STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN ON RELEASE OF FINAL RULE FOR ENTRY-LEVEL DRIVER TRAINING

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

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN ON RELEASE OF FINAL RULE FOR ENTRY-LEVEL DRIVER TRAINING

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

ON RELEASE OF FINAL RULE FOR ENTRY-LEVEL DRIVER TRAINING

ARLINGTON, VA (December 7, 2016) – The Truck Safety Coalition and our volunteers, many of whom are families of truck crash victims and survivors, are extremely disappointed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for releasing such a weak final rule requiring entry-level driver training for commercial motor vehicle drivers. 

After languishing for 25 years following a mandate from Congress, we were hopeful that the Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC), comprised of law enforcement, safety advocates, and industry, would be able to produce a negotiated rulemaking that included a minimum number of behind-the-wheel (BTW) training hours. After several meetings throughout the past year, a proposed rule was negotiated that included both a theoretical curriculum and a 30-hour minimum of BTW training. Unfortunately, the years of waiting and the participation of the ELDTAC committee has been a waste. The final rule does not mandate a minimum number of BTW training hours, severely blunting the potential safety benefits of it. 

Without a minimum BTW training hours requirement, the agency will not be able to ensure that commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants have had actual time behind-the-wheel to learn safe operations of a truck. Requiring a set number of hours to ensure that a licensee is sufficiently educated in his or her profession is common for far less deadly and injurious jobs, such as barbers and real estate salespersons. Even other transportation-related professions, like pilots, are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to complete more than 250 hours of flight time – their version of BTW training. Unfortunately, the FMCSA opted for a Pyrrhic victory that allowed them to check the box for finalizing one of their many unfinished, overdue, and much-needed rulemakings instead of producing a final rule that would do as their mission states: “reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.”

Given the overlap between trucking companies and training programs, and an industry turnover rate above 90 percent, the FMCSA is naïve to think that a BTW training standard based solely on a driver-trainee’s ‘proficiency’ will result in needed training and practice behind the wheel. The driver-trainees will be forced to complete BTW training at the pace of the training school they attend or the trucking company that runs it, which can lead to CDL mills.

The FMCSA’s latest attempt to produce an entry-level driver training rule for CMV drivers has been a colossal waste of time. This final rule is both insufficient in terms of advancing safety and an insult to the memories of those killed in crashes caused by inexperienced and untrained truck drivers.

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Statement on Release of Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule

STATEMENT OF JOHN LANNEN,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF TRUCK SAFETY COALITION

ON RELEASE OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL CLEARINGHOUSE FINAL RULE

ARLINGTON, VA (December 2, 2016) – After years of unnecessary delays, we are pleased that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today published a final rule to establish the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This rule will greatly enhance safety on our roads as employers will be able to access information regarding the testing history of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers applying for jobs and identify drivers who have previously violated alcohol and drug tests.

CMV drivers who have violated drug and alcohol testing currently pose a major threat to everyone on the road, but under the longtime system of self-reporting many employers were unable to access this information to avoid hiring problem drivers. The establishment of this new drug and alcohol clearinghouse that requires employers to check current and prospective employees will be a significant step forward for safety.

Truck Safety Coalition volunteers have first-hand experience with the deadly outcomes that result from truck drivers operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  Too often, a history of repeated drug and alcohol violations is not unearthed until a catastrophic crash occurs and a comprehensive investigation ensues.  This will no longer be the case as employers in the industry can now preemptively promote safety by identifying and not hiring dangerous drivers.

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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.

 

Safety Groups Respond to T & I Hearing Stacked with Industry

Click here to view our letter.

Daphne Izer Speaks Out – Bangor Daily News

Keep on truckin’

On June 13, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development held a hearing about our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I was confounded to hear Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, decry the dire condition of highways and bridges throughout our state since she was the lead proponent of allowing behemoth 100,000-pound trucks on our interstate.

In January 2011, I urged members of the Maine delegation to stop the 20-year congressional pilot program allowing these overweight trucks on our roads. Despite clear and compelling facts demonstrating the safety risks and damage to our infrastructure, the program was enacted.

Now, Collins says that Maine’s roads and bridges are among the worst in the nation’s rural transportation system. Well, the senator should know that large, heavy trucks are a major cause of bridge and pavement damage.

The Maine Department of Transportation estimates that to maintain state highways and bridges in good repair would cost $335 million annually — $110 million above current levels. The senator should have considered the cost to Maine’s citizens and taxpayers before supporting legislation to allow more big trucks on I-95.

Aside from the damage to our infrastructure, large truck crashes continue to claim about 4,000 lives annually. In 1993, my teenage son, Jeff, and three friends were killed by a large truck while stopped in their car in the breakdown lane of the Maine Turnpike. The chance of surviving a serious crash with a large truck is slim, and now with 100,000-pound trucks, it’s even slimmer.

Daphne Izer

Lisbon

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/20/opinion/letters/friday-june-21-2013-background-checks-wind-power-and-adult-education/

Daphne Izer Updates Committee Leaders on CSA Crash Data

To read Daphne Izer’s letter to Senator Frank Lautenberg, click here.

To read Daphne Izer’s letter to Senator Roy Blunt, click here.