, and is woefully inadequate. Congress should not be using overly burdensome study requirements to stop attempts to evaluate the appropriate level of financial responsibility.

While we are disappointed that the Collins rider affecting hours of service (HOS) was included in the omnibus, we will continue to educate the public and our lawmakers about the dangers of tired truckers. Requiring a truck driver to work up to 82 hours per week will only cause more fatigue related truck crashes, and, in turn, more injuries and deaths. Rather than acquiescing to industry demands, Congress should be making data-driven decisions. We hope that the release of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Final Rule will help law enforcement isolate bad actors and help the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) obtain better data on truck driver fatigue.

Moving forward, we hope that Members of Congress will no longer try to use the appropriations process as a back door to advance industry-backed agendas. Policies that affect the safety and wellbeing of the public should be subject to open debate, research, and analysis.

Overall, the Truck Safety Coalition welcomes the improvements made to the THUD component of the omnibus spending bill, and will continue to work to improve the HOS rules.

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After Decades of Advocacy Truck Safety Coalition Welcomes FMCSA Release of Final Rule Requiring Electronic Logging Devices in Large Trucks

After Decades of Advocacy Truck Safety Coalition Welcomes FMCSA Release of Final Rule

Requiring Electronic Logging Devices in Large Trucks

Arlington, VA (December 10, 2015): The Truck Safety Coalition today welcomed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) release of a Final Rule requiring electronic logging devices (ELDs) in all interstate trucks as a long overdue, but much needed advancement in truck safety.

Daphne Izer, founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) said, “After advocating for nearly a quarter of a century, after our son Jeff was killed by a tired trucker, Steve and I are elated that the FMCSA has issued this rule that will reduce the deaths and injuries resulting from fatigue-related truck crashes and will hold the trucking industry to a higher standard of safety. We are confident that the realization of one of PATT’s primary goals will ensure that our roads will be safer from the dangers of fatigued truck drivers.”

Izer continued, “This technology will reduce the ability of bad actors to skirt federal regulations by modernizing the practice of logging hours. Also, the rule will protect truck drivers from harassment and coercion to exceed the hours they are allowed to operate. ELDs automatically record driving time, thereby removing the ability of truck drivers to circumvent compliance by simply writing down false hours. It is absurd that certain segments of the industry fought so hard to hold on to this archaic business practice from 1938. While this Final Rule is a testament to more than 20 years of successful advocacy to reduce truck driver fatigue, it is bittersweet. While we find solace in knowing that this ELD Final Rule will save an estimated 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from large truck crashes, we wish that we did not have to wait so long to prevail.”

Dawn King, President of the Truck Safety Coalition, which is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and PATT, also lauded the FMCSA for issuing the ELD Final Rule: “The inclusion of ELDs in large trucks is beneficial for everyone who travels on our nation’s road and bridges. Motorist and truckers will be safer as this technology will limit the ability of truck drivers to exceed Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, in turn, reducing the likelihood that big rig drivers will become fatigued while driving. Had this technology been in place back in 2004, I would have been able to celebrate at least one more Christmas with my Dad, who was killed by a fatigued driver just days before the holiday.”

“Additionally, this will enhance law enforcement officers’ capacity to enforce HOS restrictions and expedite the process of reviewing a truck driver’s logbook,” King said. “The shift from paperwork to electronic logging will not only save time, but money too – the FMCSA estimates that this rule will result in a benefit or more than $1 billion. While we are pleased with the many benefits that will come along with the implementation of this rule, I would be remiss not to mention our disappointment with the exemption to this rule for trucks built before model year 2000. There should be no exemptions to this life-saving, cost-reducing technology.”

John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition added, “We are pleased the ELD Final Rule has been issued, and we look forward to the full implementation by the year 2017. Though this was a major win in fighting truck driver fatigue, in order to fully address this fatal problem more must be done, like improving working conditions, screening for sleep apnea, requiring fewer hours behind the wheel, addressing parking needs, and restructuring compensation.”

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION, ON RELEASE OF FAST ACT CONFERENCE REPORT

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

ON RELEASE OF FAST ACT CONFERENCE REPORT

ARLINGTON, VA (December 1, 2015) –The Senate and House Conferees today released a conference report for the surface transportation reauthorization bill, H.R. 22. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, as it is now known, removed several dangerous policies, improved upon other anti-safety measures, but unfortunately, included some troubling provisions. We are extremely thankful to the Members of Congress on the Conference Committee that listened to the facts and to the people; their hard work is evidenced by the positive changes made to the final bill.

Sections limiting shipper and broker liability in hiring decisions, allowing greater exemptions to hours of service requirements for classes of truck drivers, and prohibiting states from providing further break protections for drivers were ultimately removed from the final bill. These provisions only benefitted private interests at the expense of public safety. We are glad that reason prevailed, and that the Conferees advanced the interests of their constituents rather than the interests of corporations.

Language regarding the minimum level of insurance required by large trucks, crash weighting, and teen truckers was also improved. Conferees removed some of the overly burdensome hurdles that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) would have to go through in reviewing the required level of minimum insurance for large trucks. They also decided that any crash weighting determination should be reviewed first by the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC), before requiring the FMCSA to engage in a costly ineffective review process. Additionally, by restricting the three-year teen trucker pilot program to veterans and servicemen above the age of 18, Congress greatly restricted the amount of higher-risk drivers that would be allowed to drive trucks across state lines.

Regrettably, measures allowing state and industry specific exemptions are still embedded in the bill. Weight exemptions for logging, milk products, and natural gas vehicles will endanger our roads and will set dangerous precedents for future weight exemptions. It is time for Congress to close the backdoor to nationwide weight increase and stop enacting these corporate earmarks.

Other troublesome provisions that remain include hiding Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores from public view and implementing a “beyond compliance” point system into CSA scores. Concealing scores that are collected by taxpayer-funded law enforcement officers on tax-payer-funded roads essentially robs the motoring public of two things: the ability to access data that they paid for and public safety.

Overall, the enhancements to the final bill shows that the Truck Safety Coalition’s concerns were heard, and we are thankful to the Members of Congress and their staffs that listened.

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JOINT STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF NEW STUDY, “UNCLOGGING AMERICA’S ARTERIES 2015”

JOINT STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF NEW STUDY, “UNCLOGGING AMERICA’S ARTERIES 2015”

DAWN KING, PRESIDENT OF TRUCK SAFETY COALTION,

BOARD MEMBER OF CITIZIENS FOR RELIABLE AND SAFE HIGHWAYS (CRASH)

JANE MATHIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF TRUCK SAFETY COALTION

BOARD MEMBER OF PARENTS AGAINST TIRED TRUCKERS (PATT)

Yesterday, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, and the American Highway Users Alliance, held a press conference on the results of a new study that identifies and ranks America’s worst 50 traffic bottlenecks, “Unclogging America’s Arteries 2015, Prescriptions for Healthier Highways.” While we welcome more information about the effects of congestion on our roads, we were stunned that safety was largely omitted from the discussion. This should not be the case considering there was a 17 percent increase in truck crash fatalities and a 28 percent increase in truck crash injuries between 2009 and 2013. Congress cannot simply acquiesce to the trucking industry’s demands; failing to identify opportunities to improve safety as part of the congestion discussion is a mistake.

Thanksgiving, for many, is a joyous time when families gather around the table to talk and reflect. In families like ours, however, the empty seat at our table serves as a constant reminder of our loved ones that were needlessly killed in truck crashes. This year during the Thanksgiving weekend, approximately 55 people will be killed and another 1,300 people will be injured in large truck crashes. We must do more to stop these truck crash deaths and injuries from occurring; we must do more to ensure that other families don’t have an empty chair this year at their tables.

Unfortunately, select shipping and trucking interests are currently advancing efforts in Congress that will benefit only them, while making our roads less safe for everyone. Our senators and representatives should not vote for the cornucopia of dangerous special interest handouts stuffed into the DRIVE Act. Trucking interests may be thankful for provisions allowing interstate teen truck drivers, permitting greater Hours of Service exemptions to certain classes of motor carriers, or slowing rulemakings to review the minimum level of insurance, but the motoring public and taxpayers will continue to pay with their wallets and lives.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves’ aggressive agenda to include language in the DRIVE Act and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill to increase truck size and weight speak to the ATA’s true intentions – increasing profits at any expense. There is no safety rationale for Congress to increase the length of double tractor trailers from 28 feet per trailer to 33 feet per trailer, which would result in a 22 foot longer stopping distance and a larger blind spot.

This misguided policy cannot be the solution to the troubling fact that trucks constitute four percent of the registered vehicles in this country, but are involved in 28 percent of all fatal work zone crashes. If anything, a longer stopping distance will make tragic crashes where the truck driver is unable to brake in time before colliding into the backs of cars stopped in traffic more common. We have seen these types of truck crashes all too often: an April crash in Georgia that claimed the lives of five nursing students, a June crash in Tennessee that left six dead, and just two days ago in Pennsylvania, two more lives were ended by a truck that crashed into them because the truck driver could not stop his vehicle in time.

Instead of considering longer trucks, Congress should have been working to include a mandate for forward collision avoidance mitigation (F-CAM) braking systems on all large trucks. This technology warns drivers and, ultimately, will apply the brakes if the truck is getting too close to another object or vehicle. It is disappointing that Congress did not include an F-CAM requirement in the DRIVE Act that would actually prevent crashes, reduce injuries, and save lives.

In yesterday’s statement, former governor Graves said, “these bottlenecks cost our economy billions with the delays they cause moving our nation’s freight. They are truckers’ worst nightmares come true, but one that tens of thousands of our nation’s freight haulers have to deal with daily.”

Taking someone’s life should be a trucker’s worst nightmare, not being delayed.

Please join us in spreading a message of safety this holiday season. This Thanksgiving should not be about the trucking industry being thankful for a holiday weekend in which as few dollars as possible were lost due to traffic and delays. It should be about the public being thankful for a safe holiday weekend in which as few people as possible were needlessly killed or injured in truck crashes.

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Statement of John Lannen on Passage of Wicker-Feinstein Amendment to Conduct Safety Study of Double 33s

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

Senate Votes in Favor of Wicker-Feinstein Motion

To Conduct Safety Study of Double 33-Foot Trailers by Voice Vote

ARLINGTON, VA (November 19, 2015) – Yesterday, sound judgement prevailed and the U.S. Senate passed, by voice vote, an amendment proposed by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to require a safety study on Double 33 tractor trailers before they are federally permitted.

This is a huge victory for survivors and victims of large truck crashes, law enforcement, truck drivers, trucking companies, truckload carriers, and the American motoring public. We appreciate that the Senate voted responsibly by seeking to fully understand the safety impact of these longer trucks before considering whether they should be allowed on our roads.

This was a great win, but there is still a long road ahead. The amendment has to make it out of the Conference Committee, which will consolidate the House and Senate versions of the THUD Appropriations bills. The final bill must then be passed again by both chambers and signed into law by the President. We hope that the Senate’s second vote in two weeks to oppose a federal mandate requiring Double 33s sends a clear and consistent message to the House that safety must remain a top priority in crafting transportation policy.

A recent poll showed that 77% of Americans reject the ideas of these larger Double 33 tractor trailers being driven on our roads. We are pleased that the Senate listened to three out of four Americans, instead of the handful of industry lobbyists who are pushing this dangerous agenda with no regard for its effect on public safety.

The Truck Safety Coalition is grateful for all the Members of Congress that listened to the stories of those who lost family members to truck crushes, and those who survived them. A special thank you goes out to Senators Wicker and Feinstein for their leadership on truck safety issues and for working tirelessly to underscore the dangers of allowing these longer trucks.

Statement of John Lannen – Passage of Wicker-Feinstein Amendment

Statement of John Lannen on Passage of Wicker Motion to Instruct Conferees on Safety Study of Double 33s

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

Senate Votes in Favor of Wicker Motion to Instruct Conferees

To Study Safety Effects of Double 33 Foot Trailers by Margin of 56-31

ARLINGTON, VA (November 10, 2015) – Today, reason prevailed and the U.S. Senate voted in favor of Senator Roger Wicker’s (R-MS) Motion to Instruct Conferees to require a safety study of Double 33s before mandating these longer trucks on our roads. This nearly 2-1 vote was a major win for survivors and victims of large truck crashes, law enforcement, truck drivers, trucking companies, truckload carriers, public health and safety groups, and the American public. We are pleased that the Senate employed a data-driven approach that allows for further study on the safety effects of Double 33s as well as an opportunity for public input.

In voting for this measure, Senators listened to the Department of Transportation recommendation that there should be no increase to truck size or weight because of insufficient data to support such a change. This was the right move, especially given the steadily worsening trends of truck crash fatalities and injuries. Congress should understand the impact of the length increase on pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, as well as the additional wear on our nation’s roads and bridges before mandating them. It is only logical to study this truck configuration further, which we already know takes 22-feet longer to stop and have a six-foot wider turning radius than Double 28s.

As the House and Senate head to conference to resolve the differences between their competing versions of the multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, the DRIVE Act (H.R. 22), there is still work to be done to improve the safety title of the final legislation. We ask negotiators to remove provisions that allow teenagers to drive trucks across state lines as well as those that hinder rulemaking to increase the minimum insurance required by large trucks. Rejecting measures to increase truck size and weight are a step in the right direction; however, allowing the aforementioned safety rollbacks to remain in the final bill would be a step backwards for safety.

The Truck Safety Coalition is especially thankful for all of the congressional support for truck crash survivors, the families of truck crash victims, and for our mission to promote safety. We want to specifically thank Senators Wicker and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for their outstanding leadership on this issue.

Statement of John Lannen on Passage of Wicker MTI (Double 33s)

Release: House Passes DRIVE Act (H.R. 22)

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2015

Contact: Beth Weaver | 301.814.4088 | beth_weaver@verizon.net

House Passes DRIVE Act (H.R. 22)

Truck Weight Increase Amendment is Defeated

More Anti-Safety Provisions Must Be Removed as Bill Heads to Conference

Washington, D.C. (November 5, 2015) – Today the House of Representatives passed its multi-year surface transportation reauthorization legislation, H.R. 22. While this bill still contains anti-safety provisions, a nation-wide truck weight increase is not one of them. A large and diverse coalition of truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, law enforcement, safety advocates, labor, truckers, and trucking companies joined together to urge Congress to reject heavier trucks. They listened. By a bipartisan vote of 236 against and 187 in favor of the measure, the amendment failed – a resounding rejection of the misinformation and specious arguments that heavier trucks will result in fewer and safer trucks.

It is unfortunate, however, that the House’s version of the Highway Bill still contains dangerous safety rollbacks and omits any safety advances, some of which were offered as amendments. We urge conferees to remove these anti-safety amendments that were approved in the House as well as dangerous provisions in the base bill:

Opposed Amendments Agreed to by House by Voice Vote:

Farenthold #76: Grandfathers heavy trucks on future I-­69 – agreed to by voice vote.

Ribble #23: Increases air-mile radius from 50 to 75 under Hours of Service – agreed to by voice vote.

Duffy #9, Crawford #60, Lipinski #106, Nolan #3: Various weight exemptions – offered as en bloc amendment.

Crawford #93: Allows towing of two empty trailers together – offered as en bloc amendment.

Neugebauer #67: No hazmat endorsement for farm trucks transporting fuel – offered as en bloc amendment.

All of these exemptions weaken safety and undermine law enforcement efforts.

Opposed Provisions in House Highway Bill:

Sec. 5404: Allowing Teen Truckers                    

  • There is no data that analyzes whether it is safe to allow teenagers to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate traffic. In fact, research has demonstrated that truck drivers younger than age 21 have higher crash rates than drivers who are 21 years of age and older.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) previously declined to lower the minimum age for an unrestricted CDL to 18 as part of a pilot program because the agency could not conclude that the “safety performance of these younger drivers is sufficiently close to that of older drivers of CMVs[.]” The public overwhelmingly opposed the idea with 96 percent of individuals who responded opposing the proposal along with 88 percent of the truck drivers and 86 percent of the motor carriers who responded.

Secs. 5221, 5223, 5224: Changing Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Data

  • Hiding critical safety information in the FMCSA’s CSA program will deprive consumers from learning about the comparative safety of motor carriers and bus companies when hiring a motor carrier company to transport goods or people.
  • Letting the public know the government safety scores promotes public accountability and improves safety. CSA is working as intended and includes a process so that it can continue to be fine-tuned and improved.

Sec. 5501: Delaying Rulemaking on Minimum Financial Responsibility

  • Minimum insurance levels have not been increased in more than 35 years.
  • During this time the cost of medical care has increased significantly and the current minimum requirement of $750,000 is inadequate to cover the cost of one fatality or serious injury, let alone crashes in which there are multiple victims.

Sec. 5224: Limiting Shipper and Broker Liability

  • Shields brokers and shippers from responsibility based on low standards related to hiring decisions. Reducing standards effectively removes safety from the carrier selection process.

