Tag Archives: driver fatigue

NYC Taxis–“Proposed Driver Fatigue Prevention rules – bringing our Vision Zero goals closer to reality”

The NYC’s Taxi & Limousine Commission proposed rules regarding taxi driver fatigue focus primarily on controlling the hours of service for taxi drivers — much like the trucking HOS. That is all well and good, but I hope to organize a Tired Trucker Roundtable which will take a more comprehensive look at solving the widespread and deadly problem of driver fatigue.

TLC’s Proposed Driver Fatigue Prevention rules – bringing our Vision Zero goals closer to reality

NEW YORK CITY TAXI AND LIMOUSINE COMMISSION Notice of Public Hearing and Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Rules What are we proposing? The Taxi and Limousine Commission is considering changing rules that address the risks of fatigued driving and adding trip reporting requirements for for-hire vehicle bases. When and where is the Hearing? The Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule. The public hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. on January 5, 2017. The hearing will be in the hearing room at 33 Beaver Street – 19th Floor, New York, NY 10004.

creative-solutionsTired Trucker Roundtable

Congressional Action Could Decimate Trucker HOS rules; What will end this tug-of-war?

December 6, 2016, Press Release from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition of truck safety advocate organizations:

Washington, D.C. – Tonight, the text of the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution (Rules Committee Print 114-70) was released revealing that the Obama truck driver hours of service (HOS) rule will be decimated with the removal of the two safety provisions, a two-consecutive night off requirement and a one-week limitation on the use of the 34-hour restart. 

The saga continues. And, it is my opinion that a resolution to this endless tug-of-war over trucker hours of service will only come through a more comprehensive strategy to deal with the underlying issues which lead to truck driver fatigue.

In fact, I am working with others to organize a Tired Trucker Roundtable, with the same goal which led us to organize the Underride Roundtable: to bring together in one room all those who are impacted by this issue and those who could do something about it.

Tired Trucker Roundtable: If we plan it, they will come. Can we pull it off?

Tired Trucker Roundtable

The press release continues:

Safety groups responded to this news:

Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), said, “In a major assault on the safety of families and truck drivers across the country, the House and Senate Republican leaders just delivered special trucking interests an early Christmas present. Language inserted in the year-end government funding bill repeals key safety features of the Obama Administration’s truck driver hours of service rule intended to combat truck driver fatigue.  The Obama rule requires that after a grueling week of 75 or more work hours, truck drivers, who take only the minimum 34-hours off duty between work weeks, must get two consecutive nights of rest during the 34-hour off duty period.  Studies show that nighttime sleep is much more restful than attempts to sleep during daytime. Special interests succeeded in getting this rollback despite the growing problem of truck driver fatigue in the industry, unabated increases in truck crash deaths and injuries, and overwhelming public opposition. 

However, none of this mattered to trucking interests and their friends on the House and Senate Appropriations Committee.  This attack on safety comes at a critical time.  Last year, 4,067 people were needlessly killed in crashes involving large trucks, representing an increase of 4 percent from the previous year and a 20 percent increase from 2009.  This is the first time truck crash deaths have exceeded 4,000 since 2008.  Further, preliminary 2015 federal government data shows 116,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks — an increase of 57 percent since 2009.  The annual cost to society from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles is estimated to be over $110 billion.

It is simply unthinkable that any industry with such an abysmal safety record and responsible for so many innocent deaths and injuries could actually find so many willing partners in Congress to push their greedy anti-safety agenda.” 

Joan Claybrook, Chair of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, stated, “This action to rip out essential safety protections for hard-working truck drivers who deserve a weekend off for adequate rest and recovery time is yet another example of the grip that corporate trucking interests have on some Members of Congress.  The American public is scared of sharing the road with exhausted and overworked drivers behind the wheel of a big rig and with good reason.  In fatal crashes involving a large truck and a passenger car, 98% of the deaths are the occupants of the car.  The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have held more than 100 congressional hearings this year.  However, the Republican Committee leaders never allowed a single hearing on this important issue. Instead, the repeal of the truck safety provisions was secretly attached to a must pass spending bill because they knew it wouldn’t pass muster.  This action will literally have life and death consequences for truck drivers and all motorists sharing the roads with them.  This ‘tired trucker’ provision has no place in this bill and Congress has no business coddling trucking interests using a backdoor legislative maneuver to circumvent public debate and conceal safety impacts.”

