National Work Zone Awareness Week: Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) Remembers Those Killed in Work Zone Crashes Involving a Large Truck; Families Call for Action to Support Automatic Emergency Braking in All Large Trucks and Oppose Teenage Truckers Operating Across State Lines

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

    National Work Zone Awareness Week: Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) Remembers Those Killed in Work Zone Crashes Involving a Large Truck; Families Call for Action to Support Automatic Emergency Braking in All Large Trucks and Oppose Teenage Truckers Operating Across State Lines

    Arlington, VA – This National Work Zone Awareness Week, our volunteers remember their loved ones who were killed in fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks and impress upon Congress and the Administration to utilize research based policies to address these preventable deaths. Big rigs are grossly overrepresented in these types of crashes, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determining that 30 percent of fatal work zone crashes involved at least one large truck in 2017. This is unacceptable, especially as equipping automatic emergency braking (AEB) remains optional for large trucks even though there is resounding evidence that supports their use.

    Amy Fletcher, a TSC volunteer from Ohio whose husband, was killed in a construction zone, noted, “Work zone safety and truck safety go hand-in-hand. After losing my husband, John, on January 24, 2012, I resolved to address the overrepresentation of large trucks in fatal work zone crashes. By requiring trucks to have AEB, our lawmakers can address fatal truck crashes like the one that killed John and injured two other highway workers. It would also show the men and women who do essential jobs outside of office settings, like construction workers and police officers, that their safety and well-being on the job is more important than a next-day delivery.”

    Ed Slattery, a Board Member of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), whose wife, Susan, was killed and his two sons seriously injured in a work zone crash involving a triple tractor trailer on the Ohio Turnpike stated, “The truck driver in my family’s crash happened to be fatigued, but we need to be able to address any and all instances where a truck driver does not apply the brakes, whether it is distraction, drug-use, or some other reason. AEB can help with that by first warning the truck driver with an audio or visual alert before partially applying brakes and then eventually fully applying the brakes if the driver does not respond. In my family’s crash, AEB could have made the difference.”

    “Unfortunately, there has not been a single bill introduced in this session of Congress that would require all large trucks to have this technology even though NHTSA reported that approximately half of new passenger vehicles manufactured since 2017 were voluntarily equipped with AEB” Slattery continued. “Instead, some members of Congress have introduced legislation that would require the use of AEB only in trucks operated across state lines by 19 and 20 year olds. This is illogical. For one, the bill’s authors tacitly acknowledge that technologies, like AEB, are effective at improving the operational safety of trucks; so, instead of limiting it to the most dangerous demographic, they should support AEB in all trucks – regardless of the driver’s age. Moreover, the motivation for lowering the entry-age for interstate trucking is based on the erroneous claim that there is a truck driver shortage. Yet, in March of this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that ‘the occupation of truck driving is often portrayed by the industry and in the popular press as beset by high levels of turnover and persistent “labor shortages”… [But] a deeper look does not find evidence of a secular shortage.

    Pam Biddle, whose son, Aaron, was killed in Indiana after a truck driver approached highway traffic that was stopped due to another semi-truck incident, failed to slow in time, and fatally crashed into the vehicle her son was riding in – killing all three occupants and himself– reiterated the effectiveness of AEB in large trucks and the dangers of teen truckers: “Enough is enough. I am angry that lawmakers from the state where my son was needlessly killed are pushing policies that will make trucking and our roads less safe, while ignoring the data that tells them this as well as ignoring the solutions that would actually improve safety.”