We are thankful for the efforts and hard work of our network of volunteer truck safety advocates, who consist of truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims. Their tireless dedication to improving truck safety is admirable, and their voices were definitely heard on Capitol Hill this past month as we had our largest Sorrow to Strength Conference to date. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Representatives Lois Frankel (FL), John Lewis (GA), and Hank Johnson (GA). Had your commonsense amendments passed the House, motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and truck drivers would be much safer.

Trucking has become increasingly less safe, as seen by the 17% increase in truck crash fatalities and 28% increase in truck crash injuries between 2009 and 2013. Congress must do more to reverse these trends, not exacerbate them. We ask the conferees to remove the provisions that will endanger public safety, and, instead, promote policies that will make safety a number one priority.

Press Release: Passage of House Highway Bill

Victory for Truck Safety: Statement of John Lannen on Failure of Ribble Amendment

Contact: Beth Weaver | 301.814.4088, beth_weaver@verizon.net

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

House of Representatives Votes to Reject Truck Weight Increase on our Nation’s Highways by a Margin of 236 to 187

During Consideration of 6-Year Surface Transportation Bill (H.R. 22)

ARLINGTON, VA (November 4, 2015) – Last night, the House of Representatives voted and rejected an anti-safety amendment sponsored by Representatives Reid Ribble (WI), Kurt Schrader (CO), David Rouzer (NC), and Collin Peterson (MN). The amendment sought to increase the federal truck weight limit from 80,000-lbs. to 91,000-lbs. This vote was a victory for safety and for all those who travel on our highways. The American people have been clear and consistent in their opposition to heavier trucks and Members of the House listened.

In voting against this measure, Representatives dismissed recycled myths and instead made decisions driven by data. The Department of Transportation (DOT) conducted a study on Truck Size and Weight, required by Congress in MAP-21, and concluded that there should be no increase to truck size and/or weight. We are pleased that Members who voted in opposition to the Ribble Amendment appealed to logic and listened to the initial findings of the DOT study.

The Truck Safety Coalition is especially thankful for all of the Congressional support for our victims and for our mission to promote safety. During our biennial Sorrow to Strength conference, which took place two weeks prior to this vote, truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims came to Washington, D.C. to let their representatives know that there is a dire need to stem the increasing rates of truck crash deaths and injuries. Members were moved by the accounts of loss and tragedy.

We were proud to have joined a diverse coalition of safety advocates, law enforcement, labor, truck drivers, and trucking companies in this efforts. We are particularly thankful for the leadership of Representatives Jim McGovern (MA), Michael Capuano (MA), Lou Barletta (PA), Grace Napolitano (CA), and Jerrold Nadler (NY) in keeping safety at the forefront of the debate on the transportation bill.

Statement on Ribble Amendment

Truck Crash Survivor and Highway Safety Advocate Urges Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) to Give the Ax to Minnesota Overweight Log Trucks Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            Contact: Nancy Meuleners at nmeuleners@gmail.com
October 23, 2015

Truck Crash Survivor and Highway Safety Advocate Urges Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) to
Give the Ax to Minnesota Overweight Log Trucks Amendment

House Committee Transportation Bill Already Rife With Dangerous Trucking Provisions
as U.S. Traffic Deaths are on the Rise in 2015

STATEMENT OF NANCY MEULENERS
Minnesota Volunteer Coordinator, Truck Safety Coalition

(BLOOMINGTON, M.N.) After joining truck crash survivors and family and friends of truck crash victims to advocate for truck safety improvements on Capitol Hill this week, it was shocking to learn that a dangerous trucking provision is being pushed for my home state. I urge Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN) to drop his amendment and halt his pursuit of 99,000 lbs. log trucks on a section of Minnesota I-35 when the U.S. House of Representatives takes up consideration of its transportation bill, The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRR), H.R. 3763. Right now, Rep. Nolan’s amendment is on hold. Meanwhile, it appears that there will be numerous back room deals cut to benefit special trucking interests before the bill comes up for a floor vote, which could happen as early as next week and this could be one of them.

A life-long Minnesotan, I survived a horrific truck crash that left me permanently disfigured. As a result of my own experience, as well as those of my fellow truck safety advocates, I know first-hand about the dangers of sharing roadways with trucks and about the increase in risks and damages when those trucks are bigger and heavier. I urge Congressman Nolan to reconsider his actions. While his amendment is touted to improve safety by removing behemoth log and pulp trucks from Duluth’s local roads, it will instead expand their range to I-35. There is nothing to prevent them from continuing to drive down main streets.

In Minnesota truck crash fatalities increased the last two years according to data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); a 15 percent increase from 2011 to 2012, and 25 percent increase from 2012 to 2013. Seventy five Minnesotans were needlessly killed in large truck crashes in 2013, ensuring a lifetime of grief for their families and friends.

Truck crashes impose enormous economic costs on society; the annual cost to society from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles is estimated to be over $103 billion. I have undergone nearly 40 surgeries to repair major injuries after my truck crash. I can personally attest to the economic burden of large medical costs and loss of income that Minnesota families bear when a truck crash occurs. Congressman Nolan’s amendment to increase the range for overweight log trucks in Minnesota is not a safety solution but a safety setback for our families.

My fellow truck safety advocates and I stand together in calling on Members of the Minnesota congressional delegation to put the safety of our loved ones first and not special trucking interests. Rather than offering dangerous amendments we hope that Rep. Nolan will work to continue the legislative legacy of former Rep. Jim Oberstar who championed highway and truck safety. We urge him to work to strip anti-truck safety provisions from the STRR that will permit teen truckers to drive across the country, hide the safety scores of unsafe truck and bus companies, hinder the DOT from increasing minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers, stall safety rulemaking by imposing unnecessary burdens, and permit the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to extend its deadlines on long overdue safety rules.

Additionally, we adamantly oppose any provisions in the bill to increase truck size and weight limits at home in Minnesota or nationwide. The recent U.S. DOT Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study concluded there is a “profound” lack of data from which to quantify the safety impact of larger or heavier trucks and consequently recommends that no changes in the relevant truck size and weight laws and regulations be considered until data limitations are overcome.

We are not alone in our concerns. Public opinion is with us. By overwhelming margins in numerous public opinion polls over the last 20 years, the American public consistently and convincingly rejects sharing the road with bigger, heavier and longer trucks. The most recent poll in January 2015 by Harper Polling revealed that 76% of respondents oppose longer and heavier trucks on the highways and 79% are very or somewhat convinced that heavier and longer trucks will lead to more braking problems and longer stopping distances, causing an increase in the number of crashes involving trucks.

Every year on average, 4,000 people are killed nationally in truck-involved crashes and 100,000 are injured. We cannot continue to ignore these intolerable losses and injuries. A national surface transportation authorization bill should not be a legislative vehicle to pass special interest provisions that would never be supported by the public or pass scrutiny. Yet, this bill is chock-full of truck safety rollbacks that throw the safety agenda into reverse and further endanger everyone on the roads. I urge Congressman Nolan to work with us and seek sensible safety solutions to this public health and safety epidemic.

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Nancy Meuleners Statement Opposing Nolan Amendment

The Truck Safety Coalition Announces New President, Dawn King, and New Vice President, Jane Mathis

Arlington, VA (September 17, 2015) – The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), announced the election of Dawn King as its President and Jane Mathis as its Vice President, effective immediately.

Ms. King, a board member of CRASH, connected with TSC after her father, Bill Badger, was killed in a large truck crash in December of 2004. The tired trucker fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into her dad’s car just before Christmas. She and her family spent Christmas coping with the loss of their father and wondering what could be done to ensure others did not have to experience the hardship they were feeling. Dawn’s thoughts quickly became actions and she became an ardent advocate for truck safety. Her efforts include helping new families dealing with a tragic loss to working with new volunteers to transition into the difficult life of advocating for stronger safety standards, and communicating via the web and social media on transportation issues.

Ms. Mathis, a board member of PATT, also experienced loss as a result of a large truck crash in 2004. In March of that year, her son and his wife of five days were killed by a truck driver that fell asleep and rear ended their car, which was stopped in traffic. Following the crash, she learned about large truck crashes and became increasingly more involved in educating others through advocacy. As a result of Ms. Mathis’ truck safety advocacy efforts, she was appointed to be a member of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee. Ms. Mathis has been a guest speaker at a number of agency and law enforcement events, and a strong voice on issues such as fatigue.

“I am so pleased that my good friends and fellow truck safety advocates are taking on these new positions for our organization,” said Daphne Izer, founder and board member of PATT. “In their new roles as President and Vice President, Dawn and Jane will ensure that the Truck Safety Coalition continue the missions of CRASH and PATT, to reduce the number of death and injuries caused by truck-related crashes, provide compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educate the public, policy-makers, and media about truck safety issues.“

Press Release: REP. RIBBLE IGNORES TRUCK SIZE AND WEIGHT STUDY FINDINGS, PLANS TO INTRODUCE DANGEROUS LEGISLATION TO INCREASE TRUCK WEIGHT TO 91,000 LBS

Contact: Beth Weaver | 301.814.4088, beth_weaver@verizon.net

REP. RIBBLE IGNORES TRUCK SIZE AND WEIGHT STUDY FINDINGS, PLANS TO INTRODUCE DANGEROUS LEGISLATION TO INCREASE TRUCK WEIGHT TO 91,000 LBS

Truck Safety Advocates Oppose Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC (September 11, 2015) – U.S. Representative Reid Ribble (R-WI) plans to introduce a bill to increase the federal weight limit for large trucks from 80,000-lbs to 91,000-lbs. that is in direct opposition to the results of the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study recently conducted for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT study released earlier this year concluded that there should be no increase to truck size and weight due to a lack of data.

The Safe, Flexible, and Efficient Trucking Act, sponsored by Congressman Ribble, will increase the truck weight limit on Interstate Highways from 80,000 to 91,000 pounds, which will violate the 1975 Bridge Formula while ignoring infrastructure needs and a climbing highway death toll. Furthermore, the bill relies upon industry-funded junk science to justify the weight increase.

Dawn King, President of the Truck Safety Coalition, has been advocating for truck safety since her father, Bill Badger, was killed by a tired trucker who slammed his truck into her dad’s car. “Now is not the time to increase the weight limit of trucks, especially in Representative Ribble’s home state of Wisconsin. He should be focusing on the truth, like the fact that between 2009 and 2013, total fatalities in all crashes in Wisconsin have decreased by 3.2 percent, while large truck crash fatalities have increased by 50.9 percent; or that during this time 330 Wisconsinites were killed in large truck crashes. Instead, he is more concerned with much different figures – the profits of trucking companies. It is unfortunate that his bill prioritizes profits above the safety of the people he represents.”

The Safe, Flexible, and Efficient Trucking Act will result in further damage to America’s infrastructure and will jeopardize the safety of the American public. Adding an extra axle to a 91,000-pound truck will not mitigate the increased wear and tear these heavier trucks will cause to America’s crumbling bridges. For example, increasing the weight of a heavy truck by only 10 percent increases bridge damage by 33 percent. The claims that this weight increase will result in fewer trucks that are just as safe as current 80,000-pound trucks are false. Increases in truck size and weight over more than 35 years have never resulted in fewer trucks on American roads. Additionally, The DOT has found that six-axle configurations have higher crash rates than five-axle trucks. The DOT’s study determined that 91,000 pound trucks had a 47 percent higher crash rate than the standard 80,000 pound trucks in Washington State, which was the only state with available data on the proposed, heavier truck configuration.

“As a law enforcement professional, I have seen too many times when a truck and car collide. I have yet to see the car win,” said Stoughton Police Chief Greg Leck, who is also the Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police. “If we make trucks heavier, I do not see this situation improving. At a time when cars are becoming smaller, we do not need bigger trucks. Our job is to protect those who travel our roads and our goal is to have motorists arrive at their destinations safely. I do not believe heavier or longer trucks ultimately help us reach our goal.”

###

Senate Passes DRIVE Act – Worst “Safety Title” in the Last 25 Years

Public Health and Safety Groups and Family Members Who Have Lost a Loved One in a Preventable Crash Respond to the Passage of the 6-Year Highway Bill

Lawmakers Must Spend the Next Three Months Working to Get This Right –

the Cost of Inaction is Too High

Nearly 200,000 People will be Killed and 14 Million Injured in Crashes over 6 Years

Major Changes and Improvements Essential to Gain Public Support

Washington, D.C. (July 30, 2015) – Today the Senate passed the DRIVE Act (H.R. 22), the multi-year, multi-billion dollar surface transportation reauthorization bill that moves construction projects and industry interests forward, but highway and auto safety protections backwards. The legislation contains numerous provisions that pander to auto and trucking industries at the cost of more deaths and injuries on our streets and highways in the next six years. Many Senators, including Senators Nelson (D-FL), Blumenthal (D-CT), Markey (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Wicker (R-MS), Feinstein (D-CA) and Booker (D-NJ), stood with consumer and safety groups and families of crash victims and sponsored numerous amendments to strike anti-safety, special interest roll backs and add pro-safety proposals. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership thwarted consideration of nearly all of these safety-related provisions by blocking votes on all amendments except a few dealing with non-transportation issues.

National public health and safety organizations and families of victims of motor vehicle and motor carrier crashes urge Congress to remedy the indefensible anti-safety provisions in the DRIVE Act. Over the next three months, Congress needs to make essential changes and improvements to the bill.

Jackie Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, “This is the first time in over 25 years that the Senate has not advanced critical highway safety measures needed to stop the mounting carnage on our roads. Without changes and improvements the so-called DRIVE Act steers safety into a ditch. This bill should be towed away and taken in for serious repairs. If this bill becomes law by next summer, family road trips will be fraught with dangers because the Senate failed to protect public safety. Families will be sharing the road with more high risk teen truck drivers, more oversized triple trailer trucks, and more fatigued truck drivers exempted from hours of service rules. Additionally, the Senate bill will keep consumers in the dark about deadly safety defects in the used car they buy or the safety record of the company they hire to move their household goods.   It is imperative that over the next three months of the short-term patch, leaders in both the Senate and House fix these provisions and add the protections that are needed.”

Georges Benjamin, M.D., Executive Director, American Public Health Association stated, “Motor vehicle crashes impose an unnecessary emotional and economic toll on our citizens.  By any measure, 33,000 deaths and over 2 million injuries every year is a public health epidemic.  There are commonsense solutions available that can dramatically prevent and reduce the death and injury toll on our roads and highways. We know what to do and we need the political leadership to get it done.  I urge Congress to use the 3-month extension to readjust priorities and put the health and safety of the public first.”

Ken Rimer, stepfather of Natasha Weigel, victim of a General Motors ignition switch defect, “Since learning that Natasha was killed when her airbag failed to deploy as a result of the General Motors ignition switch defect, I have worked tirelessly to ensure other families don’t experience my pain and loss because of auto industry cover-ups and NHTSA carelessness. Numerous congressional hearings have identified practical legislative changes that are needed but the Senate bill rejected these reforms in favor of a ‘business as usual’ solution. Although the DRIVE Act includes a modest increase in monetary fines that the agency can assess, they are still grossly inadequate and will never serve as a serious deterrent to corporations purposely concealing defects that cause deaths and injuries. There must be criminal penalties for automakers that knowingly conceal defects that lead to death and injury. The political influence that auto makers have in Washington, D.C. should not come at the price of the American public. While nothing can bring my stepdaughter back, we need a system where auto executives are accountable to the public and not just corporate profits.”

Jennifer Tierney, Board Member of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Member of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, “In all my years of volunteering as a truck safety advocate since my dad was killed in a truck crash in 1983, I have never felt more abandoned by political leaders in the Senate, several of whom we have counted on as supporters in the past. Every year about 4,000 people needlessly die in truck crashes — the equivalent of a catastrophic commercial airplane crash every week. Congress would never consider passing legislation that upgraded airport facilities and advanced the aviation industry agenda but did nothing to improve public safety like it is with surface transportation in the DRIVE Act. The Senate would never let that happen, nor should it now in the face of truck safety needs that cry out for reasoned and reasonable safety countermeasures.”

Jack Gillis, author of The Car Book and Director of Public Affairs for the Consumer Federation of America, “Consumers expect that when there is a major safety problem, their political leaders will be on their side to address it and mitigate risk.  The Senate bill gets a failing grade for protecting corporate misbehavior and malfeasance over consumer safety.  The bill requires rental car companies to repair vehicles under recall for defects but not families who buy from a used car dealer.  Nearly three out of four car buyers purchase a used vehicle and the Senate did not close a loophole that allows used car dealers to sell unrepaired recalled vehicles.  This is unacceptable and offers second rate safety protections to the millions of consumers who choose to buy, or can only afford, a second hand car.”

Janette Fennell, Founder and President of KidsAndCars.org, “Eleven children have died so far this year in hot cars. Tomorrow is National Heatstroke Prevention and Awareness Day and we are sending the widespread message of ‘Look Before You Lock’ to the American public. But unfortunately, this message will not reach every family and children will continue to die until Congress requires the Department of Transportation to complete research and a rulemaking on technologies that warn a driver that a child remains in the back seat. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2015 (S. 1743) which includes this critical step, but it was a huge missed opportunity that the provision was not a part of the DRIVE Act passed by the Senate today. I urge Congress to take this vital step to save children’s lives during the three-month extension.”