Daphne Izer, Founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.), responded, “Once again, our lawmakers caved to special interests and put everyone who travels our roads at risk by including the “tired trucker” provision in the Continuing Resolution. As a mother who began advocating to make trucking safer after my son Jeff was killed by a truck driver who fell asleep while driving, I am devastated that language to increase the number of hours that truck drivers can drive and work was included in a must-pass bill. This rollback of the Hours of Service rules will do nothing to address the issue of driver fatigue and will certainly not reduce the number of fatigue related crashes. It does, however, show a disregard for the nearly 100,000 people who have been killed in truck crashes since I began working to make trucking safer, and the families like mine who are left to cope with the grief that decisions like these cause.”

Lou Lombardo, Care for Crash Victims, provides this tool:

An information resource is the map of all Congressional Districts (114th Congress) with a tally of a decade of vehicle violence deaths in each district over the past decade.  Available to the public at https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=e21e612d64654d75943f85a1a6035472

More on deadly drowsy driving:

 

CBS News Reports on AAA study: “Risks of Drowsy Driving Comparable to Drunk Driving”

CBS News reported this morning on AAA research which studied the dangers of drowsy driving:

New research shows how deadly it can be to drive when you’re tired. The AAA study found drivers who miss two to three hours of sleep a day more than quadruple their risk of getting in a crash, compared to drivers who sleep for seven hours.

According to federal regulators, the accident risk from drowsy driving is comparable to driving drunk. AAA is now urging people to make sure drivers are as alert as possible. One-third of drivers report hitting the roads when they have a hard time keeping their eyes open, which is proving to be deadly, reports CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett.

Videos show how quickly a drowsy driver can lose control. Read more hereAAA study finds risks of drowsy driving comparable to drunk driving

See more on this deadly issue at our webpage on DRIVER FATIGUE (http://annaleahmary.com/driver-fatigue/):

“Gadget to stop Drivers Nodding Off at the Wheel Could Become Compulsory in new European regulations. My goodness, if this can be done & would Save Lives, why would we NOT do it, America?! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/Gadget-to-stop-drivers-nodding…

DWF = Driving While Fatigued (or Drowsy Driving)

Driver fatigue can affect any driver–you included, or the driver of a vehicle in which you are a passenger.

“…Driving while fatigued is comparable to driving drunk, only there is not the same social stigma attached. Like alcohol, fatigue affects our ability to drive by slowing reaction time, decreasing awareness and impairing judgment. Driving while sleep impaired is a significant issue, and is no longer tolerated. Legislation {in Canada} is beginning to change by handling collisions cause by a fatigued driver as seriously as alcohol-impaired crashes.” https://canadasafetycouncil.org/…/driver-fatigue-falling-as…

Irreversible tragedies

Tired Trucker Roundtable: If we plan it, they will come. Can we pull it off?

Tug-of-War Continues: Letter to U.S. DOT Sec. Foxx on “Tired Trucker” provision in gov’t spending bill

Yet another example of the tug-of-war over truck driver Hours of Service and one of the many reasons why I want to organize a Tired Trucker Roundtable. . .
And why Vision Zero Rulemaking is so necessary!!!!
Safety advocates sent a letter to Secretary Foxx today:
Hang in there. I’ve found some people who are eager to help me organize the Tired Trucker Roundtable.  We hope to tackle this problem by bringing many interested parties together around the table to discuss and work toward resolution of this life & death problem.
Tired Trucker Roundtable

Good news: Electronic Logging Devices Mandate Has Survived Court Challenge; Required by 12/2017

Good news! One of our original AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition requests has been upheld in court to be required by December 2017. Electronic Logging Devices to monitor truck driver hours on the road instead of paper log books:

ELD mandate survives court challenge

Now, I hope that the Hours of Service rules will be finalized with truck driver input as to the best way of structuring them. And I hope that there will continue to be work done to eliminate the reasons that paper log books didn’t work to begin with. Because this important technology will not solve everything.

http://annaleahmary.com/2014/05/paper-log-books/

http://annaleahmary.com/tag/truck-driver-compensation/

Tired Trucker Roundtable

 

NHTSA asking for Comments on guideline to address growing problem of distracted & drowsy driving

I just received a notification that NHTSA is asking for Public Comments on a new guideline which they have developed for states to address the growing problem of distracted and drowsy driving. This follows recent news about the number of crash deaths so far in 2016 which has increased from the crash deaths in 2015 which increased from the crash deaths in 2013  — which included my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13).

