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TRUCK CRASH SURVIVORS AND VICTIMS URGE FMCSA ADMINISTRATOR NOMINEE TO PRIORITIZE TRUCK SAFETY

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

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increase in truck crash fatalities and the need for the agency to finalize key rulemakings that it has delayed or withdrawn since January 2017.

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

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

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apnea can result in truck drivers falling asleep while operating big rigs, it is unreasonable for the agency to have withdrawn this rulemaking.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

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

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

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