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), “My son Jeff and three of his friends were killed on October 10, 1993, when a Walmart truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into their car on the Maine Turnpike. For the last 20 years, I have worked to combat the deadly problem of truck driver fatigue. The DRIVE Act continues to coddle special trucking interests by allowing whole segments of the industry to get permanent exemptions from critical safety rules. This is not a complicated issue but a real world danger that affects everyone on our roads, sadly even comedian Tracy Morgan who was seriously injured in a crash caused by a dozing truck driver. The public understands and overwhelmingly opposes longer hours for truck drivers. A poll conducted last October showed that 80% of Americans don’t want Congress to increase the working and driving hours of truck drivers. Public opposition and safety are secondary to the Senate’s continuing efforts to appease special trucking interests with safety repeals and setbacks that lead to more crashes, deaths and injuries.”

Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Today the Senate turned its back on the public and ran into the arms of special interests.   In all of my years working on highway and auto safety, I have never seen such a partisan and pointed attack on public safety. The DRIVE Act puts lifesaving highway and truck safety rules on the auction block and special interests were the highest bidders.  As Senators return home in August and are driving around their states, I hope they realize the damage they are doing and the danger they are causing by pressing ahead with this deadly legislation.  There should be no victory laps or self-congratulations for passing such a horrific bill.  I urge the public to contact their lawmakers and stand up for their right to safety. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has repeatedly stated that safety is his top priority and we support that position.  It is not enough for Congress to send President Obama a long-term transportation funding bill; it must also include a long-term commitment to reducing highway deaths and injuries. Right now the Senate bill falls dangerously short and sets back several Obama Administration safety initiatives.  It does not deserve the Administration’s support without major changes. There is still time to fix this bill. Members should do right by their constituents who cast a vote to get them elected, not just those lobbyists who wrote a campaign check.”

 

Press Release: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Advances Numerous Anti-Truck Safety Provisions in Transportation Spending Bill

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Advances Numerous Anti-Truck Safety Provisions in Transportation Spending Bill

Broad Coalition Says NO to Putting Corporate Profit before Public Safety; Crash Victims, Law Enforcement, Labor, and Safety Groups Urge Senators to Reject “Wish List” of Trucking Industry Interests

FULL APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE VOTE ON THURSDAY

WASHINGTON, DC (Tuesday, June 23, 2015) – Today, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) advanced the FY2016 THUD Appropriations bill which includes anti-truck safety provisions. A broad coalition including relatives of truck crash victims, law enforcement, labor and safety groups joined with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) afterwards to urge the Senate Appropriations Committee to reject these dangerous and deadly provisions.

The full Appropriations Committee will markup the spending bill on Thursday, when it is expected that Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) will offer an amendment, similar to the provision in the House-passed bill, to force every state to allow the operation of trucks pulling “double 33s” twin trailers that would amount to a combined length of 84 feet – longer than an eight story building.

A small minority of the trucking industry, including FedEx and the American Trucking Associations, is championing this major change in national transportation policy. It is widely opposed by trucking companies, the public, law enforcement, truck drivers, safety groups, short line railroads, and railway suppliers, among others. States and elected officials throughout the country have also spoken loud and clear on this issue.

A chronology of opposition:

  • On June 1, the S. Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to the House opposing the measures.
  • On June 5, the S. Department of Transportation released the long-awaited findings of the truck size and weight study and determined that because of profound data limitations, there should be no changes in federal truck size and weight laws and limits.
  • On June 5, Republican state lawmakers from Pennsylvania sent a letter pleading with Congress not to increase truck size and weights because of the enormous infrastructure, safety and financial costs to the state.
  • On June 10, 15 CEOs of major trucking companies across the country sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations leadership objecting to the economic and competitive consequences of such a major change in national freight policy to financially benefit a few select companies like FedEx and others.
  • On June 16, the Illinois State Senate unanimously passed a resolution against federal changes in truck size and weight laws.
  • On June 18, Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee stating that there has not been sufficient dialogue on the impacts of these provisions and the appropriate committees of jurisdiction have not reviewed them.
  • And, today, in the home state of Appropriations Committee Chair Thad Cochran (R-MS), the Mississippi Transportation Commission passed a resolution opposing bigger and heavier trucks because it will override their decision-making and degrade safety on Mississippi roads.

The following quotes are from speakers at today’s U.S. Capitol news conference:

Jackie Gillan, president, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety:

“Before today is over, 11 people will die in large truck crashes and 275 more will be injured. We urge Congress to put the brakes on the runaway trucking industry agenda of safety repeals and rollbacks. It is on a deadly collision course with public safety. Everyday opposition is growing and the evidence is more compelling that anti-truck safety measures will result in more crashes, deaths and injuries.”

Joan Claybrook, chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

“It’s not enough that trucking interests want victims and their families to bear the emotional costs of truck crashes but they also want them to bear the economic costs of hospitalizations and medical care. It is literally a trucking industry ‘hit and run’ leaving innocent truck crash victims and their families on the side of the road without sticking around to help.”

Lisa Shrum (Fayette, MO) whose mother Virginia and stepfather Randy were killed in a truck crash involving a FedEx double trailer truck:

“I urge the Senators on the Appropriations Committee to think about your families and their safety before you vote to put FedEx in the driver’s seat and ignore the dangers of oversized and overweight trucks. Our families need your protection.”

Fred McLuckie, International Brotherhood of Teamsters:

“More than 600,000 of our 1.4 million members start their workday by turning a key in a vehicle. The road is their workplace, roads that are congested like never before. It is irresponsible to allow larger, heavier trucks on our highways while potentially allowing employers to keep drivers on the road for more than 80 hours a week.”

Andrew Matthews, Chairman, National Troopers Coalition:

“On behalf of the National Troopers Coalition’s 42,000 members, we ask the Senate to oppose any amendment forcing the states to allow heavier and longer trucks on our nation’s highways. Every day our members witness the dangers that these longer tractor-trailers pose to the motoring public and our troopers. If ‘Twin 33s’ become legal, this could ultimately replace 53-foot singles as one of the most commonly used configurations.”

Ed Slattery (Lutherville, MD), board member, Parents Against Tired Truckers, whose wife Susan was killed and sons, Peter and Matthew, seriously injured in a triple-trailer truck crash caused by a truck driver who fell asleep behind the wheel:

“I urge Senators in both parties to think about the thoughts coursing through my head each night as I go to sleep. You think about re-election. I think about Matthew having another seizure in the middle of the night. You think about campaign promises that you’ve made. I think about what the last seconds of my wife’s live were like. Did she see the truck barreling down on her in the rear view mirror? Does she know her boys lived, albeit severely injured? You might wonder what you’d do if this happened to your family. I don’t have to wonder. I urge the Senate to vote for families. I urge you to vote against heavier trucks that threaten our highways and bridges. I urge you to vote for the American people who oppose larger and heavier trucks by a very large majority.”

Robert Mills, Officer, Forth Worth (TX) Police Department:

“I am on the highways every day for my job. I see firsthand the dangerous conditions motorists, truck drivers and law enforcement face. It confounds me that Congress is considering actions to make our roads even less safe considering 4,000 people die every year in truck crashes and nearly 100,000 more are injured.”

 

Media Advisory: News Conference to Stop Assault on Truck Safety

MEDIA ADVISORY

Truck crash victims, law enforcement, safety advocates to join Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) as Senate is poised to consider dangerous special interest riders including “Double 33 Trailers” and “Tired Truckers” provisions passed by House in FY 2016 transportation spending bill

WHAT:          

NEWS CONFERENCE to urge the Senate Appropriations Committee to stop the unprecedented assault on truck safety led by large trucking company lobbyists who used backdoor maneuvers to slip several anti-truck safety provisions into the FY 2016 transportation spending bill (HR 2577) narrowly approved by the House on June 9.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) will mark up the Senate’s FY 2016 transportation appropriations bill on Tuesday, June 23 and the full Appropriations Committee on Thursday, June 25. News conference speakers will call on the Senate committee to reject these stealth riders that made it into the House bill without any hearings, public input or evaluation of the impacts of these rollbacks on safety and the nation’s roads and bridges.

WHEN:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 2:30pm

WHERE:

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) Room 208, Washington, D.C.

WHO:

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and a leading voice for improved commercial motor vehicle safety. On June 18, Senator Blumenthal and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations leadership urging them to reject any effort to legalize double 33-foot trailers on the nation’s highways.

Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Jackie Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (INVITED)

Andy Matthews, Chairman of the National Troopers Coalition, which represents 42,000 State Troopers from 41 states around the country, and President of the Connecticut State Police Union.

Lisa Shrum of Fayette, Missouri, whose mother Virginia Baker and stepfather Randy Baker were killed in a crash on October 10, 2006, involving a FedEx double trailer truck. Lisa is a victim advocate with the Truck Safety Coalition.

Ed Slattery of Lutherville, Maryland. On August 16, 2010, Ed’s wife Susan was killed and their two sons, Peter and Matthew, were severely injured when a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel of a triple-trailer truck on the Ohio Turnpike, forcing them into the semi-trailer ahead. Matthew suffered massive head trauma, and is permanently disabled. Ed is a board member of Parents Against Tired Truckers.

Officer Robert Mills, Fort Worth (TX) Police Department, one of the nation’s leading commercial motor vehicle safety law enforcement experts.

BACKGROUND:

The safety rollbacks, repeals and exemptions in the House-passed transportation spending bill (HR 2577) would result in more overweight and oversized trucks driven by overworked and overtired truckers across the nation at the cost of more death and traumatic injury by:

  • Forcing states to allow FedEx double 33-foot trailers throughout the country, taking away a state’s right to set trailer lengths. 39 states currently prohibit double 33 tractor-trailer combinations, which are at least 84 feet in length – the height of an 8-story building.
  • Permanently increasing truck driver working and driving hours up to 82 hours per week and killing the “weekend off” for two nights of restorative rest.
  • Defunding a public rulemaking underway at the Department of Transportation that is reviewing and assessing if minimum insurance requirements for trucks and passenger-carrying buses are adequate. They have not been changed since 1985.
  • Giving special interest carve outs to increase the current federal truck weight limits from 80,000 lbs. up to 129,000 lbs. in Idaho, raise truck lengths in Kansas and possibly additional state exemptions that could be offered during Committee mark-up that would further damage already-crumbling roads and bridges and rollback safety.

KEY FACTS:

  • Every year 4,000 people are killed and nearly 100,000 are injured, on average, in truck crashes.
  • Large truck crash fatalities increased 17% from 2009 through 2013 while total traffic fatalities declined by 3%.
  • The number of people injured in large truck crashes increased 28% from 2009 through 2013 while the number of people injured in all traffic crashes increased by only 4%.
  • In fatal two-vehicle crashes between a large truck and a passenger motor vehicle, 96% of the fatalities were occupants of the passenger vehicle.
  • Commercial motor vehicle crashes cost our nation $99 billion annually.

CONTACT: Bill Bronrott, 202-270-4415 and bronrott@gmail.com

Joint Statement on Tracy Morgan Settlement

Advocates.Crash.PATT

JOINT STATEMENT OF

JACKIE GILLAN, PRESIDENT OF ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY,

JOAN CLAYBROOK, CHAIR OF CITIZENS FOR RELIABLE AND SAFE HIGHWAYS,

AND DAPHNE IZER, FOUNDER OF PARENTS AGAINST TIRED TRUCKERS

ON

TRACY MORGAN SETTLEMENT ON CRASH INVOLVING TIRED TRUCKER REACHED AS CONGRESS POISED TO PASS ASSAULT ON TRUCK SAFETY LAWS

As the one-year anniversary approaches of the horrific truck crash involving a tired trucker behind the wheel of a Walmart truck which hit and killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured Tracy Morgan and two others, Congress is poised to launch an all-out assault on truck safety by passing a federal spending law that guts and rolls back several lifesaving laws. Recent news stories indicate that Walmart and the crash victims including Tracy Morgan have reached a financial settlement.

Despite alarming increases in truck crash deaths and injuries since 2009, some members of Congress are pushing a legislative overhaul of lifesaving truck safety laws and rules in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill at the request of influential industry executives. The House of Representatives will take up this bill for floor debate next week. So-called “riders” in the federal spending bill will force every state to allow extra-long trucks pulling double 33 foot tractor trailers throughout the country, dramatically increase working and driving hours for truck drivers to 82 hours a week, carve out exemptions to federal truck size and weight laws, and stop a public rulemaking reviewing minimum insurance coverage for trucks and passenger carrying buses.

“Unfortunately, crashes like this one involving a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel will continue to kill and maim innocent families if Congress continues to pander to the wishes of special trucking interests. The House is taking up a federal transportation spending bill next week that will result in oversized and overweight trucks on our roads driven by overworked and overtired truckers. Public opinion polls are clear and convincing. By large majorities the public does not support any of these changes being pushed by special interests behind closed doors,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

“Truck crash fatalities have gone up by 17% and injuries by 28% over the last four years. Every day about 10 people die in truck crashes and 275 more are injured. Every year an average of 4,000 people needlessly die in truck crashes and 100,000 more are injured. Commercial motor vehicle crashes have a price tag of $99 billion annually. The economic and emotional costs to families and our economy are staggering. Yet, instead of advancing public safety, proposals are now being considered in Congress advancing industry profits,” said Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the Carter Administration.

The House spending bill for the Department of Transportation includes the FedEx plan to force every state to allow extra-long, dangerous trucks pulling double 33 foot trailers.  Another provision will extend the dramatic increase in the weekly working and driving hours of truck drivers by taking away their weekend off allowing them to work 82 hours a week.  This change was championed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) last year. There are also truck size and weight exemptions for states that dramatically exceed current limits.  Finally, trucking interests are trying to stop an on-going and public agency rulemaking to review and determine if insurance requirements set in 1985 are adequate for motor carriers including trucks and passenger carrying buses.

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), who lost her son Jeff in a crash caused by a Walmart driver who fell asleep at the wheel said, “Truck drivers are being pushed beyond physical and mental limits to work up to 82 hours a week, more than double the average work week of most Americans. And, truck crash fatalities are on the rise. Yet, ignoring these sobering facts, Congress seems dead-set on putting more tired truckers on the road. This will jeopardize their lives and the lives of our family members. Backroom deals to gut effective and needed truck safety laws will only benefit trucking interests and not families like mine.”

Izer continued, “We need Congress and the Obama Administration to stand up for innocent motorists and truck drivers. The Tracy Morgan crash anniversary should serve as a reminder that 4,000 people being killed in truck crashes and 100,000 more being injured is not acceptable. If Congress prevails then President Obama should veto this bill and not lose any sleep over putting the safety of our families first and not giving a ‘free pass’ to trucking industry interests to plow over current safety laws.”

##

Contact: Beth Weaver 301-814-4088 or beth_weaver@verizon.net

 

Maryland Truck Crash Victims’ Families Urge Chairwoman Mikulski to Remove Language from Omnibus Provisions to Increase Truck Driver Work Hours

MARYLAND TRUCK CRASH VICTIMS’ FAMILIES URGE CHAIRWOMAN MIKULSKI TO REMOVE LANGUAGE FROM OMNIBUS PROVISIONS TO INCREASE TRUCK DRIVER WORK HOURS

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

WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2014) – Ed Slattery and Larry Liberatore, both Maryland residents who lost loved ones in truck crashes due to truck driver fatigue, sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) urging the chairwoman to ensure that critical regulations governing truck safety remain in full effect and are not rolled back in the 2015 government spending bill. Two days remain until the deadline to pass a spending bill expires. The letter comes in support of public safety, labor, public health, and consumer groups as well as Administration efforts to ensure that truck drivers receive adequate rest and are not driving fatigued on the nation’s roads and highways.

“As you know from our meetings, letters and emails, truck driver fatigue irrevocably altered our families and left our remaining members afflicted with grief and pain,” the safety advocates and Truck Safety Coalition volunteers wrote. “Larry lost his son, Nick, when a tired trucker carrying a load of steel veered across three lanes, and ran over the car in which Nick was a back seat passenger. Ed lost his wife, Susan, and his sons, Matthew and Peter, were seriously injured when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel of his triple-trailer truck and ran over their family’s car and then burst into flames. Peter was conscious to hear the paramedics declare his mother dead and Matthew suffered permanent traumatic brain injury. Truck driver fatigue crashes are sudden, brutal and unforgiving.”

Special trucking interests are now working with Senator Collins (R-ME) to repeal a truck safety regulation that will result in a significant increase in the working hours of truck drivers from 70 to 82 hours and a reduction in their off-duty rest time. This rider comes despite overwhelming public opposition (80 percent) to raising the number of work hours for truck drivers. In addition, 80 percent of Americans say they would feel less safe if legislation were passed to raise the number of hours a semi-truck driver is allowed to work in a week from 70 to 82 hours. Truck driver fatigue is a known major safety problem, and has been for over 70 years. The crash that happened last summer, when comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured and his friend, James McNair, was killed on the New Jersey Turnpike by a tired Walmart truck driver, is but one example of the devastation that occurs from fatigue.