NHTSA has developed a new guideline on distracted and drowsy driving, No. 9, to address these growing problems. This new guideline will help States develop plans to address distracted and drowsy driving. In 2014, ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes. These proportions have remained stable over the past five years of reported data. In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated additional 431,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distraction-affected drivers. Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers killed in the age range who were distracted at the time of the crashes. Lastly, in 2014, there were 520 non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists, killed in distraction-affected crashes. (1) The limitations of these data are described in an April 2016 Traffic Safety Facts Research Note (DOT HS 812 260). (2)

Current estimates range from 2 percent to 20 percent of annual traffic deaths attributable to driver drowsiness. According to NHTSA, annually on average from 2009 to 2013, there were over 72,000 police-reported crashes involving drowsy drivers, injuring more than an estimated 41,000 people, and killing more than 800. (3) By using a multiple imputation methodology, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 7 percent of all crashes and 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver. (4) This estimate suggests that more than 5,000 people died in drowsy-driving-related motor vehicle crashes across the United States last year. Research conducted in 2012 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed drivers ages 16-24 were the most likely to report having fallen asleep while driving within the past year. (5) Finally, the AAA Foundation’s 2015 Traffic Safety Index reported that nearly all drivers (97.0%) view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior; however, nearly 1 in 3 (31.5%) admitted to driving when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month. (6)

It is important that States begin to address the problems of distracted and drowsy driving. This guideline is designed to help policymakers with decisions about how best to address these growing issues.

READ MORE HERE:  Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines

Irreversible tragedies

Please comment here by September 22, 2016: Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines

DWF = Driving While Fatigued (or Drowsy Driving)

Driver fatigue can affect any driver–you included, or the driver of a vehicle in which you are a passenger.

“…Driving while fatigued is comparable to driving drunk, only there is not the same social stigma attached. Like alcohol, fatigue affects our ability to drive by slowing reaction time, decreasing awareness and impairing judgment. Driving while sleep impaired is a significant issue, and is no longer tolerated. Legislation {in Canada} is beginning to change by handling collisions cause by a fatigued driver as seriously as alcohol-impaired crashes.” https://canadasafetycouncil.org/safety-canada-online/article/driver-fatigue-falling-asleep-wheel

Posts on this topic:

Our truck crash may have involved a tired trucker: http://annaleahmary.com/2014/07/our-crash-was-not-an-accident/

Tired Trucker Roundtable

http://annaleahmary.com/2016/08/tired-trucker-roundtable-if-we-plan-it-they-will-come-can-we-pull-it-off/

A National Traffic Safety Ombudsman could help to facilitate a nationwide network of Traffic Safety/Vision Zero Community Action/Advocacy Groups to get citizens involved in working to solve this kind of problem, as well as other traffic safety issues.

One Trucker Team’s Ideas For Needed Changes To Make Trucking Safer

Jeff and Linda Halling, a husband/wife independent owner-operator team, recently made some comments on a facebook page about what they think needs to be done to make trucking safer:

While we totally agree with the dangers increasing with trucks putting even more regulations is not the answer. There are more rules and regulations in the trucking industry then there are in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Micromanaging every move never works. Here is the list of changes that we feel need to be made:

1) Better training for new entrants into the industry. Way too many of the mega carriers give their new drivers two weeks classroom one week driving and turn them loose on their own. Part of the problem is that the government classifies us as unskilled labor. Really!!?? A heavy equipment operator is considered skilled labor but a person driving at 80 thousand pound rig is not. Bullshit! By reclassifying Trucking as a skilled labor will increase training and better pay.

2) The hours of service have to be totally redone. One size does not fit all. 11 hours of driving and 70 hours in 8 days is more than enough. However the 14-hour rule is what causes the most safety problems. A driver starts working at 6 a.m. He goes to make his delivery and sits at the dock for 5 hours waiting to be unloaded. He gets paid nothing for that time. He then drives 45 minutes across town to make his pickup. He sits at that dock for 4 hours waiting to get loaded. He gets nothing for that time. The load he picks up goes 500 miles for delivery the next day. But he can only work for another 4 hours because his 14 hours are up. All the time that he spent at the dock was spent resting. But under the current rules he can only work four more hours before he is required to take a 10-hour break. The rule should be if you are in your sleeper for 4 hours or more you can extend the 14-hour clock.

3) There needs to be much more safe secure adequate parking for us to take a required rest period. A lot of drivers that fall asleep are not doing it because they’re pushing themselves to make a delivery they are doing it because they couldn’t find a place to park. All the electronic gadgetry in the world telling the driver to park does no good unless there is a place to park.