    “Senator Todd Young and Representative Trey Hollingsworth are leading an effort in Congress to allow teenage truckers to operate across state lines despite the fact that their own state of Indiana noted in its FY 2018 Highway Safety Plan (submitted to NHTSA) that “In 2015, young drivers (ages 15 to 20 years old) had the highest involvement in fatal collisions and highest rate of drivers killed per 100,000 licensed drivers of any age group (3.4, compared to 3.2 for drivers’ ages 21 to 24 years and 2.8 for drivers’ ages 25 to 44 years)… [and that] this age group also has the highest percentage of engaging in distracted driving during a collision (4.7, compared to 4.0 ages 21 to 24, 3.1 ages 25-44, and less than 2.5 for those who are 45 and older),” Mrs. Biddle noted. “Their own State’s data shows younger drivers pose a higher safety risk behind the wheel of passenger vehicles, which we all know are much less difficult to operate than an 80,000 lbs. truck, so on its face this seems like a bad idea. Including provisions that would restrict younger truckers to vehicles with AEB seems like a Beltway trick to make a giveaway to few big motor carriers sound more appealing to folks concerned with safety. It is not. Rather than treating the technology that could have saved my son’s life as some cynical bargaining chip to offset the anticipated risk of cheaper labor for big companies, I hope they reconsider their support for this misguided measure and instead work with families like mine to help proliferate AEB throughout the trucking fleet in the United States, regardless of the age of the driver.”

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

     

      Group Letter to Congress on Automatic Emergency Braking and Speed Limiters

      January 29, 2019

      Dear Representative:

      Imagine if there were solutions that could help save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of injuries each year resulting from large truck crashes on America’s highways.

      There are.

      Our large and growing coalition writes to inform you about two solutions to highway crashes and deaths involving large trucks: Heavy vehicle speed limiters and automatic emergency braking (AEB).

      As you may be aware, recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that truck crashes, and the resulting injuries and deaths, continue to increase year after year despite the fact that total truck vehicle miles traveled has effectively remained stagnant since 2009.

      Yet, these dire trends are not irreversible. Proven solutions, like speed limiters and automatic emergency braking, are available today but their use is still not required by law.

      SURVEY SHOWS AMERICANS STRONGLY SUPPORT TRUCK SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

      A national survey conducted by McLaughlin & Associates in September of 2018 shows strong support across all political, geographic and demographic groups for Congressional action requiring the use of speed limiting and automatic braking technologies in large trucks in the United States.

      When voters were asked whether they favor or oppose Congress requiring large trucks to have their speed limiters set at a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour:

      • 79% said they favor this requirement,
      • 45% strongly favor it,
      • Only 13% oppose it.

      When voters were asked whether they favor or oppose Congress requiring large trucks to use AEB:

      • 82% of voters favor AEB,
      • 50% strongly favor it,
      • Just 9% oppose it.

      THE FACTS SUPPORT ACTION

      Recently released results from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) confirm that truck safety in the United States has drastically declined from 2009 to 2017 (the most recent year of available data):

      • Truck crash fatalities increased by 41 percent nationally from 2009-2017, with 44 states experiencing increases in truck crash deaths during this period,
      • The number of children (ages 14 and younger) killed in large truck crashes rose by 20 percent,
      • The number of truck occupants killed rose by 69 percent, resulting in the highest number of large truck occupants killed since 1989,
      • Crashes in which a large truck rear-ended a passenger vehicle increased by 82 percent from 2009 to 2016 (the most recent year of available data for this crash subset),
      • 30 percent of all fatal work zone crashes involved at least one large truck in 2017.

      These statistics paint a grim picture: truck safety is getting worse across the board. As lawmakers, you cannot allow another year to pass and even more people to die or be injured in large truck crashes without taking action. These folks are not just statistics nor are they just your constituents; they are our mothers, fathers, siblings, children, and members of the community who should be able to safely share the road with large trucks.

      OTHER COUNTRIES REQUIRE THESE LIFE-SAVING TECHNOLOGIES ON LARGE TRUCKS TO GREAT EFFECT

      Dozens of other leading countries, like Japan, Australia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, have required the use of these technologies because they determined doing so would make them safer. In fact, many of those countries have experienced reductions in the number of annual truck crash fatalities and not one has reversed their decision.

      The European Union (EU), for example, requires large trucks to be equipped with and use both speed limiters (since 1992) and AEB (since 2012). And unlike our country, the EU has seen truck safety improve. From 2009 to 2016, the last year of comparable data, the European Union experienced a 20 percent decrease in the number truck crash deaths, while U.S. truck crash fatalities shot up 29 percent.