The letter continues, “The current hours of service rules governing rest requirements for truck drivers are based on years of study and sound scientific research in addition to a review of public comments. They should remain firmly in place.  In 2012 large trucks were involved in 3,700 accidents with close to 4,000 fatalities and 104,000 injuries. With so many crashes, we should be examining further limitations on hours of service, not suspending the rules currently in place. At the very least, hours of service requirements should not be suspended during further study, but rather maintained until evidence illustrates a change would not pose a threat to public safety.”

Read the full letter here.

###

Senators Blumenthal and Booker Urge Leader Reid to Prevent Longer Hours for Truck Drivers

For Immediate Release:

December 8, 2014

Contact: Josh Zembik (Blumenthal) – 202-224-6452

Josh_Zembik@blumenthal.senate.gov

Monique Waters (Booker) – 202-224-8150

Monique_Waters@booker.senate.gov

BLUMENTHAL, BOOKER URGE MAJORITY LEADER REID TO REMOVE FROM OMNIBUS PROVISIONS THAT ROLL BACK REGULATIONS GOVERNING TRUCK SAFETY

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging the Senate Majority Leader to ensure that critical  regulations governing truck safety remain in full effect and are not rolled back in the 2015 government spending bill, which will likely be on the Senate floor later this week. The letter comes in support of Administration efforts to ensure that truck drivers receive adequate rest and are not driving fatigued on the nation’s roads and highways.

“We are extremely disappointed that despite our grave concerns, this matter is moving forward through the appropriations process, rather than with extensive study and debate,” the senators wrote. “This issue is far too important to have been altered outside of the committee of jurisdiction and without debate by the Senate.

“The current hours of service rules governing rest requirements for truck drivers are based on years of study and sound scientific research in addition to a review of public comments. They should remain firmly in place.  In 2012 large trucks were involved in 3,700 accidents with close to 4,000 fatalities and 104,000 injuries. With so many crashes, we should be examining further limitations on hours of service, not suspending the rules currently in place. At the very least, hours of service requirements should not be suspended during further study, but rather maintained until evidence illustrates a change would not pose a threat to public safety.”

The full text of the letter is below and as a PDF here.

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

We have serious concerns with the suspension of hours of service rules designed to prevent truck driver fatigue in the Fiscal Year 2015 omnibus appropriations bill. The suspension of the rules could force tired truckers to stay on the road for longer periods of time, impairing the safety and wellbeing of the public. This provision should not move forward without further study and debate. We urge you not to include it in the omnibus legislation.

In August, we wrote to Senator Mikulski outlining serious safety concerns and highlighted important testimony from a recent hearing held in the committee of jurisdiction that underscored the dangerous implications of rolling back these critical, life-saving rules. We are extremely disappointed that despite our grave concerns, this matter is moving forward through the appropriations process, rather than with extensive study and debate.  This issue is far too important to have been altered outside of the committee of jurisdiction and without debate by the Senate.

The current hours of service rules governing rest requirements for truck drivers are based on years of study and sound scientific research in addition to a review of public comments.  They should remain firmly in place.  In 2012 large trucks were involved in 3,700 accidents with close to 4,000 fatalities and 104,000 injuries. With so many crashes, we should be examining further limitations on hours of service, not suspending the rules currently in place.  At the very least, hours of service requirements should not be suspended during further study, but rather maintained until evidence illustrates a change would not pose a threat to public safety.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and former Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne Ferro, have both stated the current rules enhance safety and there is no data or evidence to support suspending the rules. It is estimated that the current hours of service rules can prevent 1,400 crashes, 19 fatalities and 500 injuries each year.

Some in the industry, however, seem more interested in the profits that come with drivers working longer hours than with the safety benefits that come from ensuring truck drivers receive adequate rest.

America’s truck drivers work long grueling hours to deliver goods across the nation.  They are a vital part of our economy, and we owe it to these workers and the people driving on our roads to ensure that fact-based science-driven policies are in place, rather than throwing out the rules to put profits over safety.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. If there is any further compromise that can be reached to protect individuals from needless accidents, injuries and fatalities, we urge you to give it due consideration.

Sincerely,

Richard Blumenthal                                                               Cory A. Booker

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

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.”

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

PRESS RELEASE: Truck Crash Survivors and Victims Urge Congress to Stop Assault on Truck Safety

Contact: Beth Weaver 301.814.4088,/beth_weaver@verizon.net

Congress Poised to Increase Truck Driver Hours of Service

In Aftermath of Tracy Morgan Truck Crash

Truck Crash Victims & Survivors, Public Health & Safety Groups and Truck Drivers Urge Congress to Stop Assault on Truck Safety in Government Funding Bill

Secretary Foxx Should Recommend Veto if Anti-Safety Strikes Are Taken

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 3, 2014)-Leaders of the nation’s public health and safety, labor, environment and consumer groups together with victims and survivors of truck crashes urged Congressional leaders involved in the negotiations of the funding bill to reject non-related, anti-safety provisions from being included. Crash victims and organizations also pressed the Obama Administration to veto any spending bill that will result in more highway deaths and injuries. Corporate trucking and shipping interests are pushing a long and deadly “wish list” including allowing significant truck weight increases for several states; forcing 39 states to allow longer trailer lengths of 33 feet on streets and highways to benefit FedEx and other trucking companies; and, rolling back the current hours of service limits for truck drivers by eliminating the two-day weekend off-duty for truck drivers to rest. The industry-backed proposal will increase the current working and driving hours of truck drivers from 70 to 82 hours a week and greatly contribute to fatigued truck drivers.

With only 8 days before funding expires to keep the federal government open, truck crash victims and survivors and organizations also sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx urging him to recommend a presidential veto of any funding bill that includes anti-truck safety, special interest exemptions to federal safety laws and rules. Enactment of any of these anti-safety measures will have a profound and lasting impact on highway safety, deaths and injuries for years to come.

Joan Claybrook, Chair of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), stated, “President Obama took a bold stance objecting to legislation being negotiated to extend expiring tax breaks for well-connected corporations while neglecting working families. Similarly, we urge the White House to reject any funding bill that puts greedy special interest exemptions for well-connected corporate trucking and shipping interests before the safety of millions of innocent American families and truck drivers on our streets and highways every day.”

“The Omnibus should not be a testing ground for policies that denigrate highway safety and further deteriorate our crumbling infrastructure,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President.

Jackie Gillan, president, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated, “These special interest riders have not been subject to any committee hearings or adequate safety review and are being decided by Congress behind closed doors. Public opinion polls clearly and consistently show that Americans do not want to share the road with bigger and longer trucks driven by overworked and overtired truckers. The American public will pay with their lives and their wallets if Congress gives in to the anti-safety agenda of trucking interests.”

Truck crashes are a serious, deadly and costly problem to families, our infrastructure, our health care system, and to the economy. Large truck crashes are on the rise. In 2012, nearly 4,000 people were killed and 104,000 more were injured. The annual cost to society from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles is estimated to be over $99 Billion.

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), added, “The number of people killed in truck crashes is equivalent to a major airplane crash every week of the year. Congress should not be listening to well-heeled and well-connected trucking executives who want to push truck drivers to work 82 hours in a week. Truck driver fatigue is a major serious threat to everyone on the road. My teenage son was needlessly killed by a Walmart driver who fell asleep at the wheel. I am shocked that this proposal to eliminate the two-day weekend off-duty for truck drivers to rest is being seriously considered by Congress in the aftermath of the horrific crash that seriously injured Tracy Morgan and killed James McNair.”

Read the Letter to Secretary Foxx.

Read the Letter to Leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees.

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FMCSA Steps Closer to Correcting Insufficient Minimum Insurance Requirements for Motor Carriers

FMCSA STEPS CLOSER TO CORRECTING INSUFFICIENT MINIMUM INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS

Truck Crash Survivors and Families of Truck Crash Victims Support Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Urge FMCSA to Ensure that Truck Crash Damages are Adequately Addressed

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 2, 2014) – On Friday, November 28, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an advanced noticed of proposed rulemaking to evaluate options for increasing the level of minimum insurance requirements and for future rulemaking. Minimum insurance is the absolute bare minimum amount of insurance coverage that trucks are required to carry in order to operate, and should adequately cover the damages resulting from a truck crash. Minimum insurance on motor carriers has not been revised for over 30 years since it was set at $750,000 for carriers of property. Increases to minimum insurance for 30 years of medical care inflation are necessary and long overdue. Current minimum insurance levels for motor carriers frequently fail to adequately cover the property damage and human costs caused by truck crashes.  As a result, private citizens are forced to unfairly subsidize motor carriers that comply with federal rules yet still lack sufficient insurance coverage. Last week’s step toward rulemaking follows decades of truck safety advocacy by families who have been personally impacted as a result of insufficient minimum insurance requirements.

Kate Brown, Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) Illinois Volunteer Coordinator and Illinois State Freight Advisory Committee (ISFAC) member after her son Graham was permanently, partially disabled in a 2005 truck crash said, “Our families’ losses are two-fold.  First, we are forced to bear the costs of a lifetime of grief and suffering when loved ones are needlessly killed and endure debilitating injuries. Second, we are forced to assume a tremendous financial burden that drains our savings and threatens our financial security.”  Brown added, “Graham’s medical bills exceeded the carrier’s insurance within the first couple of months of his hospitalization. Our personal savings and retirement accounts were sacrificed to get him the care he needed.”

Minimum insurance requirements should be increased immediately to compensate for 30 years of medical care cost inflation. Additionally, the minimum insurance level should be reassessed on a yearly basis to ensure that it is fulfilling its intention. Truck crashes have the capacity to inflict catastrophic damages on multiple victims and families. Motor carriers should be required to carry adequate insurance per claimant, rather than per crash so that each person involved in the crash has access to sufficient resources in order to cover the loss of their loved ones, their medical expenses, loss of income and loss of property.

Jackie Novak, TSC Volunteer, said, “Some segments of the motor carrier industry choose not to have sufficient insurance to cover all of their damages caused in a crash. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is aware of the gap between insurance coverage and costs, and has been exceedingly slow to issue a rule to close the gap. Every day that they fail to do so is an unconscionable burden on our families.”

Novak’s son, Charles “Chuck” Novak, and his girlfriend, Theresa Seaver, were killed in a 2010 truck crash that claimed the lives of three others. A total of 15 were killed or injured in that crash. Novak added, “The motor carrier that caused the crash only held a $1 million policy, slightly higher than the minimum now required under federal rule.”

Marianne Karth, a TSC Volunteer, after losing her daughters AnnaLeah and Mary in a 2013 truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son, launched the “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety” petition. The Karth family gained more than 11,000 supporters seeking to improve truck safety and specifically to raise minimum insurance level requirements. The Karths delivered the petition to the U.S. DOT in May 2014.

Karth said, “We urge the FMCSA to heed the groundswell of support to increase minimum insurance levels that is evident in our petition. Act expediently! Thirty years of insufficient coverage is long enough. Families that pay such a high emotional price should not be forced to also bear the financial burden for their loss from a truck crash.”

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Read this Statement from Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, on the 60 Minutes Report on our Crumbling Infrastructure

Last night, 60 Minutes aired a segment on America’s infrastructure, “Falling apart: America’s neglected infrastructure.”  Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, released a statement on this report. In this statement, Ms. Gillan stated that,

The data is clear and indisputable.  Bigger trucks mean bigger infrastructure damage, bigger safety threats and bigger economic costs to the public.

Read all of Jackie Gillan’s statement here.

Press Release: New Survey Shows Strong Public Opposition to Longer Truck Driver Working Hours

New Survey Shows Strong Public Opposition to Longer Truck Driver Working Hours

CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088, beth_weaver@verizon.net

Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2014) – Highway safety groups today released the results of a survey conducted by Lake Research Partners demonstrating overwhelming public opposition, 80%, to Congress raising the number of hours a semi-truck driver is allowed to work in a week.  This issue was recently brought to public attention after a semi-truck driver crashed into a limobus injuring Tracy Morgan and killing James McNair. The poll was commissioned to gauge public views on this issue after a Senate committee approved legislation that would change current federal law to increase truck drivers’ work week from 70 to 82 hours and take away the two-day weekend.  Survey results available: www.saferoads.org and www.trucksafety.org.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman James McGovern (D-MA) joined Jackie Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates); John Lannen, Executive Director, Truck Safety Coalition (TSC); Joshua Ulibarri, Partner, Lake Research Partners; Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH); James Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Daphne Izer, Co-Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT); and Linda Wilburn, Board Member, PATT, on a media call with reactions to survey results.

Advocates’ President Jackie Gillan, stated, “This survey reveals a clear disconnect between what the public wants and what special trucking interests want from Congress at the expense of public safety for everyone.  We urge Congress to reject this anti-safety change and heed the public’s correct assessment of the dangers.”

When Congress returns to the Capitol, debate will resume on annual spending bills for federal agencies including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development FY 2015 Appropriations bill. The Senate version, S. 2438, includes a rider, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), which will substantially increase truck driver hours of service, if enacted. An amendment to strike the increase, sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and others, is pending in the Senate.

TSC’s Executive Director John Lannen remarked, “Truck driver fatigue has been identified as a major safety problem and leading factor of fatal truck crashes by the National Transportation Safety Board. Increasing truck driver work hours would be a deadly setback for safety.”

From 2009 to 2012, truck crash injuries increased by 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 people injured in 2012, and fatalities increased by 16 percent, resulting in nearly 4,000 deaths in 2012.

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Industry Makes Improvements While Rule for Better Underride Languishes

INDUSTRY MAKES IMPROVEMENTS WHILE RULE FOR BETTER UNDERRIDE LANGUISHES 

IIHS Report Shows Trailer Manufacturer Improved Rear Underride Guard Design

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 9, 2014) – Today, the  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)  released a new report showing improvements in underride guard safety adopted by a trailer manufacturer in advance of rulemaking. Less than three months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a grant of petition for rulemaking to evaluate options for increasing the safety of underride guards, on trailers and single-unit trucks, the IIHS report states trailer manufacturers are making underride guard improvements and are expected to ask for retesting, while NHTSA continues to work on a new standard. Truck safety advocates are heartened by the industry’s initiative, noting that further improvements should be made to ensure that all manufacturers’ rear underride guards pass the 30 percent overlap test. To date, IIHS reports this test has been passed by only one trailer manufacturer, Manac.

Marianne Karth, a Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) Volunteer, whose “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety” petition helped to spur NHTSA’s decision to begin underride guard rulemaking said, “All trailers should have underride guards that withstand the 30 percent overlap test. We should not settle for less when safer guards are known and available.”  Karth and her family started their petition that gained over 11,000 supporters after losing daughters AnnaLeah and Mary, in May 2013, in an underride truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son.

“I am glad that advances are being made by the industry. Having advocated for better underride guards for over thirty years, I can personally testify that it takes far too long to produce a requirement for lifesaving safety improvements,” said Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator, and Member, FMCSA, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC), after losing her father in an underride crash.

During 2011, NHTSA reported that large truck rear impacts comprised 19 percent of the fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles, and that large truck side impacts comprised 15 percent of fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles. On July 10, 2014, NHTSA announced plans to issue two separate notices for underride guards that have not yet been fulfilled. One is an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on single-unit trucks and the other is a notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on trailers and semitrailers. NHTSA also indicated that they will research front and side guards for rulemaking.

Tierney added, “In addition to rear underride, the IIHS report notes that 63 percent of fatal truck crashes involve the front of the truck, and that in Europe, front underride guards (also called front override guards) have been required since 1994. It’s past time for us to address improvements to all types of underride including front, side and rear.”

Nancy Meuleners, TSC Minnesota Volunteer Coordinator, barely survived an underride crash that left her permanently disfigured. Meuleners, who has worked to advance underride guard safety for decades said, “NHTSA has the power to greatly reduce the needless loss and suffering that result from underride crashes, and I hope that they will act quickly to start rulemaking. I am glad that individual manufacturers are making improvements, but we really need a new underride guard rule, as well as side and front guard rules, to set a higher standard across the industry.”

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

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Indiana Family Starts Petition Urging Criminal Charges Against Truck Driver Responsible For Death Of Seven Family Members

September 30, 2014 – As his family prepared to mark the one-year anniversary of the truck crash that killed seven members of his family, Gerald Williams suffered another heartbreak when he learned that Christine Haskell, the Prosecuting Attorney for Jasper County, Indiana, had decided not to press criminal charges on the truck driver responsible for the crash.  Given the extreme loss and the discovery of several potential violations and safety issues, including fatigue and speed, which may have contributed to the fatal crash, the possibility that no charges would be filed had not been considered by the family. Williams, the father of Lindsey and Yvette Williams and grandfather of Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, decided to start a petition urging Haskell to reconsider her decision. The petition has already accrued more than 1,700 signatures and Williams is hopeful that support will continue.