Those are the three main things that Linda and I see that will improve safety. We have also been a firm believer that the answer to this industry is not company drivers but independent owner-operators like us. Pride in ownership means a lot more than driving a truck for somebody that thinks you are nothing more than a number. Owner operators have much more flexibility in their pickups and deliveries than a company driver. They also have much more to lose if they mess up.

The bottom line is you’re right — changes need to be made — but the RIGHT changes need to be made.

Facebook post on which Jeff Halling was commenting:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/494507530713925/permalink/682662138565129/

Talkin together

Let’s all get together and talk about how to make the roads safer.

Tired Trucker Roundtable: If we plan it, they will come. Can we pull it off?

Even though our efforts to improve underride protection are far from being finished, I would like to also tackle the project of organizing a Tired Trucker Roundtable. The only problem is that I have not yet identified any sponsoring organizations or potential facilities for holding such an important event.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition were the co-sponsors with AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety of the Underride Roundtable on May 5, 2016. However, at this time, they are not in a position to participate in a similar fashion with a Tired Trucker Roundtable.

Exactly what am I envisioning with this Tired Trucker Roundtable? Let me try to summarize the highlights:

  1. Over and over, truck crash tragedies occur which seem to involve tired truckers.
  2. Of course, it is harder to measure driver fatigue than DUI — after the fact.
  3. Some of the solutions to this problem have included logging driver hours in paper log books (too often unreliable and, in our crash, never seen by us or our attorney or DA) and more recently rulemaking (currently in a lawsuit) has been issued to require electronic log books.  ScanWashington DC 151Washington DC 156Washington DC 152
  4. These log books are to be connected to the official Hours of Service (HOS) requirements for truck drivers regulated by DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  5. There has, of course, been ongoing debate about what is appropriate for the details of these HOS. A virtual and ongoing political tug-of-war which leaves the truck drivers in a confusing muddle and truck crash victims in the grave.
  6. I have read comments from and had “discussions with” many truck drivers who are convinced that these HOS rules need to have the input of truck drivers who are experienced with what works for them.
  7. Of course, the problem that should probably involve other players than DOT agencies — like the Department of Labor and  the Department of Health & Human Services (CDC/Public Health) — is that it is to a great extent a problem of how truck drivers are normally compensated (by the mile) and their great difficulty in making a living wage without a great toll on their health.
  8. And it must definitely include various sectors of the trucking industry–carriers, shippers, brokers, independent owner-operators.
  9. Government regulators.
  10. Sleep apnea may also be a factor for many.
  11. In general, their occupation involves long hours of monotonous driving which can lead to not just falling asleep but microsleep which can be as bad or worse than driving DUI.
  12. Trucks take longer to brake but are traveling along with the rest of the traffic — posing a hazard to us all, especially when you add in the factor of the geometric mismatch (not merely a weight difference) of the height of the crush zone of the front of passenger vehicles vs the height of the lower edge of trucks. Underride protection (even what is currently legislated) is too weak and ineffective.
  13. And really, driver fatigue is not just a trucker problem — now is it?
  14. Fatigue, of course, is not the only problem; distracted behavior needs to be discussed as well, and other factors of what might make a truck driver inattentive and not ready to react in a timely manner to avoid tragedies.
  15. Let’s not forget the road system and things like electronic signs to alert drivers of upcoming traffic back-ups or law enforcement actions to divert traffic or teaching drivers how to respond, etc.
  16. And, of course, safety technology — to alert drivers when they are in microsleep or crash avoidance systems (but still, then the driver has to react to the surrounding circumstances) and DON’T FORGET underride protection, parking for truck drivers who do need to take breaks but so they don’t create hazards in their parking location, conspicuity, side mirrors.
  17. I’m sure that I have forgotten something; but I hope that you get the idea!

Now all I need is for some others (in addition to truck drivers) to catch the vision and help me out with planning this thing — finding sponsors, a facility, speakers, resources, etc.

Let’s collaborate together. Let’s make it happen. Let’s be amazed at the results.

Tired Trucker Roundtable

The latest reason to do so: Semi driver was inattentive, distracted when he hit family’s minivan in I-80 crash, State Patrol says

An Advocate for a Safer America: Have you signed the Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition yet?

August 3 UPDATE: The petition on the White House site is expired. Please sign our new Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition at Care2;  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

We are asking for 100,000 Americans to sign our new Traffic Safety Ombudsman petition on WhiteHouse petition site. Once we get 150 signatures, it will become searchable on their website.

