Truck Safety Coalition Statement on Introduction of the Stop Underrides Act of 2017

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

    Truck Safety Coalition Statement on Introduction of the Stop Underrides Act of 2017

    We commend Senator Gillibrand, Senator Rubio, and Representative Cohen and Representative DeSaulnier for sponsoring the Stop Underrides Act. This lifesaving legislation will strengthen rear underride guards, mandate side underride guards, and require proper maintenance of these guards. The Truck Safety Coalition and our volunteers call on all Members of Congress to join this bipartisan effort to reduce the unnecessary deaths and injuries that occur because of truck underride collisions.

    In 2016, there were 4,317 truck crash fatalities in the United States, an increase of 28 percent since 2009. Unfortunately, this deeply troubling safety trend is in line with trends for truck crashes and truck crash injuries, which rose 45 percent and 57 percent, respectively, between 2009 and 2015. This does not need to be the case.

    There are existing, data-driven solutions that can be implemented today to prevent truck crashes and save lives, like mandating comprehensive underride protections on all trucks. Today is certainly a step in the right direction, but there is still a long road to zero truck crash fatalities and injuries. Until we achieve that ultimate goal, we will continue to work with families of victims and survivors of large truck crashes as well as policy-makers to improve truck safety on our roads.


      ELD Letter to House Small Business Committee

      November 28, 2017

      The Honorable Steve Chabot, Chair

      The Honorable Nydia Velazquez, Ranking Member

      U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business

      Washington, D.C. 20515

      Dear Chairman Chabot and Ranking Member Velazquez:

      As you prepare for tomorrow’s hearing, “Highway to Headache: Federal Regulations on the Small Trucking Industry,” our public health, safety and law enforcement organizations, trucking companies, truck drivers, families of loved ones killed in truck crashes and truck crash survivors write to express our staunch opposition to any attempts to delay, create special interest exemptions from, or impede full implementation of the long overdue electronic logging device (ELD) rule.

      The rule requires most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), namely large trucks and buses in interstate commerce, to install an ELD to track driver on-duty time by December 18, 2017. The regulation was required in bipartisan legislation, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, P.L. 112-141), enacted in 2012. Subsequently, the regulation was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2015.

      Truck driver fatigue has been a well-documented safety problem in the industry for decades. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly cited fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes and included reducing fatigue-related crashes in its 2017/2018 “Most Wanted List” of safety changes. ELDs are a proven and cost-effective technology that will save lives and reduce injuries, and according to the U.S. Department of Transportation will result in over $1 billion in annualized net benefits. Additionally, ELDs provide an objective record of a CMV driver’s on-duty time, will increase compliance with hours of service (HOS) rules, and will simplify and streamline the efforts of law enforcement.

      There already is widespread use of ELD technology in the United States and other countries. Nearly a third of trucks currently in service are equipped with electronic logging technology. Similar technology has been used in Europe for decades and is required in the European Union, Japan, and many other countries. Members of the trucking industry have known about this rule for years and have had ample time to prepare for it.

      Moreover, the legal challenge to the final rule was unanimously rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2016. The three judge panel denied each and every claim brought by the parties that sought to vacate the rule. In addition, the request to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Seventh Circuit’s ruling was denied.

      Truck crash deaths and injuries are on the rise. In 2016, 4,317 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks, representing an increase of more than five percent from the previous year and the highest number of fatalities since 2007. Additionally, in 2015, the most recent year for
      which complete data is available, an estimated 116,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks.

      We urge the Committee to oppose any weakening of this overdue, commonsense truck safety regulation. Delaying, deferring or carving out exemptions to the ELD requirement will only contribute to more fatigued commercial drivers sharing the road with families and jeopardizing everyone’s safety.

      PDF Version of Letter with Signatures: ELD letter to Small Business Cmte 11-28-17

        Underride Roundtable 2015

        The Truck Safety Coalition co-hosted the first ever Underride Roundtable at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safetys testing facility in Ruckersville, VA. The conference brought together researchers, safety advocates, government officials, and industry leaders to discuss truck underride crashes, examine the scope of the problem, and determine how to reduce the risks for passenger vehicle occupants through regulation and voluntary action. A crash test was also conducted to demonstrate improved underride guards.

        underride roundtable 2015

        “This conference is a critical milestone in the decades-long effort to strengthen underride protections for large trucks to prevent needless injuries and fatalities,” said John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition. “We hope that today’s discussion will spur swift industry and government action on underride which has long been recognized as a major safety issue.”