“I am overwhelmed by the support that we’ve received for the petition,” said Williams, a former truck driver. “And I hope that many more folks will sign on to join our family’s appeal for justice. It’s validating to know that so many people are as outraged as we are that no charges have been filed, and that they stand with us in our belief that  justice should be served. Nothing will bring back my girls and my grandchildren, but I’m going to do everything I can to ensure that no other family has to experience the catastrophic loss that my family and I have suffered, and will have to endure for the rest of our lives.”

On August 15, 2013, a semi-truck rear-ended an SUV containing seven members of the extended Williams family in Jasper County, Indiana. The crash occurred after the family’s vehicle stopped in traffic while approaching a work zone. The initial impact pushed their vehicle into another semi ahead of them, causing the SUV to burst into flames and killing Lindsey Williams, 27, and her two children, Yazmin Goldman, 5, and Arielle Goldman, 3, Lindsay’s sister, Yvette Williams, 35, and her two children, Jamin Osborne, 5, and Jazmin Osborne, 7, and the Williams sisters’ Uncle, Amado Mangual, 49.

The Williams point to the fact that there were no skid marks on the road after the crash, which indicates that the driver failed to slow down or brake before colliding with the family’s vehicle. This led the Williams family to consider that the truck driver was inattentive and possibly fatigued at the time of the crash. Truck driver fatigue has been an industry-wide health and safety issue for over 70 years. A 2006 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study revealed that 65 percent of truck drivers reported they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half admitted they fell asleep while driving in the previous year. Fatigue continues to be a major contributor to the unacceptably high number of yearly truck crashes and the resulting fatalities and injuries. From 2009 to 2012, truck crash fatalities increased by 16 percent, and truck crash injuries increased by 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 injuries in 2012.

It is also believed that the semi-truck hit the family’s vehicle at Interstate speeds, and that the driver had not reduced his speed as it was required and posted in the work zone where the crash occurred. The truck driver had a history of prior speeding violations, at least five since 2006. Trucks are over represented in fatal highway crashes and even more so in work zone fatal crashes, like in the Williams family’s case. Although trucks account for about four percent of registered vehicles, they are involved in 11 percent of fatal highway crashes, and 27 percent of fatal work zone crashes involve at least one truck.

“We believe that Ms. Haskell’s failure to press charges sends a very dangerous message to the trucking industry, that you can kill seven people and just walk away,” Williams said. “We hope that this petition will send a different message to truck drivers out there — that all actions have consequences, and you will be held accountable in the public and civil realm, even if there is lack of accountability within the criminal justice system. No one else should needlessly die because of a preventable truck crash.”

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

Read and sign the petition here.

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Safety Advocates, Teamsters Sue U.S. DOT for Failing to Issue Long-Overdue Truck Driver Training Requirements

For Immediate Release:

Sept. 18, 2014

Contact:

Karilyn Gower (202) 588-7779

Beth Weaver (301) 814-4088

Safety Advocates, Teamsters Sue U.S. DOT for Failing to Issue Long-Overdue Truck Driver Training Requirements

20 Years, Two Lawsuits and Two Congressional Mandates Later, Inexperienced Truck Drivers Still Hit the Road With No Behind-the-Wheel Training

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal appellate court should order the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a long-overdue rule outlining training standards for entry-level truck drivers, safety advocates and a union told the court in a lawsuit filed today.

Congress initially told the agency to finish a rulemaking process on driver training by 1993, but the agency still has not done so.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed the suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency charged with issuing the rule. Public Citizen is representing the groups.

“People are dying needlessly while the agency drags its feet,” said Henry Jasny, senior vice president and general counsel with Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “New truck drivers need to be properly trained before they get behind the wheel. This is a dereliction of the agency’s duty.”

“Enough is enough,” said Adina Rosenbaum, attorney for Public Citizen. “Twenty years, two lawsuits and two congressional mandates have not been successful at prodding the DOT into issuing the entry-level driver training rule. The court should step in and order the agency to act.”

There are 3.9 million commercial motor vehicle drivers in the U.S. with commercial driver’s licenses, and new drivers get on the roads daily. Drivers need only receive 10 hours of classroom lectures and pass a test to get their commercial driver’s license to drive a truck.

Large trucks that can weigh up to 40 tons when fully loaded are more complicated to operate than automobiles. Inexperienced truck drivers have higher crash rates and should have hours of supervised, behind-the-wheel training before they are allowed on the highways.

Approximately 4,000 people die and nearly 100,000 more are injured annually in truck crashes, according to government data. Large truck crash fatalities increased by 4 percent in 2012. This follows a 2 percent increase in 2011 and a 9 percent increase in 2010, despite a decline in overall motor vehicle deaths. Further, there was an 18 percent increase in 2012 of those injured in large truck crashes. The annual cost to society from large truck crashes is estimated to be more than $99 billion.

Dorothy Wert’s husband, David Wert, Sr., was killed in 2011 in a truck crash caused by an inexperienced truck driver who left his broken-down truck parked in the middle of a dark Pennsylvania highway at 3 a.m. with no lights on and no warning signals or flares. After the crash, David, a truck driver with 35 years of experience, managed to drive his truck safely onto the side of the road in spite of suffering fatal injuries.

“We have waited far too long for a requirement to ensure that truck drivers know what they are doing and have been tested before we allow them behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound truck,” said Wert, a CRASH volunteer advocate who lives in Montrose, Pa. “Truck drivers should not be allowed to drive without a required understanding of the regulations and a minimum number of training hours behind the wheel. I know that my husband would be alive today if the driver that caused Dave’s crash had been better trained, had more experience and had taken the proper precautions.”

“Proper training is absolutely necessary for new drivers to operate their rigs safely,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president. “The agency is shirking its responsibility by not issuing this long-overdue rule.”

The path to the rule has been long. In 1991, concerned about truck crashes, Congress passed a law requiring the DOT to complete a rulemaking by 1993 on the need to require training of entry-level commercial motor vehicle operators.

In 2002, when no rule had been issued, safety advocates went to court to force the agency to act. The DOT agreed to issue the rule by 2004. While it did issue a rule that year, the rule was grossly inadequate, requiring only 10 hours of classroom lectures, none of it on-the-road training. That is the rule that is still on the books.

Safety advocates returned to court, and in 2005, the court ruled that FMCSA had disregarded volumes of evidence that on-street training enhances safety. In 2007, the DOT issued another proposed rule, but the agency never finished it.

In 2012, Congress passed a second law (the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” also known as MAP-21) requiring the DOT to issue the entry-level training rule, this time by Oct. 1, 2013. Congress specified that the rule had to include behind-the-wheel training.

During the next year, FMCSA held listening sessions. Then, on Sept. 19, 2013, it withdrew the 2007 proposed rule that had been in limbo and said it was going back to the drawing board. On Aug. 19, 2014, FMCSA published a notice indicating it had not begun work on the new rule and did not intend to anytime soon. Instead, it said that it was exploring conducting a negotiated rulemaking, and that it had hired a “neutral convener” who would interview all concerned parties, balance all the interests and issue a report before the agency decided what type of rulemaking to undertake. No timetable was given for completion of the rule.

“The FMCSA’s inaction to release a new notice of proposed rulemaking for entry-level driver training is perpetuating a hazard for everyone on our roadways by permitting inexperienced drivers to interact with the unknowing public,” said John Lannen, executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition, a partnership between CRASH and Parents Against Tired Truckers. “This hazard will only grow in scope as the turnover rate for truck drivers continues to remain extremely high – over 90 percent – and the current truck driver work force ages out.”

Read the lawsuit here.

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One Year after a Family’s Devastating Truck Crash

SEVEN FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED IN A FIERY CRASH AFTER SUV WAS CRUSHED BETWEEN TWO SEMI-TRUCKS IN INDIANA

One Year after a Family’s Devastating Truck Crash—A Prosecutor Decides not to Press Charges on the Truck Driver Responsible for their Deaths

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 15, 2014) – A family remembers their loved ones one year after a horrific truck crash killed seven members of their family in Jasper County, Indiana. The crash occurred on August 15, 2013, after the family’s SUV was stopped in traffic approaching a work zone and was rear-ended by a semi-truck. The initial impact pushed the SUV into another semi ahead of them. The SUV subsequently burst into flames. The crash took the lives of Lindsey Williams, 27, and her two children, Yazmin Goldman, 5, and Arielle Goldman, 3, Lindsay’s sister Yvette Williams, 35, and her two children, Jamin Osborne, 5, and Jazmin Osborne, 7, and the Williams sisters’ Uncle, Amado Mangual, 49. The truck drivers involved suffered minor injuries. To the dismay of the victims’ family, the Prosecutor has chosen not to press charges on the truck driver that caused this crash. This decision has devastated the family seeking justice for their enormous loss.

Gerald Williams, father of Lindsey and Yvette Williams and grandfather of Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, is shocked by this decision. “As we approach the one year anniversary of the crash, I am astounded that justice will not be served for our family. We lost seven family members in a split second because of the poor decisions of one driver. He should suffer the consequences of those decisions.”

Mr. Williams, who worked as a truck driver for many years, continued, “I have seen many truck and car crashes but I never thought it would happen to our family. My daughter was just going to pick up her kids from a summer vacation with their grandmother so they could return to Georgia for school. It’s a shame you can’t be in a work zone waiting on traffic to move without being rear ended. I’m devastated that there are no charges being filed against this truck driver. It has torn our family apart. I will work hard to see that the laws are changed so this will not happen again. My kids and grandkids loved life and were very smart. I miss their laughter and joy for life.”

Several safety issues contributed to the crash that occurred on I-65. The lack of skid marks on the road indicate that the driver failed to slow down or brake before colliding with the family’s vehicle, and have led the Williams family to speculate that the truck driver was either inattentive or fatigued at the time of the crash. Truck driver fatigue has been an industry-wide health and safety issue for over 70 years and continues to be a major contributor to truck crashes. From 2009 to 2012, truck crash fatalities increased by 16 percent, and truck crash injuries increased by a staggering 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 injuries in 2012. Moreover, a 2006 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study revealed that 65 percent of truck drivers reported they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half admitted they fell asleep while driving in the previous year.

It is also believed that the semi-truck hit the SUV at Interstate speeds. The truck driver had a list of speeding violations prior to this crash. In fact, the driver had been ticketed for speeding at least five times since 2006. Trucks are over represented in fatal highway crashes and even more so in work zone fatal crashes. Although trucks account for about four percent of registered vehicles, they are involved in 11 percent of fatal highway crashes, and 27 percent of fatal work zone crashes involve at least one truck.

Judith Williams, who lost her daughters, Lindsey and Yvette Williams, grandchildren,  Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, and brother, Amado Mangual, in this crash stated,  “Nothing will ever bring back my family, but I believe this driver should get more than a slap on the wrist. All actions have repercussions. The message we’re sending to other drivers is that it’s okay to speed, to not pay attention, and to drive fatigued. The driver killed seven people I want to make sure no one else ever has to go through the loss and heartache my family and I must live with for the rest of our lives.”

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

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Press Release: Truck Safety Advocates Respond to News of Truck Crash that Killed New Jersey Police Officer

Contact: Beth Weaver beth_weaver@verizon.net, 703.294.6404

 TRUCK SAFETY ADVOCATES RESPOND TO NEWS OF TRUCK CRASH THAT KILLED NEW JERSEY POLICE OFFICER 

Findings Show Truck Did Not Brake Before Slamming Into Police Car Parked on Highway Shoulder – Truck Driver Charged with Second-Degree Vehicular Homicide

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 18, 2014)—The Bergen County Prosecutor’s office announced in a press release last night that truck driver Ryon Cumberbatch has been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide in the crash that killed New Jersey police officer Christopher Goodell. According to the press release, there was no evidence of pre-impact braking by the truck. It was revealed that it appears from the roadway evidence that Cumberbatch drove directly into the police car without stopping or attempting to stop. Truck safety advocates respond to the tragic crash with messages of condolence and support for Officer Goodell’s family.

Daphne Izer founded Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) after losing her son Jeff and his three teenage friends in a crash caused by a tired trucker who fell asleep behind the wheel and ran over their car.  Izer said, “My heart goes out to the Goodell family because I truly understand the pain that they are going through, and I want them to know that our volunteer network, including myself, is here to offer support, grief services and resources.”

Ed Slattery, a Board Member for PATT added, “We don’t know yet for sure whether fatigue was a factor in this crash, but the hour of the crash and the lack of braking would indicate that it is very possible.” Slattery lost his wife, Susan, in 2010 after a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel of a triple trailer truck and crashed into his family’s car on the Ohio Turnpike. His two sons were also seriously injured, one permanently, in the crash.

Slattery added, “Truck driver fatigue has been a known safety issue for over 70 years, yet it remains a major contributor to truck crashes. I am completely dismayed by the amendment introduced by Senator Collins (R-ME) that would force overworked truck drivers to drive even more hours each week, exacerbating fatigue and fatigue related crashes.”

Recent deadly truck crashes in New Jersey, including the crash that killed James McNair and injured comedian Tracy Morgan and two friends, underscore the urgent need to improve truck safety and reduce truck driver fatigue.

In response to the New Jersey truck crashes, and the expanding issue of truck driver fatigue and other truck safety issues, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced an amendment, cosponsored by Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod C. Brown (D-OH), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Brian E. Schatz (D-HI), and Chris S. Murphy (D-CT). The Booker Amendment would protect important safety rules governing rest periods and the hours of service truck drivers may work each week.

Izer, who was awarded the White House Champion of Change award in May 2014, for her efforts to reduce truck driver fatigue, concluded, “I support the Booker Amendment because we need to uphold the ongoing efforts to improve truck safety issues, not make them worse. Our families cannot continue to pay the ultimate price when truck safety issues and improvements are known. It is well past time to make the changes necessary to reduce truck crashes, and the resulting fatalities and injuries.”

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

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An Oversized Truck Strike is the Probable Cause for the Washington State I-5 Bridge Collapse

Contact: Beth Weaver

301.814.4088,/beth_weaver@verizon.net

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Released ReportAN OVERSIZED TRUCK STRIKE IS THE PROBABLE CAUSE FOR THE WASHINGTON STATE I-5 BRIDGE COLLAPSE

Truck Safety Advocates Respond to Report – Existing Truck Safety Issues Would Be Exacerbated by Bigger and Heavier Trucks

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 16, 2014)—On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that an oversized truck striking the I-5 bridge in Washington state was the probable cause of its collapse on May 23, 2013, in which three were injured, and fortunately none killed. The bridge collapse and the NTSB’s findings illustrate the dangers that arise when there is a lack of oversight on the permitting process of oversized trucks.

Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Truck Safety Coalition North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator, and Member of FMCSA, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) after losing her father, James Mooney, in a truck crash said, “This highlights something the safety community has already known for years, the gaps and lack of oversight in our current system along with the vulnerability of our infrastructure creates a dangerous combination. We need to improve truck safety, not make it more dangerous. Now is not the time to be increasing truck size or weight.”

As a result of the damage to its truss structure, the bridge, constructed in 1955, buckled and subsequently collapsed into the Skagit River. In its findings, the NTSB cited the insufficient route planning by the trucking company and truck driver and inadequate evaluation of oversized permit requests as two of the reasons the collapse occurred. The NTSB recommended that the Washington State Department of Transportation revise its permit process for oversized trucks to include an evaluation of the route’s overhead clearances and lane widths with respect to the oversized truck’s load dimensions.

Tierney concluded, “Transportation budget shortfalls have resulted in a dire state of infrastructure disrepair, nearly 70,000 of our bridges are rated structurally deficient. We don’t have the money to repair our infrastructure damage at the current rate of wear let alone consider the increased wear produced by bigger and heavier trucks. In fact, increasing the weight of a heavy truck by only 20 percent will increase bridge damage by 33 percent.”

In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimated that in order to address all cost-beneficial bridge needs, the investment backlog for bridges is $121 billion, which is 60 percent over the current spending levels for bridges. Moreover, the Highway Trust Fund is projected to go broke after this summer. As Congress attempts to find ways to keep highway repair funded, any increases in truck size and weight will increase the wear and tear on bridges and increase the cost of bridge maintenance.

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Truck Safety Advocates Step Closer to Goal of Advancing Underride Protection

Contact: Beth Weaver

301.814.4088,/beth_weaver@verizon.net

TRUCK SAFETY ADVOCATES STEP CLOSER TO GOAL OF ADVANCING UNDERRIDE PROTECTION 

NHTSA Issues a Grant of Petition for Rulemaking to Improve the Safety of Rear Impact Guards on Trailers and Single-Unit Trucks – Evaluation of Side and Front Underride Guards Continues

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 10, 2014)—Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a grant of petition for rulemaking to evaluate options for increasing the safety of rear impact guards, or underride guards, on trailers and single-unit trucks. Underride guards are steel bars installed onto the back of truck trailers in order to help prevent passenger vehicles from sliding underneath a truck in the event of a crash. Truck safety advocates have long advocated for an improvement to the rear underride guard standard, as well as requirement for side and front guard protection systems. NHTSA’s decision to begin rulemaking is a victory for truck safety advocates who have been working toward improving the safety of underride guards for decades.