If we are able to get 100,000 signatures in 30 days — by July 31, then the White House has promised that they will respond to our new petition, which calls on President Obama to appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman, who will be an Advocate for Safer Roads.

Why on earth am I asking for another government-funded worker — a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman? And whatever would that person do anyway? Read more here:

SIGN  & SHARE the TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition:  https://wh.gov/i6kUj

PLEASE NOTE: If you sign the petition, be sure to go to your email. We the People will send you an email which will say this in the subject line:  “Almost done! Verify your Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov account.” Follow the instructions to verify your signature.

 

16xm2y

 

The anger and frustration in the aftermath of a truck crash are not easily resolved.

UPDATE August 2, 2016. PLEASE sign & share the Petition to President Obama to appoint an advocate — a Traffic Safety Ombudsman — to fight for safer roads:   http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

So what does a person do with the anger and frustration which inevitably surface in the aftermath of a truck/car crash fatality (or case of serious life-altering injuries)?

That’s what I would like to know because I have experienced it and have observed others — in similar situations — dealing with it as well. And it is not your normal grief (if anything can be called that). Because, in addition to the loss one has experienced, one also often discovers that perhaps the loss was unnecessary — but nothing (or too little or too late) was done to prevent it. Imagine your reaction to that situation.

Then too often one might discover that, not only was nothing done in the past that could have prevented one’s loss, but, on top of that, there continues to be nothing tangible done to prevent future crash fatalities and serious injuries. What then? How would you deal with the feelings upon that realization?!

Indeed, despite decades of safety advocacy efforts to draw attention to the problem of traffic crash fatalities, too little too late is being done to move us toward zero crash deaths and serious injuries.

When I saw a Tweet the other day quoting Senator Chris Murphy as saying that survivors of the Orlando mass shooting experienced a “second layer of grief” “when they realize that those who expressed sympathy won’t take action,” I could relate to it.

And besides which, it turns into not just a matter of struggling with trying to forgive but an intense conviction that there is a good chance that wrongdoing was involved. Wrongdoing for which there is apparently no genuine accountability or liability. Because if there were, then wouldn’t we see change?

Just yesterday, I read a facebook post by a man who had lost his wife in a truck crash and whose son became permanently disabled from that same crash. Most days, the dad is upbeat and handling the hardship of his new life with grace. But at that moment, it seemed like he was experiencing the straw that broke the camel’s back. He confessed that, at that moment, he was feeling anger towards and hatred for the truck driver responsible for the crash.

The truth is that, probably in most truck crashes (and other traffic-related crashes), there usually are multiple factors which have led to the initial collision as well as the final outcome. And the sad fact is that, too often, the tragedy could have been avoided.

Our Crash Was Not An Accident

Are we doing enough, as a nation, to work on solutions to those things which could be prevented? I don’t think so and I have been calling for our leaders to adopt a National Vision Zero Goal, to set up a National Vision Zero Task Force, to adopt Vision Zero rulemaking policies, and to appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman.

SIGN THE PETITIONhttp://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

The opposition to the requirement and manufacture of the safest possible underride protection on trucks is an example of something which could have been taken care of a long time ago but instead is a problem for which there has not been a truly effective solution–in fact it seems to have been deliberately opposed or at least not made a priority to get to the bottom of and resolve.

A few days ago, I went on a walk in the woods and shared my thoughts spontaneously on this matter:

Do these situations make it harder to arrive at the forgiveness discussed by one writer? Forgiveness is one thing. But when there is no tangible change, and my button is repeatedly pushed, then, of course, frustration and therefore anger wells up over and over again. And that certainly is not healthy–not for the victim’s family and not for those whose actions contributed to the deaths.

Trucker in Massive Rig Destroys Two Families in His Sleep

Mom Takes on Truckers After Highway Wreck Kills Daughters

I wrote about what it was like to face the truck driver whose actions led to our daughters’ deaths: The Court Hearing; Update On Our Trip To Georgia

Now I am struggling with this question for myself: Can my anger at the injustice of criminal negligence (as well as the continued inadequate resolution of countless Traffic Safety Issues) ever be fully resolved if the negligence is not acknowledged, punished, or made right?

Meanwhile, I keep pressing on seeking to make the roads safer — as in our pursuit of better underride guards and my hopes of organizing a Tired Trucker Roundtable.

John Ball Zoo
How am I supposed to stop being angry as long the problems which caused the deaths of AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) — and shattered our family — continue on?