House Transportation Appropriations Bill Just Released –
Complete Attack on Truck Safety
House Highways and Transit Subcommittee Hearing Tomorrow
On the “Future of Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety”
BUT No Truck Crash Victims or Safety Groups Invited to Participate
Available for Interview on Assault on National Truck Safety in Congress
Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Media Availability at 1:00 p.m. Hearing begins at 2 p.m.
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2167, in Hallway
The majority Members of the House Appropriations Committee just released the FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill. It includes a “wish list” of safety rollbacks and repeals by special trucking interests. Despite firm and significant public opposition, Congress continues to push the industry’s agenda without any public input, hearings or debate including:
- FedEx Double 33s Provision – Forcing States to Increase Truck Lengths to at Least 84 Feet – the Height of an 8-Story Building
- Truck Driver Hours of Service – Essentially Kills 34-Hour Restart “Weekend Off” for Truck Drivers Forcing them to Drive and Work up to 82 Hours/Week
- Special Interest Carve-Outs for Idaho to Increase Truck Weights from 80,000 lbs. to 129,000 lbs., for Kansas to Increase Truck Lengths, and Other State Exemptions
At the same time the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit is holding a hearing on “The Future of Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety: Technology, Safety Initiatives, and the Role of Federal Regulation.” Yet no Truck Crash Victims and Safety Advocates will testify. Prior to the hearing the following individuals are available for interviews:
Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), part of the Truck Safety Coalition, and Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Jacqueline Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
Larry Liberatore (Severn, MD) Larry’s son, Nick Liberatore, was killed on June 9, 1997, just south of the Delaware/Maryland state line, by a fatigued truck driver. Nick was travelling with a group of his high school friends to an amusement park. The vehicle in which he was a passenger had pulled over onto the shoulder of the road to wait for friends in another vehicle. The tired trucker, carrying a load of steel, veered across three lanes and ran over the parked car in which Nick was riding. The truck driver had not
slowed as he approached the toll booth which was about 1,000 yards past the crash site. Larry is a board member for Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT).
Frank Wood (Falls Church, VA) Frank’s daughter, Dana Wood and a girlfriend were killed on October 15, 2002 on I-95 in Virginia. Dana and her friend were driving to East Carolina University when the truck driver who, observing an emergency unfolding in front of him, neither slowed nor attempted to change lanes. The truck struck Dana’s car pushing it 1,500 feet down the highway. He had already clocked 9 hours behind the wheel on that day and was driving on a suspended license.
Ron Wood (Washington, DC) Ron lost his mother, Betsy Wood, and his sister, Lisa Wood Martin, and his sister’s three children Chance (4), Brock (2) and Reid (6 weeks) Martin when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel, crossed a median and crashed into Lisa’s SUV and a pick-up truck. A total of ten people were killed and one was seriously injured. The catastrophic outcome of the Wood family’s crash prompted a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation.
Truck crash deaths and injuries are up dramatically, yet at the same time Congress is considering major anti-truck safety changes which will make our streets and highways more dangerous and deadly.
Safety groups and families of truck crash victims are available to discuss the unprecedented assault on truck safety to rollback lifesaving safety rules and laws. These safety assaults being pushed in Congress by special trucking interests will increase the safety risks of others including truck drivers, the motoring public, bicyclists and pedestrians:
- Forcing states to allow FedEx double 33’ trailers throughout the country, taking away a state’s right to set trailer lengths (39 states currently prohibit double 33s and they are only being run selectively in 2 states) and jeopardizing safety;
- Permanently increasing truck driver working and driving hours up to 82 hours per week and taking away their “weekend” off. Trucking interests want to codify the Sen. Collins (R-ME) amendment which was tucked into the major appropriations bill last December;
- Raising current federal truck weight limits from 80,000 lbs. up to 129,000 lbs. in ID, raising truck lengths in Kansas, and others – and more exemptions could be added during Congressional consideration – which would further damage and destroy already-crumbling roads and bridges and rollback safety;
- Hiding from public view critical safety information about truck and motorcoach companies by denying consumers access to Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores; and,
- Allowing Mexican trucks to travel throughout the U.S. without adequate and valid data showing an acceptable level of safety will be maintained.
- Large truck crash fatalities have increased 17% over the last four years (2009-2013) while the overall number of traffic fatalities has declined by 3%.
- The number of people injured in large truck crashes increased by 28% since 2009 while the total number of people injured in all traffic crashes only increased by 4%.
- In fatal two-vehicle crashes between a large truck and a passenger motor vehicle, 96% of the fatalities were occupants of the passenger vehicle.
- Every year 4,000 people are killed and 100,000 are injured, on average, in truck crashes.
- Commercial motor vehicle crashes cost our nation $99 billion annually.
- Public opinion surveys consistently show strong opposition to rolling back federal truck safety rules allowing for bigger, longer and heavier trucks operated by tired truckers.