Marianne Karth, a Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) Volunteer, after losing her daughters AnnaLeah and Mary one year ago in an underride truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son, said, “It was a bittersweet moment as I realized full well that these were needed changes that we had advocated for—because we lost AnnaLeah and Mary—and which we hope will save other lives but will never bring them back to us.”

The Karth family’s “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety” petition gained more than 11,000 supporters seeking to improve underride guard protections, as well as raise minimum insurance level requirements and expedite a final rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs). Marianne and her family members delivered the petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation in May 2014, and are named, along with TSC, in today’s Federal Notice for underride guards. Karth continued, “We are forever grateful to everyone that signed on to the petition, as well as the other TSC volunteers who have been working on this issue throughout the years.”

Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), TSC North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator, and Member, FMCSA, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) reacted to the notice, “Having advocated for underride protection improvements for over thirty years, I am so grateful that the decision has finally been made to start rulemaking to consider improving the rear guard standard and to evaluate side and front guard protection requirements. Underride crashes have always been particularly devastating to car passengers, and are now even more so as efforts to raise fuel efficiency produce smaller cars, lower to the ground.”

Tierney, a recipient of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) 2014 Highway Safety Hero Award, and whose advocacy began after losing her father, James Mooney, in an underride crash in North Carolina said, “Simple, common sense changes in underride guard requirements, to make them more energy absorbing and lower to the ground, will help to keep our families whole and prevent catastrophic injuries.”

During 2011, NHTSA reported that large truck rear impacts comprised 19 percent of the fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles, and that large truck side impacts comprised 15 percent of fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles. NHTSA plans on issuing two separate notices for underride guards. One is an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on single-unit trucks and the other is a notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on trailers and semitrailers.

Roy Crawford, TSC Kentucky Volunteer Coordinator, after his son Guy was killed in an underride crash with a single unit truck twenty years ago said, “As a board certified forensic engineer and a father who lost a son in a underride crash, I have a full understanding of the physical and emotional outcomes from these crashes, and both are completely devastating. I am grateful that NHTSA will move forward to improve underride protections, and I urge them to act expediently to proceed through rulemaking to implementation. Our families’ lives depend on it.”

Nancy Meuleners, TSC Minnesota Volunteer Coordinator, also a recipient of Advocates 2014 Highway Safety Hero Award for nearly 25 years of advocacy after surviving an underride crash said, “I am fortunate to be alive, but it has come at an unnecessary and significant cost. The crash that nearly decapitated me has left me permanently disfigured. After 40 surgeries, I will need more just to maintain my progress.” Meuleners added, “NHTSA has the power to greatly reduce the needless loss and suffering that result from underride crashes, and I hope that they will act quickly to do so.”

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The Safety Community and Teamsters Respond to NTSB Initial Crash Report on Tracy Morgan Crash

Contact: Beth Weaver 301.814.4088,/beth_weaver@verizon.net

THE SAFETY COMMUNITY AND TEAMSTERS RESPOND TO NTSB INITIAL REPORT ON THE TRACY MORGAN CRASH

TRUCK DRIVER WAS WITHIN 23 MINUTES of HOURS OF SERVICE LIMIT AT THE TIME OF THE CRASH PERTH AMBOY DESTINATION WOULD HAVE BEEN TOO FAR TO REACH IN TIME AT THE POSTED SPEED

Truck Driver Charged with Death by Auto and Assault by Auto for Causing the Crash that Killed One Man and Critically Injured Others, Including Actor Tracy Morgan

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2014)—The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released an initial report on the crash that killed comedian James McNair and critically injured others, including actor Tracy Morgan, on the New Jersey Turnpike. The NTSB found that the driver of the Wal-Mart truck, Kevin Roper, 35, had logged over 13 hours, and was just under the maximum 14-hour limit for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Roper was within 23 minutes of his hours of service limits at the time of the crash and would have failed to reach his Perth Amboy destination before exceeding the allowable hours of service limits.

“The NTSB’s preliminary findings in this case clearly show that truck drivers are pushing beyond the limits of the current hours of service rules,” said Teamsters General President, James P. Hoffa. “In light of these findings, it would be irresponsible to even consider rolling back hours of service rules and opening the door to increased driver fatigue.”

The NTSB findings come as the Senate is about to vote on the Booker Amendment to stop tired trucking. This amendment is introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and cosponsored by Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod C. Brown (D-OH), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Brian E. Schatz (D-HI), and Chris S. Murphy (D-CT). The Booker Amendment would protect the restart provision in the hours of service rule ensuring that truck drivers get adequate rest and maintaining the current maximum 60-70 hours per week. The amendment was introduced as a response to the Collins Amendment, which would increase the truck driver weekly work week to over 80 hours.

Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), said, “It is tragic and unfortunate that it took a horrific crash caused by a dozing truck driver killing one person and severely injuring Tracy Morgan and others to bring national attention to the epidemic of fatigued truck drivers on our roads.  These truck drivers are being pushed beyond their limits to work 70 hour work weeks, and now Senator Collins wants to increase this time to more than 80 hours.  The Collins Amendment is not a solution to tired truckers but a gift to trucking industry allies.  It’s time to put the brakes on these rolling sweatshops.  Not a single safety organization supports the Collins Amendment but every major highway and truck safety organization supports Senator Booker’s amendment, cosponsored by fourteen additional Senators. It is absolutely clear which amendment is on the side of safety.”

Jacqueline Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated, “Truck drivers should be sleeping in beds and not behind the wheel of an 80,000 lb. rig traveling at high speeds. Sen. Collins’ proposal will turn back the clock to a time when truck drivers only had one day and 10 hours off between 80 hour driving and working shifts.  It was under this grueling schedule that a 2005 survey of truck drivers showed that almost half admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel and 65% admitted to driving drowsy. Not a single safety group has endorsed the Collins Amendment. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety strongly supports the Booker Amendment and urges the Senate to put safety first.”

The issue of truck driver fatigue is very personal to Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), who lost her son Jeff Izer, 17, in a preventable truck crash by a fatigued truck driver. Izer said, “No loss of life is worth getting a load of freight delivered on time. Truck driver fatigue has been a serious safety issue for over 70 years and we need to uphold the ongoing efforts to improve this safety issue, not make it worse, which is why I support the Booker Amendment.”

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Press Conference Call: Senator Booker, Senator Blumenthal, Truck Crash Victims’ Families, Safety Groups, Law Enforcement, Labor Groups, Trucking Companies Unite in Opposition to Attack on Truck Safety

CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088, Beth_weaver@verizon.net

PRESS CONFERENCE CALL

SENATOR BOOKER, SENATOR BLUMENTHAL, TRUCK CRASH VICTIMS’ FAMILIES, SAFETY GROUPS, LAW ENFORCEMENT, LABOR GROUPS, TRUCKING COMPANIES UNITE IN OPPOSITION TO ATTACK ON TRUCK SAFETY

Trucking Allies Pushing Sen. Collins’ Amendment to Take Away Truck Drivers “Weekends” of Rest and Replace With Another Day of Driving 

Senate to Debate FY 2015 THUD Appropriations Bill This Week

Truck Driver Fatigue is a Major Problem in the Trucking Industry – Collins Amendment is Not a “Minor Adjustment” But a “Major Assault” on Truck Safety

 Safety First – Every Minute and a Half of Every Day a Large Truck Crash Occurs

WHEN:           Tuesday, June 17th, 2:15 p.m. EST

WHAT:           Senators, safety groups, truck drivers, freight transportation companies, law enforcement, and victims of truck crashes involving fatigued drivers will discuss an amendment to strike the Collins Anti-Safety Amendment (which was passed by the Senate Committee on Appropriations and is now part of the underlying bill).  The Collins amendment will change the current hours of service rule for truck drivers to replace off-duty rest time with on-duty driving hours.  “Weekend” rest period will be replaced with more driving hours.      

The Collins Amendment will suspend two important safety features of the truck driver Hours of Service (HOS) rule: 1. A limit on how often the 34-hour “restart” or rest period can be taken – once in a 168 hour or 7-day period, and 2. A requirement of two periods of rest between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. during the “restart.”  These two features were included in the truck driver HOS rule to address chronic fatigue that occurs when long haul truck drivers are behind the wheel of a truck for 11 continuous hours, working 14-hour shifts daily and were able to constantly put in up to 82 hours of work, week after week. The amendment to strike will retain these critical safety protections.

WHO:             Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Joan Claybrook, Consumer Co-Chair, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Lane Kidd, Managing Director, The Trucking Alliance

Steve Williams, Chairman and CEO, Maverick USA and Chairman, The Trucking Alliance

Fred McLuckie, Legislative Director, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Jackie Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Steve Keppler, Executive Director, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance representing commercial vehicle law enforcement 

Daphne Izer (Lisbon, ME) Daphne lost her 17-year-old son Jeff on October 10, 1993, when a Wal-Mart truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel. Jeff and three of his friends were killed, and another was seriously injured.  She is the Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), and is a 2014 recipient of the White House’s Champions of Change award.

 Ron Wood (Washington, DC) Ron lost his mother, Betsy Wood, and his sister, Lisa Wood Martin, and his sister’s three children Chance (4), Brock (2) and Reid (6 weeks) Martin when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel, crossed a median and crashed into Lisa’s SUV and a pick-up truck.  A total of ten people were killed and one was seriously injured. The catastrophic outcome of the Wood family’s crash prompted a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation.

BACKGROUND:      

  • The current hours of service (HOS) rule for truck drivers allows truckers to drive 11 hours in a 14 hour work day and take a rest period of just 34 hours off-duty before beginning a new work week, which can include up to 60 or 70 hours of driving. The new rule that only took effect in July 2013 requires that the 34 hour rest period include two periods of time off and rest between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.to ensure restorative sleep.  It also requires that the 34-hour restart be used not more than once every 168 hours or 7 days.  The Collins amendment will dramatically increase allowable driving and other work hours of truck drivers to more than 80 hours a week, essentially adding another work day to an already long work week. The Collins amendment will suspend the safety requirement that prevents drivers from continually taking only short back-to-back rest periods after long weeks of driving and work.
  • Truck driver fatigue and hours- of service compliance has been recognized as a major safety concern and a contributing factor to fatal truck crashes for over 70 years.
  • Truck crashes are on the rise.  From 2009 to 2012, truck crash injuries increased by a staggering 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 people injured in 2012.  During this same period, truck crash fatalities increased three years in a row, a cumulative 16 percent increase, resulting in nearly 4,000 deaths in 2012.
  • Commercial motor vehicle crashes result in a cost of $99 billion to the U.S. every year.
  • The current rule was issued by U.S. DOT after consideration of 21,000 formal docket comments submitted from drivers, carriers, state law enforcement, safety advocates and industry associations; 6 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 – All Pushed Aside by an Amendment that was not Reviewed, Subject to a  Congressional Hearing or Available to the Public Before the Committee Mark-Up.
  • Changing the hours-of-service rules now, not even a year since becoming effective, creates significant uniformity and consistency problems across the country for law enforcement.
  • A 2000 study revealed that 65% of truck drivers report they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half admit they fell asleep while driving in the previous year (Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study, U.S. DOT, 2000).

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Maine Truck Crash Families Appalled by Maine Senator’s Support for Anti-Truck Safety Legislation

MAINE TRUCK CRASH FAMILIES APPALLED BY SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS’ SUPPORT FOR ANTI-TRUCK SAFETY LEGISLATION

SENATOR COLLINS ACTIONS WILL INCREASE TRUCK DRIVER FATIGUE AND ROADWAY DANGERS

Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) Founder and 2014 White House Transportation Champion of Change Recipient Speaks Out

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 2, 2014)—Less than one month after being recognized by the White House as a 2014 Transportation Champion of Change for her work to reduce truck driver fatigue and require electronic logging devices (ELDs) in trucks, Daphne Izer was outraged to learn that Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) supports legislation to roll back truck safety improvements in the truck driver hours of service (HOS) rule. The HOS rule contains measures to help reduce truck driver fatigue, including the 34-hour restart provisions and a mandatory half hour rest break. These improvements are based on more than 25 years of scientific and medical research and should not be arbitrarily removed, reduced or altered.

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) said, “I have whiplash—one month ago I was in the White House celebrating vital improvements to reduce truck driver fatigue, and now my own Senator is using her power as Ranking Member on the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee to undo a rule which will result in more overly tired truckers on our roads. Twenty-five years of research and deliberations over the HOS rule—gone with the swish of her pen.”

Izer continued, “I’m not a well-paid Capitol Hill lobbyist, just a mom from Lisbon, Maine. I’m shocked that Senator Collins would do the bidding of the trucking companies. What are her priorities—special truck interests or our families?”

Christina Mahaney, whose five-year old son Liam was killed when a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his 104,000 pound log truck into her family’s home in Jackman, Maine, added, “Next month will be the third anniversary of losing Liam, and I can’t image a worse way to mark our anniversary. Senator Collins should be supporting truck safety improvements to keep our families safe and whole, not special interest giveaways.”

Izer added, “As we’re taking a step forward to reduce truck driver fatigue by inching closer to the ELD rule, Senator Collins would roll back safety benefits of the HOS rule. We should not allow any step backwards in safety, and I urge the White House and DOT Secretary Foxx to vigorously defend its HOS rule.”

With her husband Steve Izer, Daphne founded the nonprofit safety organization, PATT, after her son, Jeff Izer (age 17), and three of his friends were killed and one seriously injured in a preventable truck crash by a fatigued truck driver.  Since then, Daphne has worked to advance truck safety to help prevent other families from suffering a similar, devastating loss.

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

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Daphne Izer Honored by the White House for her Truck Safety Advocacy

PARENTS AGAINST TIRED TRUCKERS (PATT) FOUNDER HAS BEEN NAMED A 2014 TRANSPORTATION CHAMPION OF CHANGE

Daphne Izer Honored by the White House for her Truck Safety Advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2014)—It was announced today that Daphne Izer, founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), will be recognized by the White House as a 2014 Transportation Champion of Change. As PATT marks its twentieth anniversary this month, Daphne will be recognized for her tireless efforts to improve highway safety at an event being held at the White House on May 13, 2014. The 2014 White House Champions of Change will honor eleven Champions in total who have demonstrated exemplary leadership to ensure that transportation facilities, services, and jobs help individuals and their communities connect to 21st century opportunities.

“Daphne’s work to create awareness of truck driver fatigue and seek legislative and regulatory changes to reduce fatigue related truck crashes has undoubtedly saved lives and prevented debilitating injuries,” said John Lannen, Executive Director, Truck Safety Coalition. “Her courage after losing Jeff and his friends, and her strength and passionate advocacy for change over the last twenty years is what makes Daphne a great safety leader.”

With her husband Steve Izer, Daphne founded the nonprofit safety organization, PATT, after her son, Jeff Izer (17), was killed in a preventable truck crash by a fatigued truck driver. The crash killed three other teenagers and seriously injured one more. Since then, Daphne has worked to advance truck safety to help prevent other families from suffering a similar, devastating loss. PATT has focused its efforts on reducing truck driver fatigue and seeking a requirement for the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to accurately record truck driver hours behind the wheel to reduce the falsification of driving logs. PATT took a step toward realizing this goal on July 6, 2012, after President Obama signed into law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which included a mandate for rulemaking for requiring ELDs in all commercial trucks.

“I was grateful for the inclusion of ELDs in MAP-21, and the final rule for ELDs cannot happen soon enough,” said Izer. “The ELD rule will address a problem that occurs far too often in certain segments of the industry—the falsification of log books tracking hours worked. While this is a significant milestone for safety, unfortunately, for every safety rule or legislation that is passed, there are numerous proposals for exemptions to existing safety regulations and attempts to reduce their effectiveness. Right now, as we’re taking a step forward to reduce truck driver fatigue with ELDs, Members of Congress are considering proposals to roll back safety benefits of the new hours of service (HOS) rule by removing the restart provision. We should not allow any step backwards in safety, and urge the White House Administration and DOT to vigorously defend its HOS rule.”

Since its beginning in 1994, PATT has transformed from the small Maine grassroots group created around the Izer’s kitchen table into a nationally recognized organization. In 2002, PATT combined efforts with Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and formed the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) to reach a wider audience and maintain a presence in Washington, D.C. Together, these organizations are dedicated to reducing the number of preventable 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.

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The Truck Safety Coalition and Volunteers Remember Former Congressman Oberstar

THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION AND OUR VOLUNTEERS RESPOND TO THE PASSING OF FORMER CONGRESSMAN JAMES L. OBERSTAR

Arlington, VA (May 5, 2014): On behalf of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and our volunteers, we were deeply saddened by the passing of former Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, James L. Oberstar (MN-8), and would like to express our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and to the citizens of Minnesota. Chairman Oberstar received the Truck Safety Coalition Distinguished Service Award in 2011 for his tremendous commitment to advancing truck safety policy and for being a true champion for truck crash victims and survivors.

