New Survey Shows Strong Public Opposition to Longer Truck Driver Working Hours
CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.