An Oversized Truck Strike is the Probable Cause for the Washington State I-5 Bridge Collapse

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

An Oversized Truck Strike is the Probable Cause for the Washington State I-5 Bridge Collapse

Contact: Beth Weaver



Truck Safety Advocates Respond to Report – Existing Truck Safety Issues Would Be Exacerbated by Bigger and Heavier Trucks

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 16, 2014)—On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that an oversized truck striking the I-5 bridge in Washington state was the probable cause of its collapse on May 23, 2013, in which three were injured, and fortunately none killed. The bridge collapse and the NTSB’s findings illustrate the dangers that arise when there is a lack of oversight on the permitting process of oversized trucks.

Jennifer Tierney, Board Member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Truck Safety Coalition North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator, and Member of FMCSA, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) after losing her father, James Mooney, in a truck crash said, “This highlights something the safety community has already known for years, the gaps and lack of oversight in our current system along with the vulnerability of our infrastructure creates a dangerous combination. We need to improve truck safety, not make it more dangerous. Now is not the time to be increasing truck size or weight.”

As a result of the damage to its truss structure, the bridge, constructed in 1955, buckled and subsequently collapsed into the Skagit River. In its findings, the NTSB cited the insufficient route planning by the trucking company and truck driver and inadequate evaluation of oversized permit requests as two of the reasons the collapse occurred. The NTSB recommended that the Washington State Department of Transportation revise its permit process for oversized trucks to include an evaluation of the route’s overhead clearances and lane widths with respect to the oversized truck’s load dimensions.

Tierney concluded, “Transportation budget shortfalls have resulted in a dire state of infrastructure disrepair, nearly 70,000 of our bridges are rated structurally deficient. We don’t have the money to repair our infrastructure damage at the current rate of wear let alone consider the increased wear produced by bigger and heavier trucks. In fact, increasing the weight of a heavy truck by only 20 percent will increase bridge damage by 33 percent.”

In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimated that in order to address all cost-beneficial bridge needs, the investment backlog for bridges is $121 billion, which is 60 percent over the current spending levels for bridges. Moreover, the Highway Trust Fund is projected to go broke after this summer. As Congress attempts to find ways to keep highway repair funded, any increases in truck size and weight will increase the wear and tear on bridges and increase the cost of bridge maintenance.


The Safety Community and Teamsters Respond to NTSB Initial Crash Report on Tracy Morgan Crash

Contact: Beth Weaver 301.814.4088,/



Truck Driver Charged with Death by Auto and Assault by Auto for Causing the Crash that Killed One Man and Critically Injured Others, Including Actor Tracy Morgan

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2014)—The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released an initial report on the crash that killed comedian James McNair and critically injured others, including actor Tracy Morgan, on the New Jersey Turnpike. The NTSB found that the driver of the Wal-Mart truck, Kevin Roper, 35, had logged over 13 hours, and was just under the maximum 14-hour limit for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Roper was within 23 minutes of his hours of service limits at the time of the crash and would have failed to reach his Perth Amboy destination before exceeding the allowable hours of service limits.

“The NTSB’s preliminary findings in this case clearly show that truck drivers are pushing beyond the limits of the current hours of service rules,” said Teamsters General President, James P. Hoffa. “In light of these findings, it would be irresponsible to even consider rolling back hours of service rules and opening the door to increased driver fatigue.”

The NTSB findings come as the Senate is about to vote on the Booker Amendment to stop tired trucking. This amendment is introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and cosponsored by Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod C. Brown (D-OH), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Brian E. Schatz (D-HI), and Chris S. Murphy (D-CT). The Booker Amendment would protect the restart provision in the hours of service rule ensuring that truck drivers get adequate rest and maintaining the current maximum 60-70 hours per week. The amendment was introduced as a response to the Collins Amendment, which would increase the truck driver weekly work week to over 80 hours.

Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), said, “It is tragic and unfortunate that it took a horrific crash caused by a dozing truck driver killing one person and severely injuring Tracy Morgan and others to bring national attention to the epidemic of fatigued truck drivers on our roads.  These truck drivers are being pushed beyond their limits to work 70 hour work weeks, and now Senator Collins wants to increase this time to more than 80 hours.  The Collins Amendment is not a solution to tired truckers but a gift to trucking industry allies.  It’s time to put the brakes on these rolling sweatshops.  Not a single safety organization supports the Collins Amendment but every major highway and truck safety organization supports Senator Booker’s amendment, cosponsored by fourteen additional Senators. It is absolutely clear which amendment is on the side of safety.”

Jacqueline Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated, “Truck drivers should be sleeping in beds and not behind the wheel of an 80,000 lb. rig traveling at high speeds. Sen. Collins’ proposal will turn back the clock to a time when truck drivers only had one day and 10 hours off between 80 hour driving and working shifts.  It was under this grueling schedule that a 2005 survey of truck drivers showed that almost half admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel and 65% admitted to driving drowsy. Not a single safety group has endorsed the Collins Amendment. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety strongly supports the Booker Amendment and urges the Senate to put safety first.”

The issue of truck driver fatigue is very personal to Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), who lost her son Jeff Izer, 17, in a preventable truck crash by a fatigued truck driver. Izer said, “No loss of life is worth getting a load of freight delivered on time. Truck driver fatigue has been a serious safety issue for over 70 years and we need to uphold the ongoing efforts to improve this safety issue, not make it worse, which is why I support the Booker Amendment.”


NTSB recommends 10-year employment database for truck drivers

NTSB recommends 10-year employment database for truck drivers

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor


A fatal crash involving a truck and an Amtrak train in Nevada in 2011 could significantly affect the employment screening process for truck drivers if NTSB gets its way.