      THERE IS AMPLE RESEARCH SUPPORTING THE SAFE, SUCCESSFUL USE OF THESE TECHNOLOGIES

      Speed limiters have been standard in most heavy commercial trucks since the mid-1990s, and numerous analyses have found them to be quite effective. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s own road-based study found that trucks not using their speed limiters had a significantly higher highway-speed crash rate (approximately 200%) compared to trucks using speed limiters. A more recent study from the Province of Ontario found that the incidence of heavy trucks’ speeding leading to a highway crash dropped 73 percent following implementation of the province’s speed limiter rule at 65 mph in 2009. They also had a 24% drop in fatalities in all heavy truck-involved collisions. Additionally, the Ontario study directly debunked the claim that speed differentials would lead to an increase in overall crashes involving big rigs, finding no evidence of such an increase at all.

      With regards to automatic emergency braking, NHTSA estimates that current generation AEB systems can prevent more than 2,500 crashes each year. The agency also found that 166 people will unnecessarily die, and another 8,000 individuals will suffer serious injuries every year a full implementation of AEB is delayed.

      The data from trucking companies corroborates these findings. A major trucking company experienced a 69 percent decrease in rear-end crashes and 95 percent reduction in rear-end collision claims since it began equipping all new tractors with OnGuard Collision Mitigation Systems in 2012, and another major motor carrier saw their number of rear-end collisions decrease by nearly 80 percent from 2003 to 2015 after equipping their fleet with an active system of collision avoidance and mitigation. Likewise, a third company saw a 71 percent reduction in rear-end collisions and a 63 percent decrease in unsafe following behaviors in their trucks equipped with AEB as well as electronic stability control and lane departure warning compared to their trucks without these safety systems.

      We urge you to reflect on the rising number of truck crash deaths and recognize that it is time to require the use of sensible, existing safety solutions. The EU mandated both of these technologies years ago and now experiences fewer truck crash fatalities than the United States. Congress should not stand by silently as proven solutions for improving truck safety are readily available yet inexplicably not yet required in our country.

      We look forward to working with you to pass life-saving legislation that will require all big-rig trucks to use speed limiters and automatic emergency braking.

      Sincerely,

      Steve Owings, Co-Founder

      Road Safe America

       

      Harry Adler, Executive Director

      Truck Safety Coalition

       

      Sally Greenberg, Executive Director

      National Consumers League

       

      Caron Whitaker, Director, Bike Walk Action

      The League of American Bicyclists

       

      Marco Conner, Co-Deputy Director

      Transportation Alternatives

       

      Elliott Caldwell, Executive Director

      Georgia Bikes

       

      Melissa Wandall, President

      National Coalition for Safer Roads

       

      Daphne Izer

      Co-Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT)

       

      Dawn King

      Davisburg, MI

      President, Truck Safety Coalition

      Board Member, CRASH

      Daughter of Bill Badger

      Killed in truck crash 12/23/04

       

      Jane Mathis

      St. Augustine, FL

      Vice President, TSC

      Board Member, PATT

      Mother of David Mathis

      Mother-in-Law of Mary Kathryn Mathis

      Killed in a truck crash 3/25/04

       

      Peter Malarczyk

      Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 12/29/15

      Son of Ryszard and Anita Malarczyk

      Killed in a truck crash 12/29/15

       

      Santiago Calderon

      Arcata, CA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 4/10/14

       

      Monica Malarczyk

      Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 12/29/15

      Son of Ryszard and Anita Malarczyk

      Killed in a truck crash 12/29/15

       

       

       

      Michelle Lemus

      Los Angeles, CA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 4/10/14

       

      Linda Wilburn

      Weatherford, OK

      Board Member, PATT

      Mother of Orbie Wilburn

      Killed in a truck crash 9/2/02

       

      Larry Liberatore

      Severn, MD

      Board Member, PATT

      Father of Nick Liberatore

      Killed in a truck crash 6/9/97

       

