The Honorable Peter DeFazio
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Sam Graves
Ranking Member
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

RE: Hearing on Industry and Labor Perspectives: A Further Look at North American Supply Chain Challenges

Dear Chairman DeFazio, Ranking Member Graves and Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee:

We are writing to you on behalf of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), a partnership of Citizens for Reliable & Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) as well as our family members from across the country who are victims and survivors of truck crashes.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has declared roadway fatalities a crisis, with fatalities rising nearly 20% in the first 6 months of this year. In 2019 alone, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported more than 5,000 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks and 158,000 were injured representing a 45% increase over the past decade. It is widely expected that truck crash deaths will further increase given the recent spike in roadway fatalities.

On Wednesday, November 17, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing, “Industry and Labor Perspectives: A Further Look at North American Supply Chain Challenges.” As the leading nonprofit organization representing families of truck crash victims and survivors, we believe it is essential to consider the sobering perspective of victim advocates. TSC volunteers know firsthand the dangers to public safety as well as economic and personal costs of truck crashes. Loved ones have been killed and seriously injured because of fatigued drivers, dangerous longer and heavier trucks, teen truck drivers, unsafe speeding, and other preventable causes. Any consideration of short- term exemptions to current truck safety rules and regulations must be rejected and counter-balanced with the unacceptable risks they pose to public safety.

OPPOSE Exemptions to Hours of Service (HOS) and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Requirements:

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) routinely and repeatedly cites driver fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes. Electronic Logging Device (ELD) requirements have proven to be effective since implementation in 2017 in accurately recording the driving hours of commercial drivers and enforcing HOS limits. FMCSA has already issued HOS flexibility rules due to COVID-19 to accommodate shipping. Broadening HOS exemptions unnecessarily puts all roadway users, including truck drivers, at unreasonable risk. Further exemptions and attacks on HOS and ELD requirements will not solve the supply chain problem but will set back safety.

OPPOSE Exemptions that allow Larger, Longer & Heavier Trucks:

The bigger the truck the bigger the safety problem. DOT research has concluded trucks weighing over 80,000 pounds experience dramatically higher crash rates, up to 400%. In addition, bigger and heavier trucks disproportionately degrade crumbling roads and bridges, undercutting the historic investment made just this week by the signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Furthermore, heavier trucks have longer stopping distances and are more difficult to control on our roads, especially at high speeds and in traffic. Studies consistently show that passenger vehicles are no match for the destruction caused by a large truck in a crash. In fatal crashes involving a truck and a passenger vehicle, 97% of those killed are the occupants of the car. Relaxing current weight limits and allowing bigger and heavier trucks will not only destroy our roads and bridges but will destroy more families when crashes do occur. There is strong and broad public opposition to larger and heavier trucks. The public, local government officials, safety, consumer and public health groups, law enforcement, first responders, truck drivers and labor representatives, and families of truck crash victims and survivors have consistently opposed efforts to increase truck size and weight.

OPPOSE Allowing Teen Truckers:

It makes no sense to jeopardize the lives of our young people in response to industry’s claim of a driver shortage when the real problem is driver retention. The truck driver concerns are real and serious. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regularly lists truck driving as one of America’s most deadly professions. BLS and other academic studies also have consistently found that driver turnover rates and the ongoing failure of industry to retain drivers is the primary factor behind any “driver shortage.” This proposal is illogical and ill-advised due to the fact that studies conclusively show that younger drivers are inexperienced and significantly over-involved in dangerous crashes compared to other age groups. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found “age is a strong factor for truck crash involvement.” The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a series of roundtable events promoting Teen Driver Safety Week this October because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. There is no compelling reason for the motoring public to feel safe with teen truckers or for this to be viewed as some sort of viable solution.page2image1913475216page2image1913475504

OPPOSE Shipper Liability Efforts:

Shippers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are subject to the same standard of reasonable care in operating their businesses that applies to the conduct of all businesses and individuals in this country. Under our civil justice system, a shipper or receiver need only show that s/he acted as any reasonable and prudent businessperson would act under the same or similar circumstances to avoid liability for the wrongful and negligent selection of a motor carrier. Although this is the standard by which every business and individual is expected to adhere to in our society, there are those that seek to carve out a special exemption exemptions for businesses hiring motor carriers to haul their freight on our nation’s roadways which are shared with the motoring public. There is no justification whatsoever for this exemption. A very large majority of motor carriers have never had a review to determine whether they are safe and therefore do not have a safety fitness rating at all. In fact, according to Saferwatch, a private company that assists shippers in assessing motor carrier risks, fewer than 14% of motor carriers have any safety rating. This means that shippers could choose a carrier with no safety fitness rating whatsoever and still meet proposed criteria by industry for “shipping liability reform.” This so-called reform would not advance safety but would harm truck crash victims.

We urge the Committee to prioritize public safety, not unwarranted industry loopholes. Desperate attempts to alleviate the supply-chain crisis such as relaxing HOS and ELD requirements, allowing teen truckers, increasing current limits on truck size and weight, and weakening shipper liability requirements will not solve the shipper chain problems but will seriously sacrifice safety. The only thing worse than empty shelves this holiday season is an empty seat at the dinner table because a loved one needlessly died in a truck crash.



Zach Cahalan, Executive Director, Truck Safety Coalition

Dawn King, President, Truck Safety Coalition & Board Member, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH).

Dawn’s father, Bill Badger, was killed in 2004 while slowed in traffic when he was hit from behind by a semi driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Joan Claybrook, Co-Founder & Board Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) & Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Daphne and Steve Izer’s son, Jeff, and three of his friends were killed in 1993 when a semi driver fell asleep at the wheel and ran over the car as it was parked on the shoulder.

Russell Swift, Co-Chair, P.A.T.T. and Board Member, Truck Safety Coalition.

Russ’ son, Jasen, was killed instantly, as was a fellow Marine, while they drove in the dark to work in 1993, by a 17-year-old truck driver without a permit whose truck was stuck across two lanes after trying a U-turn, causing the car to drive into and under the side of the trailer.

Nikki Weingartner, Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.).

Nikki’s husband, Virgil, was killed the evening of July 9, 1997 by a tired trucker.


The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), also known as The CRASH Foundation, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.). The Truck Safety Coalition is dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policymakers, and the media about truck safety issues. Visit our website at www.trucksafety.org