Citing the crash that killed six people including the truck driver on June 24, 2011, near Reno, the National Transportation Safety Board rolled out a list of recommendations to agencies including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Topping the list, NTSB Administrator Deborah Hersman is urging the FMCSA to create a national database for commercial drivers and require motor carriers to screen 10 years of driver employment history prior to hiring.

Hersman framed the three-part employment screening request, along with an additional recommendation on brake monitoring, in a letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, dated Jan. 28, 2013.

NTSB investigators noted that the driver of the truck that collided with the Amtrak train, Lawrence Valli, 43 of Winnemucca, NV, had an “erratic” employment history including citations and crashes.

In addition, Valli was reportedly using a cellphone just before the crash, and was within 300 feet of the intersection before applying his brakes.

The NTSB noted that 11 of the 16 brake drums on the Peterbilt that Valli was driving were “worn beyond specified limits.” That led to a citation of Valli’s employer, John Davis Trucking, for failing to provide a safe vehicle.

Hersman requested that Ferro take action on the four specific recommendations within 90 days.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said current and future truckers have reason to be concerned with the recommendations for what they do, and what they don’t do. He says technology and regulations – some that show negligible or no safety benefit – are no substitute for adequate training and experience behind the wheel.

“People want to latch onto this ‘gotcha’ mentality that technology and enforcement can improve safety, yet we’re not even requiring people entering this industry to have any training or any assurance that they can be safe and successful behind the wheel,” Spencer said.

“A database that would keep records on millions of drivers for 10 years would be a big undertaking,” he adds. “While I’m assuming it’s their belief that it might have an improvement on safety, I would assume that most of the drivers being entered into the database would not have anything like 10 years of experience. A driver without experience is not likely to have any blemishes on their records, but that is not an assurance that they would be safe drivers.”

Specifically, the four NTSB recommendations to FMCSA are as follows:

  • H-12-54: Create a mechanism to gather and record commercial driving-related employment history information about all drivers who have a commercial driver’s license, and make this information available to all prospective motor carrier employers.
  • H-12-55: Using the mechanism developed in Safety Recommendation H-12-54, require motor carriers to conduct and document investigations into the employment records of prospective drivers for the 10 years that precede the application date.
  • H-12-55: Require motor carriers to retrieve records from the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) and the National Driver Register (NDR) for all driver applicants so that they can obtain a complete driving and license history of prospective drivers.
  • H-12-56: Inform commercial vehicle inspectors of (1) the importance of taking pushrod stroke measurements within the specified pressure range, (2) the relationship between pushrod stroke and specific air pressure, and (3) the consequence of taking measurements outside of this range.

The FMCSA already collects data from roadside inspections as well as crash reports and stores that information in the Motor Carrier Management Information System. The MCMIS database populates the Pre-Employment Screening Program and data is also used in the CSA enforcement program. The agency currently maintains records for five years on crashes and three years on violations on drivers.

“From what we’re hearing from our members, the data in that system is not even close to accurate,” Spencer points out.

Should the FMCSA respond with proposed rule change for a 10-year database, the public will get a chance to comment. OOIDA would file comments, Spencer said.

Copyright © OOIDA


Truck Safety Coalition

October 18, 2011



Truck driver fatigue is a serious highway safety problem that threatens all of us.  Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (pronounced EYH-ott) is planning to offer an amendment this afternoon that would block implementation of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s rulemaking on truck driver Hours of Service (HOS).  The DOT’s proposed changes to the current HOS rule are commonsense and cost-effective and would improve safety for everyone. We are being told that Senator Ayotte plans to offer the amendment on the Senate Floor during debate on HR 2112, the “Minibus” Appropriations bill which will include Transportation allocations.



Please call Senator Ayote’s Legislative Director Adam Hechavarria at 202-224-3324 or email him at .


Please also call your Senators’ offices and urge them to oppose any amendment to stop the HOS Rulemaking.  Click in the top right corner to get your Senators’ numbers.


This is a sample – if possible please make a couple of quick changes to personalize your message.

You can save this email, then copy and paste the following information into an email, then add your personal edits and send to Adam Hechavarria.


I am writing to urge Senator Ayotte not to offer an amendment stopping the Department of Transportation’s current rulemaking on truck driver hours of service.


Truck driver fatigue is a serious safety problem that threatens all of us every day, on every major road, in every state. Each year on average, 4,000 people are needlessly killed and 100,000 more are injured in truck crashes. The National Transportation Safety Board has warned of the dangers of truck driver fatigue because it is a major factor in these crashes.


During the current rule which allows 77 hours a week or more of driving and more working hours beyond that, 65% of drivers reported that they often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving and 48% said they had fallen asleep while driving in the previous year. These overly tired truckers are driving loads up to 80,000 lbs. or more at highway speeds alongside families in small passenger vehicles.


Not only have two unanimous court decisions overturned the rule, but the rule also contradicts the DOT’s own research which shows that the crash risk of truck drivers increases dramatically after 8 consecutive driving hours. Trucking interests are falsely claiming the current rule has resulted in a reduction in truck crashes. Yet, no study or data directly links the recent decline in deaths with the rule, and truck crash deaths actually increased during 2004 and 2005, the first 2 years of the current rule.


The proposed rule will save lives, improve driver health, reduce costs to society and provide an estimated 40,000 jobs. I ask that Senator Ayotte put the safety of motorists first and foremost.


For More Information, contact the Truck Safety Coalition, 703-294-6404

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


John Lannen's Sgnature

John Lannen
Executive Director
Truck Safety Coalition