      Vickie Johnson

      Hartwell, GA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Wife of Curt Johnson, Step-mother of Crystal Johnson

      Killed in a truck crash 10/1/2009

       

      Beth Badger

      Columbus, GA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Daughter of Bill Badger

      Killed in truck crash 12/23/04

       

      Vincent Laubach

      Reno, NV

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Truck Crash Survivor

       

      Paul Badger

      Davidson, NC

      Son of Bill Badger

      Killed in truck crash 12/23/04

       

      Gary Wilburn

      Weatherford, OK

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Father of Orbie Wilburn

      Killed in a truck crash 9/2/02

       

      Tami Friedrich Trakh

      Corona, CA

      Board Member, CRASH

      Sister of Kris Mercurio, Sister-in-Law of Alan Mercurio, Aunt of Brandie Rooker & Anthony Mercurio

      Killed in a truck crash 12/27/89

       

      Debra Cruz

      Harlingen, TX

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 8/8/2008

       

      Tina Silva

      Ontario, CA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Sister of Kris Mercurio, Sister-in-Law of Alan Mercurio, Aunt of Brandie Rooker & Anthony Mercurio

      Killed in a truck crash 12/27/89

       

      Kathleen Laubach

      Reno, NV

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Truck Crash Survivor

       

      Bruce King

      Davisburg, MI

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Son-in-law of Bill Badger

      Killed in truck crash 12/23/04

       

      Laurie Higginbotham

      Memphis, TN

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Mother of Michael Higginbotham

      Killed in a truck crash, 11/18/14

       

      Kim Telep

      Harrisburg, PA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Wife of Bradley Telep

      Killed in a truck crash 8/29/12

      Catherine Chase, President

      Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

       

      Jason Levine, Executive Director

      Center for Auto Safety

       

      Janette Fennell, Founder and President

      KidsAndCars.org

       

      Gary Smith, President

      Child Injury Prevention Alliance

       

      Sally Flocks, President & CEO

      Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety (PEDS)

       

      Wanda Lindsay, Founder

      The John Lindsay Foundation

       

      Jennifer Tierney, Board Member

      Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation

       

      Ron Wood

      Washington, D.C.

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Son of Betsy Wood, Brother of Lisa Wood Martin, Uncle of Chance, Brock, and Reid Martin

      Killed in a truck crash 9/20/04

       

      Julie Branon Magnan

      South Burlington, VT

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 01/31/02

      Wife of David Magnan

      Killed in a truck crash 01/31/02

       

      Amy Fletcher

      Perrysburg, OH

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Wife of John Fletcher

      Killed in a truck crash 1/24/12

       

      Kate Brown

      Gurnee, IL

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Mother of Graham Brown

      Injured in a truck crash 5/2/05

       

      Christina Mahaney

      Jackman, ME

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 7/19/2011

      Mother of Liam Mahaney

      Killed in a truck crash 7/19/2011

       

      Steve Izer

      Lisbon, ME

      Board Member, PATT

      Father of Jeff Izer

      Killed in a truck crash 10/10/93

      Sandra Lance

      Chesterfield, VA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Mother of Kristen Belair

      Killed in a truck crash 8/26/2009

       

      Bernadette Fox

      Davis, CA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Best friend of Daniel McGuire

      Killed in a truck crash 7/10/2014

       

      Alan Dana

      Plattsburgh, NY

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Son of Janet Dana, Uncle of Caitlyn & Lauryn Dana, Brother-in-law of Laurie Dana

      Killed in a truck crash 7/19/12

       

      Nancy Meuleners

      Bloomington, MN

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 12/19/89

       

      Frank Wood

      Falls Church, VA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Father of Dana Wood

      Killed in a truck crash 10/15/02

       

      Morgan Lake

      Sunderland, MD

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Injured in a truck crash 7/19/13

       

      Ashley McMillan

      Memphis,TN

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Girlfriend of Michael Higginbotham

      Killed in a truck crash, 11/18/14

       