        John Lannen continued, “Reviewing the research underscored startling data that demonstrate the need for long-overdue action to prevent underride crashes. At this conference, however, we did not stop at identifying the issues. We also worked to identify common ground to create commonsense reforms that have a meaningful impact on safety.”

        At the conference, Jennifer Tierney, a board member of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), presented the Distinguished Safety Leadership Award to Greer Woodruff, Senior Vice President of Safety, Security, and Driver Personnel of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. for his outstanding and longtime dedication to improving truck safety.

        “I have been advocating for stronger underride guards after my father, James Mooney, was killed in a truck underride crash thirty-three years ago. While many lives would have been saved had there been action following his death, this Underride Roundtable is major step in the right direction” stated Jennifer Tierney. “I look forward to working with government and industry officials as a member of the Underride Initiative at the Truck Safety Coalition to achieve a goal of zero underride crashes.”

        Were you unable to attend the Underride Roundtable? View the entire event here:

        Truck Safety Awards – Press Release

        Articles on Underride Roundtable

        Underride Roundtable Pictures

        The roundtable was organized and sponsored by

        IIHS, the Truck Safety Coalition and Annaleah & Mary for Truck Safety

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          Statement of the Truck Safety Coalition for the Record – Hearing on: FAST Act Implementation: Improving the Safety of the Nation’s Roads

          Hearing on: FAST Act Implementation: Improving the Safety of the Nation’s Roads

          Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

          Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

          United States House of Representatives

          July 18, 2017

          Thank you Members of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit for holding this important hearing on the safety of the nation’s roads. The Truck Safety Coalition is dedicated to reducing the number of lives lost and injuries sustained in large truck crashes.

          Since 2009, the number of truck crashes has increased by 45 percent, and the number of truck crash injuries and fatalities have gone up by 57 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The number of truck vehicle miles traveled, however, has decreased by 3 percent in that same time. Moreover, in 2009, the European Union had a greater number of truck crash fatalities than the United States, but in 2014, the last available year for comparable data, they recorded less truck crash fatalities than the United States. While the European Union continues to utilize lifesaving technologies, the United States continues to remain behind adoption of many of these technologies.

          The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that its mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic cost due to road traffic crashes. The agency notes that 94 percent of serious crashes are due to human error. In their budget proposal, NHTSA also notes, the development of a new standard for stability control is estimated to prevent a significant number of rollover crashes involving tractor-trailers and motor coaches. In addition, stability control systems provide a technology foundation for forward collision avoidance and mitigation (FCAM) systems that hold the promise for substantial reductions in rear-end crashes involving heavy vehicles. Given the agency’s positive view about the potential safety benefits of electronic stability control, both as a stand-alone safety system as well as a basic building block of highly automated vehicles, we are concerned that it is considering electronic stability control for heavy vehicles as an area for deregulatory actions.

          Additionally, speed limiter technology already exists in almost all trucks manufactured since the 1990s, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determined that mandating that speed limiters be set on large trucks would result in a net benefit. In fact, a recently released study by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation that found that speed-related, at-fault truck crashes fell by 73 percent after mandatory speed limiter technology took effect in Ontario.

          Unfortunately, the agency continues to delay and neglects to commit to finalizing a rule this year. The Administration’s recently released Unified Agenda revealed that FMCSA and NHTSA designated the Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiter rule as a long-term action item, meaning that the agencies need a minimum of 12 months to make progress on the rule. This delay directly defies an amendment offered by Senator Johnny Isakson that was included in the FY 17 Senate THUD Appropriations bill, which directed the Secretary to promulgate a final rule within six-months of the bill’s enactment.

          This is not the only area that the new Administration has decided to kick the can on regulations that will prevent injuries and save lives. The Unified Agenda also revealed that rulemakings that would strengthen requirements for rear underride guards on trailers and require single unit trucks to be equipped with them were also moved to the long-term action list. At a time when we are seeing major trailer manufacturers go above and beyond the government’s proposed standard for rear underride guards, the government should not be backing away from this lifesaving technology. If anything, the agency tasked with promulgating this rulemaking should be looking for ways to maximize the potential safety benefits by accounting for the new developments in underride protections.