Read Maryland Truck Crash Victims’ Families Letter to Chairwoman Mikulski

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

Read Maryland Truck Crash Victims’ Families Letter to Chairwoman Mikulski

December 9, 2014

Dear Chairwoman Mikulski:

Thank you again for meeting with us before the mark-up of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) FY 2015 Appropriations bill, S. 2438, on June 5, 2014, to discuss our serious concerns about Senator Collins’ amendment to change the current federal truck driver hours of service limit. We find it unconscionable that this dangerous rider is now being considered for inclusion in the Omnibus spending bill. This rider has not been the subject of any congressional hearings, undergone any comprehensive safety review or analysis by experts, or been part of an open rulemaking process for the public to provide our views and concerns.

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. 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.

As a nation, we cannot continue to pay the high cost of commercial motor vehicle crashes that are estimated at over $99 billion each year. As a society, we cannot continue to experience the loss of 4,000 lives and 100,000 people injured in preventable truck crashes every year. Given the known dangers of truck driver fatigue, the abundant scientific evidence that supports the current hours of service limit, and the significant and lengthy decade-long process to ensure the veracity of the hours of service rule and to engage all stakeholders, Congress should not be considering any change that would suddenly alter this rule and exacerbate truck driver fatigue leading to more deaths and injuries.

When we met with you before the bill mark-up and took photos together, we were touched by your sincere expression of sympathy for our losses. Our losses should not have to be felt by other families nor should you have to console another Maryland family because of a fatigue-related truck crash. Now is the time to act to ensure that we do not roll back safety to the previous low standard set during the Bush administration years.

We urge you to stop this dangerous rider in its tracks, and we will stand together with you to protect our Maryland families and families across the nation.

Sincerely,

Larry Liberatore

Board Member, Parents Against Tired Truckers

Severn, Maryland

 

Ed Slattery

Board Member, Parents Against Tired Truckers

Lutherville, Maryland