Nancy Meuleners, TSC Volunteer Advocate from Minnesota who was seriously injured in 1989 when she encountered a semi-trailer with inadequate rear underride protection stopped in the lane of traffic ahead of her without its emergency flashers illuminated, said of Chairman Oberstar’s passing, “What Chairman Oberstar has done for transportation safety has undoubtedly saved countless lives and made our roads safer for not only those in his beloved home state of Minnesota but across the nation. He understood the dire state of our roads and bridges and worked tirelessly to improve our nation’s infrastructure. His quick response after the I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota in August 2007 helped ensure that a new, stronger bridge was in place almost exactly a year later and highlighted the necessity to examine the state of aging bridges throughout the country.”

Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for CRASH, after her father, James Mooney, was killed when he crashed into a truck that did not have working lights, reflective tape or underride guards and was blocking the roadway said, “The transportation world lost a true giant and leading safety advocate this weekend. Chairman Oberstar was instrumental in working to strengthen oversight and enforcement of the motor carrier industry. Many of the provisions implemented in MAP-21 were in legislation proposed by Chairman Oberstar like minimum entry-level training requirements for commercial vehicle drivers and a drug and alcohol national clearinghouse for commercial motor vehicle drivers to reduce hiring of drivers who decline or fail drug or alcohol testing. My hope is that Members of Congress will find inspiration in all that he has worked toward in keeping our roads safe and continue his legacy.”

Daphne Izer, founder of PATT after her son Jeff and three of his friends were killed in a truck crash, stated, “Chairman Oberstar was a true advocate for crash victims, survivors, and their families. He was deeply aware of the need for improvements to the truck driver Hours of Service (HOS) rule and worked to have electronic on board recorders (now known as electronic logging devices) in all commercial vehicles to protect both the motoring public and over worked truck drivers. Throughout my twenty years of advocacy on behalf of PATT and the TSC, I had the honor of meeting with him numerous times and he showed a care and compassion to families of crash victims that was unparalleled and he will be missed.”

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

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Karth Family to Deliver Truck Safety Petition To U.S. DOT

Contact: Beth Weaver beth_weaver@verizon.net 301.814.4088

NORTH CAROLINA FAMILY MARKS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF FATAL TRUCK CRASH THAT CLAIMED THE LIVES OF THEIR TWO TEENAGE DAUGHTERS

Karth Family To Deliver Truck Safety Petition To U.S. DOT

On Monday, May 5, Marianne and Jerry Karth and members of their family, will deliver their “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington, D.C. The petition asks DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx to use his authority to immediately make truck safety improvements to issues that may have contributed to the loss of the Karth daughters AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13).  Photos of the Karth family and the petition delivery will be available at www.trucksafety.org.

The Karth petition, a grassroots effort which received over 11,000 signatures, asks the Secretary to make long overdue improvements to truck safety by immediately increasing the minimum insurance level to account for over 30 years of inflation without a single increase, releasing a rule for improved rear underride guard standards to protect car occupants in truck crashes, and releasing the final rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs) to reduce truck driver fatigue. The Karth family will meet with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator (FMCSA) Anne Ferro and National Highway Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Administrator David Friedman to deliver the petition and discuss truck safety issues.

“Advocating for these changes helps with the grief because it gives us an opportunity to make a difference,” said Marianne Karth. “There is some healing that goes with that, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Fighting for these changes stirs up all those memories that we went through, but it gives us hope that other families won’t have to go through what we’ve been through.”

On May 4, 2013, as the Karth family drove to Texas to celebrate four graduations and a wedding, their car was hit from behind by a truck that was unable to stop in time for slowed traffic. The impact spun their car around and forced it backward and underneath a second truck’s trailer. Marianne and her son were in the front seats and survived the impact with injuries. AnnaLeah and Mary were in the back seats, which went underneath the trailer, and died as a result of catastrophic injuries.

On September 12, 2013, Marianne Karth joined Truck Safety Coalition members and safety advocates for a meeting with Secretary Foxx, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro and then NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Secretary Foxx promised tangible progress within a short period of time on the truck safety issues discussed at the meeting. Administrator Strickland added that there would be a decision for underride guards on his desk by November 2013. To bring attention to these safety issues and honor the memories of their daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, on the first anniversary of the crash the Karth family began a petition asking Secretary Foxx to fulfill his promise.

“We are asking Secretary Foxx to take three specific actions to implement tangible solutions which will bring immediate improvements in truck safety issues,” said Marianne Karth. “Unnecessary delays may have cost Mary and AnnaLeah their lives. How many more lives will be lost due to delay?”

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

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Karth Family Journeys to Washington, D.C.
Deliver “Anna Leah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” Petition to U.S. DOT

On May 4, 2014, the first anniversary of the devastating truck crash that claimed the lives of AnnaLeah and Mary Karth, Marianne and Jerry Karth and six family members will begin their journey from Rocky Mount, North Carolina to Washington, D.C. The Karth family will hand deliver their “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administer Anne Ferro and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Administrator David Friedman on Monday, May 5. The Karth family, including Marianne and Jerry Karth, parents, Rocky Mount, NC, Isaac Karth, brother, Rocky Mount, NC, Peter Karth, brother, Midland, Texas, Danelle Karth, sister-in-law, Midland, Texas, Susanna Karth, sister, Rocky Mount, NC, Marcus Karth, nephew, Midland, Texas and Vanessa Karth, niece, Midland, Texas, will then meet with Administrator Ferro and Acting Administrator Friedman to discuss the truck safety issues that likely contributed to their family’s crash.  The Karth family’s agenda for the meeting follows.

The Karth Family requests Secretary Foxx to take the following actions:

  1. Minimum Liability Insurance Limits for Truck Drivers: We are respectively requesting that, effective immediately, the minimum liability insurance limit be raised to $3.2 million and indexed yearly to the Medical CPI costs which are listed on page 11 of the FMCSA report (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Financial-Responsibility-Requirements-Report-Enclosure-FINAL-April%202014.pdf ).
  2. Rear Underride Guards: We are requesting, effective immediately, that the DOT—for the present—adopt the Canadian standard for rear underride guards and that DOT continue to study the situation, as we are well aware of a trailer manufacturer which has gone beyond these standards and “raised the safety bar.”
  3. Electronic Logging Devices: We request immediate progress on rule-making for electronic logging devices, as driver fatigue is a very real concern. It is, in fact, a life and death matter. Please expedite this process as quickly as possible.

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FMCSA Report Confirms Minimum Insurance is Too Low

Contact: Beth Weaver

301.814.4088/beth_weaver@verizon.net

 FMCSA Report Verifies Financial Responsibility Requirement Deficiency

Safety Groups and Truck Crash Victims Urge FMCSA To Act Quickly To Increase Requirement Level

Families and Taxpayers Should Not be Forced to Bear Uninsured Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 22, 2014) – Truck crash victims and safety advocates responded positively to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) report on commercial motor vehicle financial responsibility requirements, Examining the Appropriateness of the Current Financial Responsibility and Security Requirements for Motor Carriers, Brokers, and Freight Forwarders – Report to Congress, and at the same time rejected the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) claim that increases are unnecessary. The report, directed by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112 – 141, Section 32104), found that current financial responsibility minimums are inadequate, and supports efforts by Members of Congress, safety groups and responsible truck industry participants to secure an increase in financial responsibility requirements.

“Over 30 years ago, Congress set the minimum insurance rule for trucks and motor carriers at $750,000 to cover everyone impacted in a crash, whether it’s two, ten or twenty people killed and injured,” said Kate Brown, Illinois Volunteer Coordinator, Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) and Member, Illinois State Freight Advisory Committee, whose son was severely injured in a truck crash. “The amount of coverage has not changed in over 30 years. During that time, trucks have gotten bigger and heavier, inflation has gone up, medical care costs have skyrocketed and many truck crashes now result in damages that exceed several million dollars. When the insurance coverage falls short, the American public is left to foot the bill for these injuries and losses like I had to do when my son was injured.”

In 1980, the Motor Carrier Act was passed in response to deregulation of the trucking industry, setting financial responsibility levels for motor carriers to “assure that public safety is not jeopardized,” and to reduce concerns that safe drivers would be pressured to cut costs in order to be competitive “…by operating in violation of minimum safety standards.”  Financial responsibility levels were to be set at a level “sufficient to require ‘on site’ inspection by the insurance company, with minimums to be updated regularly.” Unfortunately, levels were not set high enough to accomplish this goal, and regular updates have never occurred. In effect, this lowered the minimum required, and allowed undercapitalized carriers to enter the market with minimal or no underwriting from insurance companies, which is the complete opposite result that was intended when the federal government set a minimum level.

Jackie Novak, TSC North Carolina Volunteer, whose son Chuck Novak and his girlfriend Theresa Seaver were killed in a crash in Henderson County, North Carolina said, “The total number of fatalities and injuries in the crash that killed Chuck was 15. The motor carrier that caused the crash only held a $1 million policy, slightly higher than the minimum now required, which had to be split among five families who lost loved ones and ten injured, as well as all other parties who had a claim to the settlement, such as emergency responders. The insurance did not come close to covering medical costs, or providing for surviving families and children, like my grandson.” Novak added, “The American people unknowingly subsidize the uninsured costs of the trucking industry through programs such as Medicaid and Social Security. When financial responsibility is set so low, and costs are passed on to the victims, there is no deterrent for unsafe behavior.”

Marianne Karth, who lost her daughters AnnaLeah and Mary nearly one year ago in a truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son, said, “I couldn’t believe it when I learned how low financial responsibility requirements were set and that they hadn’t been increased in decades. No one, and that includes truck drivers, should have to deal with astronomical medical costs and potential personal financial ruin on top of the tragedy of losing family members. I ask OOIDA to reconsider their position on this issue, and to acknowledge that they sell truck insurance and are therefore not themselves a neutral party.” Karth continued, “My family and I have launched our ‘AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety’ petition to urge Secretary Foxx to immediately increase minimum insurance levels to, at the bare minimum, account for 30 years of medical care inflation, as well as, to address outstanding truck safety improvements. We hope to personally present him with over 15,000 signatures in a couple of weeks, and that the message we bring will prevent other families from unnecessarily suffering when there are readily available solutions to truck safety issues.”

To add your signature to the “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition, please go to: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/957/501/869/stand-up-for-truck-safety/

The Truck Safety Coalition is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) 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, policymakers and media about truck safety issues. More information is available at www.trucksafety.org.

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Truck Size and Weight Press Conference – 04/09/2014

Today, a broad coalition of public health and safety groups, truck drivers, law enforcement, and families of truck crash victims joined U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (DMA) on Capitol Hill to oppose any increases to federal truck size and truck weight limits as Congress debates the next multi-billion dollar surface transportation reauthorization bill. Concerns about a dangerous and deadly policy change in federal law are heightened because the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently conducting a study on truck size and weights which has significant flaws and potential biases …

Download Full Press Release below.

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Truck Safety Advocates Respond to GAO Report on FMCSA’s CSA Program

 Report Recommends Expanding and Improving Data.

Arlington, VA (February 4, 2014):  Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) responded to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program.  Izer states, “The GAO report agrees with CSA’s data driven, risk based approach. Additionally, the report confirms FMCSA’s claim that the CSA program has helped the agency contact or investigate more motor carrier companies and that it is an improvement over the previous system, SafeStat.”

Izer continued, “The GAO’s recommendations will help CSA to become a sharper, more useable tool.”

John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), and a member of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) Subcommittee on CSA, adds, “As FMCSA improves the CSA program and expands its information and data collection, we encourage FMCSA to ensure that the results produce greater oversight for both large and small carriers. In order to perpetuate the safety focused culture engendered by CSA’s creation, we support FMCSA continuing to allow public access to CSA information.”

Download the Press Release here: Truck Safety Advocates Respond to GAO Report on FMCSA’s CSA Program (PDF)

TRUCK SAFETY COALITION RESPONDS TO NTSB INVESTIGATION FINDINGS

 

Contact: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088, beth_weaver@verizon.net       

              

TRUCK SAFETY COALITION RESPONDS TO NTSB INVESTIGATION FINDINGS

Urge FMCSA to Immediately Release ELD Rule and to Preserve CSA Data

To Quickly Identify and Act on Poor Performing Motor Carriers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 7, 2013) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) completed its investigation today into four deadly commercial motor vehicle crashes, two involving trucks, calling for an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) oversight process. Truck safety groups contend NTSB’s crash findings, which include multiple violations to hours of service (HOS) rules, as well as a lack of oversight by the FMCSA, support their request for FMCSA to release the overdue electronic logging device (ELD) rule as quickly as possible, and to prevent any changes to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program (CSA) which would alter crash data and further weaken FMCSA’s oversight program.

“Shortly after my son Chuck and his girlfriend Theresa Seaver were killed in a truck crash in Hendersonville, NC, on October 24, 2010, we found out that the truck driver was not medically cleared to drive a commercial truck, that he had a record of safety violations, including going over the maximum allowable hours of driving per day as well as falsifying his HOS logs. A safety audit conducted after the crash found that he had violated HOS rules the day of the crash as well. The driver did not slow down or brake and there were no skid marks on the road,” said Jackie Novak, a volunteer for the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC). “In January 2010 FMCSA inspected this company and they were written up for having no file on the driver. The truck driver should not have been behind the wheel on the day that he killed five people and injured another 10. To prevent another family from having to go through this same experience, I filed a lawsuit against the FMCSA in 2011 for failing to enforce its own rules. It is validation to my family, and many of my fellow volunteers, that NTSB supports improving FMCSA’s oversight.”

Ed Slattery became a Member of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC), CSA Subcommittee, and a TSC volunteer after his wife Susan was killed and his sons Peter and Matthew were critically injured in a truck crash on the Ohio Turnpike on August 16, 2010. Slattery states, “When the truck driver that plowed over my family’s car was interviewed by the police, he admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel. We were fortunate that he took responsibility for his actions because fatigue can be difficult to detect. Although it is an industry-wide health and safety issue, it continues to be underreported. In our modern world, it’s absurd that we still allow hand written log books, which the NTSB report clearly shows are easily falsified. We will all benefit when the rule for ELDs is released – both the American public and truck drivers who are pushed to work beyond the limits of human endurance, regularly working over 70 hours a week. My heart goes out to the families in Kentucky and Tennessee whose lives were also changed in an instant because of someone else’s negligence and an industry that tolerates nearly 4,000 annual fatalities and an additional 100,000 injuries.”

Slattery adds, “The NTSB’s findings also emphasize the critical nature of whole data to the FMCSA’s oversight CSA program. It is essential that a process to remove or alter data is not permitted, and that the FMCSA receives adequate funding to support their oversight efforts and allow for full investigations rather than settling for less expensive reviews.”

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.

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For the PDF copy, please click here.

Truck Safety Groups Respond to Freight Panel Recommendations

To view the press release, please click here.

Twenty Years Later – the Tragic Truck Crash That Led to P.A.T.T.

Daphne and Steve Izer Remember their Son Jeff and his Friends and the Tragic Truck Crash That Led to Parents Against Tired Truckers – P.A.T.T.

Download Press Release Here (PDF)

Download Truck Driver Fatigue Fact Sheet (PDF)

20th-anniversary-patt-1Lisbon, Maine (October 10, 2013): On October 10, 1993, Daphne and Steve Izer received the worst news that a parent could get when a state trooper knocked on their door. A truck driver fell asleep at the wheel of his 80,000 pound rig, killing four innocent teenagers and seriously injuring one more. One of those killed was their son Jeff.  He and four of his friends were on their way to a haunted hayride and had just pulled into the breakdown lane on the Maine Turnpike with the car’s flashers on when a Wal-Mart truck driver fell asleep at the wheel of his big rig and crashed into Jeff and his friends.  As a result of this horrific, preventable crash, four beautiful teenagers: Jeff – age 17, Angie – age 16, Dawn Marie – age 15, and Katie – age 14 were killed.  Linda – age 15, survived but was seriously injured.  Five families suffered incomparable personal loss as a result of a single tired trucker. The Izers were devastated when they learned that truck driver fatigue had been a known truck safety issue for decades and that there were hundreds of thousands just like them — parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, co-workers and friends who had lost loved ones in preventable truck crashes.

 

20th-anniversary-patt-6

 

 

20th-anniversary-patt-2With the help of a family friend, Steve and Daphne formed Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) in May of 1994, to try to make a difference, to protect other families from what they had gone through, and to support the families who suffered similar losses.  P.A.T.T. has grown from a Maine grassroots group meeting around the Izer’s kitchen table to a nationally recognized organization.

Daphne recalls, “Our first action was to ensure that the Wal-Mart truck driver who killed our son was not merely fined and allowed to continue driving, which was the norm back then. After we raised a tremendous fuss, he was sentenced to only four months in prison. Then and there we knew we had to do more to change industry practices, improve enforcement of the regulations, and increase prosecution of violations.”