      Michelle Novak

      Delevan, NY

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Aunt of Charles “Chuck” Novak

      Killed in a truck crash 10/24/10

      Jackie Novak

      Hendersonville, NC

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Mother of Charles “Chuck” Novak

      Killed in a truck crash 10/24/10

       

      Ed Slattery

      Lutherville, MD

      Board Member, PATT

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Husband of Susan Slattery

      Killed in a truck crash 8/16/10

      Sons Matthew & Peter Slattery critically injured

       

      Marc Johnson

      Hartwell, GA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Brother of Curt Johnson

      Killed in truck crash 10/1/2009

       

      Melissa Gouge

      Washington, D.C.

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Cousin of Amy Corbin

      Killed in a truck crash 8/18/97

       

      Marchelle Wood

      Falls Church, VA

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Mother of Dana Wood

      Killed in a truck crash 10/15/02

       

      Randall Higginbotham

      Memphis, TN

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Father of Michael Higginbotham

      Killed in a truck crash, 11/18/14

       

      Cindy Southern

      Cleveland, TN

      Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

      Wife of James Whitaker, sister-in-law Anthony Hixon and aunt of Amber Hixon

      Killed in a truck crash 9/18/09

       

        National Survey Shows Strong Support for Mandating Speed Limiters and Automatic Emergency Braking on All Large Trucks

        CONTACT: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088

        beth_weaver@verizon.net

        Arlington, VA (October 25, 2018): The Truck Safety Coalition, which is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), welcomes the results of a national survey conducted by McLaughlin Group revealing overwhelming public support – 79 percent and 82 percent, respectively – for Congress mandating the use of speed limiters and automatic emergency braking on all large trucks. Despite long-term, successful use by leading trucking companies and ample data demonstrating the safety benefits of these technologies, rulemakings that would require them have languished and legislators have failed to take actions that would ensure their finalization.

        Survey results available: www.roadsafe.org.

        Linda Wilburn, a PATT board member said, “Following our son Orbie’s fatal crash, caused by a speeding truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel, my husband, Gary, and I resolved to address the preventable issues that contributed to his death. Speed limiters and automatic emergency braking are solutions that could have prevented his crash or, at the very least, mitigated the severity it. Unfortunately, neither were required back then – 16 years ago – and both remain voluntary to this day. I am hopeful that this resounding public support for speed limiters and AEB will motivate Congress to act swiftly to pass a legislative mandate requiring both technologies on large trucks.”

        Rick Watts, a TSC volunteer from Tennessee who lost his wife, Tiffany, his stepdaughters, Kelsie and Savannah Garrigues, and his mother in law, Sharon Anderson, in a crash involving a speeding truck driver that failed to stop in time, was encouraged by the results of the survey: “Limiting the ability of truck drivers to operate at excessive speeds will reduce the likelihood that big rig drivers will be unable to stop in time or unable to control their vehicle. This is not just commonsense; the data confirms it. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, who is partially responsible for finalizing the heavy vehicle speed limiter rule, found that trucks equipped with speed limiters were nearly 50 percent less likely to be involved in a crash than trucks without speed limiters. An even more recent study conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation found that speed-related, at-fault truck crashes fell by 73 percent after mandatory speed limiter use took effect there. These compelling figures coupled with the public consensus in support of a speed limiter mandate should make finalizing this rule a top priority in Congress.”

        John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition added, “Lawmakers need to take stronger action to reverse the rising number of truck crashes, and resulting injuries and deaths. With a truck rear-ending a passenger vehicle every fifteen minutes in the U.S. and 30 percent of all fatal work zone crashes involving at least one large truck, there is a clear need to address crashes wherein the truck driver fails to stop in time. In work zone areas and when traffic is significantly slowed or at a complete stop, cars are particularly vulnerable to being rear ended by large trucks. As you can imagine, construction workers, police officers, and children who occupy the second and third rows of cars are all too often the victims in these types of crashes. This is why it is imperative that Congress passes a law requiring AEB technology in all large trucks.”

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