It didn’t take me long — after our family’s tragic truck crash — to grasp the futility of lobbying on The Hill as a truck safety advocate in an attempt to push for safer roads through safer regulations.
And then I learned a secret (shh). . . DOT’s safety agencies have their hands tied by an Executive Order (12866) which requires stringent cost/benefit analysis during rulemaking that too often undervalues human life & health and effectually allows industry lobbyists to sabotage and snuff out regulations which could make our roads more safe to travel on.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the DOT agencies which were meant to be our protectors — the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier SAFETY Administration) & NHTSA (National Highway Traffic SAFETY Administration) — have not proven to be consistently effective voices for our SAFETY.
That revelation — in combination with my own experience in wasted lobbying hours and my realization that others had tried unsuccessfully for decades before me to push for truck safety rules which might have saved my daughters — spurred me on to launch the Vision Zero Petition in 2015. It garnered over 20,000 signatures online in support of our requests for:
- A National Vision Zero Goal.
- A White House Vision Zero Task Force.
- A Vision Zero Executive Order to authorize Vision Zero Rulemaking (which would favor saving LIVES over saving PROFIT).
- An Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman (an independent but influential and vigilant voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence who could facilitate these goals).
- A nationwide network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety community action/advocacy groups.
Although we took this Petition to DC in March 2016, we have not yet received a response to our requests. And, as I expected, the month of December 2016 has presented us with one more example of the need for this essential strategy: a resurrection of the Tired Trucker hours of service tug-of-war.
- Proposed fix to 34-hour restart in Congressional Continuing Resolution (Note this quote: “The American Trucking Associations was pleased that the restart fix was included in the CR, something that didn’t happen when the current CR was passed just before FY2017 began October 1.“ATA thanks Congress for including what should be a permanent fix to the Hours of Service restart in this Continuing Resolution, and we look forward to its final passage into law to resolve this issue,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Reverting back to the pre-July 2013 restart shifts the emphasis back to safety by removing flawed data from the rulemaking process. The entire industry will now be able to comply with this rule thanks to a common-sense approach championed by a bipartisan group of legislators.”)
- A truck safety bypass
- Future of 34-hour restart rules to be taken up by Congress this week (Note the trucker thoughts in the comments)
- Trucking rider makes it into CR
- Big Trucks, Big Bucks
- Fact Sheet on Truck Driver Hours-of-Service from DOT (FMCSA)
- Impact of Hours of Service Rules: What is the truth?
- Debunking the Myths on Federal Hours-of-Service Rules for Truck Drivers (from DOT)
- It’s a Wonder Anything Ever Gets Done to Improve Safety on the Roads
- Fact Sheet on the Collins’ Amendment & its impact on Hours of Service Rules
- Congressional Action Could Decimate Trucker HOS rules; What will end this tug-of-war?
All of this, and more — most especially my daughters’ truck crash deaths which might have been prevented had all of this nonsense been addressed appropriately — has led to my efforts to work with others to organize a successful Truck Underride Roundtable and an upcoming Tired Trucker Roundtable.
And I really do keep hoping that a national traffic safety advocate will be appointed and Vision Zero Rulemaking will become a thing. . .