20th-anniversary-patt-3Soon after beginning P.A.T.T., the Izers started getting telephone calls from truck drivers and devastated families telling their stories.  Daphne remembers the early days, “Every call was answered.  Every conversation was part of P.A.T.T.’s education.  We held public meetings throughout the state of Maine, educating people, including law enforcement, prosecutors, drivers at truck stops and civic organizations. We did media interviews, radio talk shows, anything to get the message out.”

“We met other families who had suffered losses from truck crashes as well.  We printed “Stay Alert-Stay Alive” cards and fatigue prevention pamphlets that we all handed out, as well as, T-shirts and bumper stickers saying “Asleep at the Wheel-You Snooze We all Lose.” We raised money with bake sales, spaghetti dinners, and raffles.  We regularly produced a newsletter and I tried to send hand written notes to all victims of truck crashes I knew about on their anniversary date.”

20th-anniversary-patt-4“We quickly realized that we had to learn the legislative process. We worked almost 60 hours a week for years to build P.A.T.T., often exhausting ourselves in the process. We were constantly talking to the press, doing research for reporters, and were widely featured in a major AP story, and a series in the Portland, Maine press.”

Daphne continues, “At some point Steve and I knew that we needed help and that we needed to reach a wider audience and maintain a presence in Washington, DC. In 2002, we combined efforts with Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and formed the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC). Together, we are dedicated to reducing the number of preventable 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.”

 

20th-anniversary-patt-5“Steve and I wish that there’d been no reason for us to get involved in truck safety issues or to start P.A.T.T. but we had no choice. We are proud of all the work we’ve done and the organization we helped to build. Most importantly, our efforts have helped keep other families safe, and we’ve kept Jeff’s memory alive and close to our hearts.”

The Izer’s will spend the day privately, with family and friends, sharing memories of Jeff, Angie, Dawn Marie and Katie.

P.A.T.T.’s accomplishments include:

  • Increased the Maine wrongful death limit, which was only $75,000 at the time of Jeff’s crash;
  • Passed a tired trucker bill in Maine to strengthen enforcement and prosecution;
  • Passed a law requiring qualified investigators from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement unit of the State Police to investigate truck fatality crashes;
  • Served on the Motor Carrier Review Board for 13 years;
  • Participated in law suits to overturn the 2003 hours of service (HOS) rule, which raised the behind the wheel time from 10 to 11 hours;
  • Worked with Members of Congress to mandate the requirement for electronic logging devices (ELDs) in all commercial vehicles to prevent cheating on paper log books and to reduce truck driver fatigue;
  • Testified at numerous congressional hearings on fatigue and other truck safety issues;
  • Held hundreds of press conferences, interviews, and advocacy actions to support truck safety improvements;
  • Appeared on national television programs including Dateline and Geraldo;
  • Worked with every Secretary of Transportation since 1994; and
  • Hosted five Sorrow to Strength Conferences in Washington DC to teach truck crash survivors and the family of truck crash victims how to advocate for truck safety improvements, to educate them on truck safety issues and to provide a safe environment to connect and share stories about our loved ones.
  • 2001 PATT Brochure Download (PDF). Highlighting many more accomplishments.

P.A.T.T., working through the TSC, continues efforts to reduce fatigue related truck crashes by:

  • Ensuring that the ELD rule is completed and implemented as soon as possible;
  • Preventing exemptions to HOS limits;
  • Advocating for a requirement for sleep apnea screening for truck drivers;
  • Supporting the creation of safe and easily accessible rest areas for truck drivers;
  • Advocating for screening of prescription drugs which cause fatigue;
  • Protecting improvements to the HOS rule from being removed or weakened; and
  • Seeking changes to truck driver compensation so that truck drivers are paid for every hour worked.

Recent Media:

http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/2013/10/05/20-years-after-tragic-maine-crash-parents-still-ho/1430176

http://www.timesrecord.com/news/2013-10-10/Front_Page/Killed_by_tired_trucker_20_years_ago.html

TSC Advocates Urge Our New Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx To Make Changes Now.

anthonyfoxx-janemathis-johnlannenLast week, volunteer Truck Safety Coalition advocates traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with the new Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, formerly Mayor of Charlotte, NC.  Jane Mathis (St. Augustine, FL), Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC), Marianne Karth (Rocky Mount, NC), and Jackie Novak (Edneyville, NC), along with other truck safety advocates, brought their message of vital truck safety issues directly to the new Secretary.

anthonyfoxx-jennifertierney-jeffburnsJennifer Tierney, North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator for the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), board member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and a member of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) stated, “We appreciate the Department of Transportation’s continued commitment to safety and encourage them to stay the course. Despite the congressionally mandated truck size and weight study being conducted by the DOT right now, we are seeing a perpetual push for truck weight increases. It is more important than ever that we act on improvements to truck safety now. Bigger, heavier trucks make every truck crash more dangerous, and truck safety issues even more vital.”  Tierney urged the Department to support retaining the 1995 legislated freeze on longer combination vehicles (LCVs) and the current federal size and weight limits and oppose any special interest exemptions to truck size and weight limits.

Manthonyfoxx-mariannekartharianne Karth lost her daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, in May of this year in an underride truck crash.  Karth asked that the Department issue a long-overdue higher standard for rear underride guards and for side guards on motor carriers in order to prevent more families from losing loved ones, stating that research has already proven that improved rear underride guards should be required.  “If it had been done sooner, I might not have been at this meeting today,” said Karth.

anthonyfoxx-jackienovakJackie Novak, whose son Chuck, and Chuck’s girlfriend Theresa Seaver were killed in a truck crash in 2010 which claimed the lives of three others and injured several more, added, “After the crash that killed Chuck, we quickly learned that the trucking company’s insurance would not be able to cover all of the costs of those injured in the crash, and provide for the families of those killed. The requirements for insurance for motor carriers are so tremendously inadequate when compared to the capacity for damages caused by a truck crash. It’s unfathomable why minimum insurance levels have not been increased in over thirty years.  The Secretary of Transportation has the authority to adjust the minimum insurance levels and we implore him to exercise that authority. In fact, at our meeting with Senator Burr he also expressed his support of the Secretary increasing minimum insurance requirements.”

Jane Mathis, board member for Parents Against Tired Truckers and a member of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) concluded, “It’s been over a year since Congress approved the mandate for electronic logging devices (ELD’s) on all commercial vehicles, and every day we continue to wait for the rule, we miss an opportunity to save lives and prevent injuries. We appreciated the time Secretary Foxx spent with our group, and his assurance that within a short period of time we will see tangible progress on the truck safety issues we raised during the meeting.”

 Download Press Release Here (PDF)

NC Advocates Press Release

THREE MONTHS AFTER THE DEVASTATING TRUCK CRASH THAT TOOK THE LIVES OF HER DAUGHTERS, MARIANNE KARTH JOINS TRUCK SAFETY ADVOCATES TO SEEK TRUCK SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (Tuesday, August 13, 2013) – Today, Marianne Karth joined North Carolina Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) members Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC), Jackie Novak (Edneyville, NC) and Paul Badger (Davidson, NC) to meet with Senator Burr and focus attention on vital truck safety issues.

Three months ago, Marianne, her son Caleb and daughters AnnaLeah and Mary set out on a trip from their home in Rocky Mount, NC for Texas to celebrate four graduations and a wedding. Marianne was looking forward to delivering the wedding dress she had sewn to the bride, her daughter Rebekah, and the whole Karth family was excited to reunite with friends and family. Their plans changed in an instant when a semi-truck driver slammed into the rear of Marianne’s car as she waited in slowed traffic. The Karth’s car spun around and became wedged underneath another truck. Marianne and her son Caleb were injured. AnnaLeah was killed instantly, and Mary died a few days later.

“The loss of AnnaLeah and Mary has torn a hole in our family, and I was devastated to learn that we are not alone in our grief. Every year nearly 4,000 people are killed on our nation’s highways in truck crashes,” said Marianne Karth. “I’ve learned that truck crash fatalities and injuries are an epidemic that must be halted. We can’t keep losing kids because we fail to require widely researched and proven safety advances such as stronger, lower underride guards. It pains my heart to think that my daughters may have survived if the trucks involved in the crash had been equipped with better underride guards.”

Jennifer Tierney, North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator for the TSC, board member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and a member of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) stated, “This September will mark thirty years since my father was killed in an underride crash. I cannot believe that our country still does not require improved rear underride guards, and we have yet to require side and front underride guards. We know that these guards will save lives, and reduce serious injuries. New and improved underride guard requirements are long overdue. I look forward to meeting with my fellow North Carolinian, our new Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Secretary Foxx, to discuss how we can work together to save lives.”

Jackie Novak, North Carolina Volunteer Advocate for the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) after losing her son Chuck, and Chuck’s girlfriend Theresa Seaver, in a truck crash in 2010 which claimed the lives of three others and injured several more, added, “When my only child was killed, leaving my grandson without a father, our grief felt endless. And, then it was compounded when we learned that the trucking company’s insurance would not be able to cover the costs of those injured in the crash, let alone provide
for the families of those killed. The requirements for insurance for motor carriers are so tremendously inadequate when compared to the capacity for damages caused by a truck crash. It’s unfathomable why minimum insurance levels have not been increased in over thirty years. I am so grateful for legislation to remedy this imbalance including Rep. Cartwright’s (D-PA) recently introduced, a Safe and Fair Environment on Highways Achieved through Underwriting Levels Act (H.R. 2730), SAFE HAUL. I urge our North Carolina Members of Congress to support SAFE HAUL.”

Paul Badger, whose father Bill Badger was killed nearly nine years ago when a tired trucker fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed into his car, noted, “Truck crash related fatalities increased in 2010 and then once again in 2011, and in spite of this, the push to increase truck size and weight limits continues. It is bad enough that truck crash fatalities are on the rise; truck size and weight increases will only make matters worse. I urge Members of Congress to resist efforts to increase truck sizes and weights, and especially before the Congressionally-mandated two-year truck size and weight study on the impacts to safety, infrastructure, costs and the environment is completed and reviewed.”

The Truck Safety Coalition is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) 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, policymakers and media about truck safety issues. More information is available at www.trucksafety.org, and on Marianne Karth’s facebook page in honor of AnnaLeah and Mary at:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=495058843909968&id=464993830249803.

The TSC Responds to the Passing of Senator Lautenberg

THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION AND OUR VOLUNTEERS RESPOND

TO THE PASSING OF U.S. SENATOR FRANK R. LAUTENBERG

Senator Lautenberg Was a Truck Safety Champion

Arlington, VA (June 3, 2013): On behalf of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and our volunteers, we were deeply saddened by the passing of Senator Lautenberg, and would like to express our sympathies to his family, friends, staff members and to the citizens of New Jersey. Senator Lautenberg fought relentlessly for truck safety improvements in order to protect all of our families, as well as truck drivers. Our volunteers have had the honor of meeting and working with Senator Lautenberg on numerous truck safety issues over the course of his long Senate career. The truck safety advances he championed will ensure lifesaving protections for years to follow.

Daphne Izer, founder of PATT after her son Jeff and three of his friends were killed in a truck crash, stated, “To the families who suffered injuries or lost loved ones in a truck crash, today marks the loss of a true hero. Senator Lautenberg understood the dangers of bigger, heavier trucks and sponsored lifesaving legislation including the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act. The price paid by our families in injuries, loss and heartache must end. We hope Senator Lautenberg’s tremendous example will inspire Members of Congress to continue his extraordinary work.”

“Senator Lautenberg’s truck safety legacy is beyond measure. We will never know exactly how many lives he saved and how many injuries he prevented through his focus, advocacy and legislative leadership to improve truck safety. The truck safety requirements he helped shepherd in MAP – 21 are but one example of his commitment to protecting our families. I always found him focused on me when I spoke, sincerely concerned about my family, and wanting so urgently to fix the truck safety problems which brought me to his office. I know that I am not alone in saying I will miss him.” Dawn King, Board Member, CRASH, after losing her father Bill Badger in a Georgia truck crash caused when the truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

Jane Mathis, Board Member for PATT, after her son David and his wife of five days, Mary Kathryn, were killed by a fatigued truck driver who fell asleep behind the wheel, added, “Senator Lautenberg recognized the dangers to our families and to truck drivers caused by truck driver fatigue, and was an early proponent of electronic logging devices (ELDs) to enforce hours of service rules and to keep people safe. Last year’s requirement for ELDs in MAP-21 was a tremendous victory for safety. My fellow truck safety advocates and I eagerly await FMCSA’s final rule for ELDs, and express our gratitude for Senator Lautenberg’s tremendous contribution to reducing truck driver fatigue.”

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.

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DOT Announces NFAC Members

 

The Truck Safety Coalition congratulates Joan Claybrook (Chair of the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Board, President Emeritus of Public Citizen and former Administrator of NHTSA) and Jeff Burns (Board Member for CRASH and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT)) on being selected for membership on the National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC). Please see DOT’s announcement below:

DOT Thursday, May 30, 2013

Contact: DOT Press Office Tel.: (202) 366-4570

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces National Freight Advisory Committee Members

NFAC Will Provide Recommendations to Improve National Freight Transportation System

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the members of the National Freight Advisory Committee, a diverse group of professionals that will provide advice and recommendations aimed at improving the national freight transportation system. A strong freight transportation system is critical to the nation’s economy and essential for helping meet President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

“The strength of our economy and the strength of our national freight system go hand in hand,” said Secretary LaHood. “The members of this committee understand firsthand the critical importance of freight movement, and their valuable insight will help ensure that our system is more secure and better connected.”

The Advisory Committee is comprised of 47 voting members from outside the Department of Transportation. The Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, as well as representatives from other Federal agencies with freight-related obligations will serve as ex-officio members. Members come with various perspectives on freight transportation and represent various modes of transportation, geographic regions, and policy areas. Freight customers and providers, labor representatives, safety experts and government entities are all represented as well.

Members will serve two-year terms and meet at least three times per year. The first NFAC meeting is scheduled for June 25, 2013, at the Department of Transportation and will include an overview of MAP-21 Freight provisions and preliminary identification of NFAC activities. The meeting is open to the public. Information regarding the meeting will be available on the Federal Register.

The U.S. Department of Transportation solicited nominations in February. Secretary LaHood selected members with input from the MAP-21 Freight Implementation Team as well as the Freight Policy Council, an internal body of DOT leadership created to facilitate cross-modal implementation of freight provisions in the recently signed surface transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21.

MAP-21 established a national freight policy and called for the creation of a National Freight Strategic Plan. By engaging stakeholders representing diverse interests, the Advisory Committee will provide recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on how DOT can improve its freight transportation policies and programs.

The collaboration of stakeholders will serve to promote involvement and compliance with proposed plans and performance measures and will support the implementation of larger freight policy initiatives.

Over the last four years, the Obama Administration has made considerable investments in our national freight network. Through four rounds of the TIGER Grant program, DOT has directed $1 billion toward projects that primarily address freight. This includes more than $650 million to projects that strengthen freight rail infrastructure, reduce freight bottlenecks, and alleviate congestion issues, and more than $350 million to our port system.

The National Freight Advisory Committee members are:

Stephen Alterman, Cargo Airline Association

Gregory A. Ballard, City of Indianapolis

Kevin L. Brubaker, Environmental Law Policy Center

Jeffrey Burns, Parents Against Tired Truckers and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways

Terry Button, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

Anne Canby, OneRail

Joan Claybrook, Public Citizen

Kristin Decas, Port of Hueneme

Mortimer L. Downey III, CAGTC

John H. Eaves, Fulton County

John E. Fenton, Patriot Rail Corp

Karen Flynn, Arkema Inc.

Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County

Genevieve Giuliano, University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy

John Thomas Gray II, Association of American Railroads

Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Lambert International Airport

Brad Hildebrand, Cargill, Inc.

Stacey D. Hodge, New York City Department of Transportation

James P. Hoffa, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

José Holguín-Veras, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Jack Holmes, UPS Freight

Richard Inclima, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamster Rail Conference

Frances Lee Inman, Majestic Realty Co.

Randell Iwasaki, Contra Costa Transportation Authority

Michael Jewell, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, AFL-CIO

Paul R. Kelly, A & S; S Service Group

Paul C. LaMarre III, Port of Monroe

Michelle Livingstone, The Home Depot >p>Bonnie Lowenthal, State of California

Andrew S. Lynn, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

C. Randal Mullett, Con-way Inc.

Rosa Navejar, The Rios Group Michael Nutter, City of Philadelphia

Gary A. Palmer, True Value Company

Craig Philip, Ingram Barge Company

John Previsich, SMART – Transportation Division

William Roberson, Nucor Steel – Berkeley

Christopher T. Rodgers, Douglas County, National Association of Counties

Mark Andrew Savage, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance/Colorado State Patrol

Karen Schmidt, Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board

Ann Schneider, Illinois DOT

Ricky D. Smith, Department of Port Control, Cleveland Airport

Mike Tooley, Montana DOT Peter G. Vigue, Cianbro Companies

Michael C. Walton, University of Texas Austin

A.C. Warton, City of Memphis

Leonard Waterworth, Port of Houston Authority

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