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Congress Poised to Increase Truck Driver Hours of Service

In Aftermath of Tracy Morgan Truck Crash

Truck Crash Victims & Survivors, Public Health & Safety Groups and Truck Drivers Urge Congress to Stop Assault on Truck Safety in Government Funding Bill

Secretary Foxx Should Recommend Veto if Anti-Safety Strikes Are Taken

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 3, 2014)-Leaders of the nation’s public health and safety, labor, environment and consumer groups together with victims and survivors of truck crashes urged Congressional leaders involved in the negotiations of the funding bill to reject non-related, anti-safety provisions from being included. Crash victims and organizations also pressed the Obama Administration to veto any spending bill that will result in more highway deaths and injuries. Corporate trucking and shipping interests are pushing a long and deadly “wish list” including allowing significant truck weight increases for several states; forcing 39 states to allow longer trailer lengths of 33 feet on streets and highways to benefit FedEx and other trucking companies; and, rolling back the current hours of service limits for truck drivers by eliminating the two-day weekend off-duty for truck drivers to rest. The industry-backed proposal will increase the current working and driving hours of truck drivers from 70 to 82 hours a week and greatly contribute to fatigued truck drivers.

With only 8 days before funding expires to keep the federal government open, truck crash victims and survivors and organizations also sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx urging him to recommend a presidential veto of any funding bill that includes anti-truck safety, special interest exemptions to federal safety laws and rules. Enactment of any of these anti-safety measures will have a profound and lasting impact on highway safety, deaths and injuries for years to come.

Joan Claybrook, Chair of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), stated, “President Obama took a bold stance objecting to legislation being negotiated to extend expiring tax breaks for well-connected corporations while neglecting working families. Similarly, we urge the White House to reject any funding bill that puts greedy special interest exemptions for well-connected corporate trucking and shipping interests before the safety of millions of innocent American families and truck drivers on our streets and highways every day.”

“The Omnibus should not be a testing ground for policies that denigrate highway safety and further deteriorate our crumbling infrastructure,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President.

Jackie Gillan, president, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated, “These special interest riders have not been subject to any committee hearings or adequate safety review and are being decided by Congress behind closed doors. Public opinion polls clearly and consistently show that Americans do not want to share the road with bigger and longer trucks driven by overworked and overtired truckers. The American public will pay with their lives and their wallets if Congress gives in to the anti-safety agenda of trucking interests.”

Truck crashes are a serious, deadly and costly problem to families, our infrastructure, our health care system, and to the economy. Large truck crashes are on the rise. In 2012, nearly 4,000 people were killed and 104,000 more were injured. The annual cost to society from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles is estimated to be over $99 Billion.

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), added, “The number of people killed in truck crashes is equivalent to a major airplane crash every week of the year. Congress should not be listening to well-heeled and well-connected trucking executives who want to push truck drivers to work 82 hours in a week. Truck driver fatigue is a major serious threat to everyone on the road. My teenage son was needlessly killed by a Walmart driver who fell asleep at the wheel. I am shocked that this proposal to eliminate the two-day weekend off-duty for truck drivers to rest is being seriously considered by Congress in the aftermath of the horrific crash that seriously injured Tracy Morgan and killed James McNair.”

Read the Letter to Secretary Foxx.

Read the Letter to Leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees.