Tag Archives: DWF

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:

 

Promising grant program announced to battle DROWSY DRIVING or DWF = Driving While Fatigued

I just read about the announcement of a grant program for state highway safety offices to develop programs to battle drowsy driving. Good. Hope it helps.

$100,000 Grant Announced to Support State Highway Safety Offices in
Creating and Implementing Drowsy Driving Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Drowsy Driving Prevention Week approaches (November 6-13), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is proud to announce it has received a $100,000 grant from the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) to support innovative state approaches that address the pressing issue of drowsy driving. The grants will be awarded to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) through a competitive application process that will be announced in early 2017.

This grant comes on the heels of a report released in August 2016 by GHSA and State Farm® that noted drowsy driving is the cause of 328,000 crashes each year, resulting in an annual societal cost of $109 billion. The report, Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do, recommended numerous programs and initiatives that states can consider to combat drowsy driving including: creating public awareness campaigns; improving data-collection methods to better assess drowsy driving crashes; developing training for law enforcement to recognize the signs of drowsy driving; and partnering with business, non-profits and educational institutions to change the culture around drowsy driving.

“There are a tremendous number of challenges that the highway safety community faces in addressing drowsy driving,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “For many states, a lack of funding has been a stumbling block. This grant will enable states to develop and implement innovative strategies to better assess and combat this problem.”

Read more here: GHSA to Fund State Drowsy Driving Programs Through National Road Safety Foundation Grant

Irreversible tragedies

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.

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

I propose a Tired Trucker Roundtable to more comprehensively address driver fatigue crashes.

After the truck crash which killed AnnaLeah and Mary, we never saw the truck driver’s paper log books and he was not able to tell us why he hit us. We suspect that drowsy driving may well have played a part. But it is a very difficult thing to prove.

I can’t go back and re-do that day and make sure that truck driver is fully alert throughout his entire work day on the road–especially that stretch of I-20 in Georgia near Exit 130. But I can advocate for the widespread public health problem of driver fatigue to be recognized and tackled.

Tired Trucker Roundtable

I am soooo tired of the political tug-of-war over truck driver hours of service. It isn’t solving the basic problem, folks. And the problem isn’t going to go away if there is no change in how it is addressed.

Just like with the deadly underride issue, we need to gather together people and organizations from all over the board, including truckers, truck companies, sleep doctors, regulatory officials from DOT and the Department of Labor and CDC’s Department of Injury Prevention, sleep researchers, safety advocates, and victims of tired trucker crashes.

At this life-changing event, let’s communicate about every possible factor which can contribute to drowsy driving–including, but most certainly not limited to, the truckers’ hours of service on the job and research on driver fatigue. And then, let’s brainstorm together about how this Goliath can be conquered through collaborative strategies and solutions.

A Tired Trucker Roundtable. Now that would be worthy of shouting, “Awesome!” Eh, Mary?!

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Vision Zero collaborative creativity can achieve amazzzzing results!

 

Truck Driver Fatigue: a problem with deadly results deserves nat’l priority status

FMCSA and FRA to Host Public Listening Sessions on Obstructive Sleep Apnea among Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers and Rail Workers – See more at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/fmcsa-and-fra-host-public-listening-sessions-obstructive-sleep-apnea-among-commercial-motor#sthash.0ekKDOVU.dpuf:

May 12, Washington, D.C.

May 17, Chicago

May 25, Los Angeles

There are many factors which may contribute to driver fatigue–sleep apnea is one, along with the pressure to reach a destination and put many hours on the road in order to make a living (wage compensation), not to mention the monotony of long hours on the road.

Articles on truck driver fatigue:

Sleep apnea is one problem that needs attention. But to take the problem of truck driver fatigue seriously, we need to cover all the bases. http://annaleahmary.com/driver-fatigue/

Driving While Fatigued

President Obama, please establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force to address deadly truck driver fatigue, along with many other traffic safety issues: Letter to President Obama from the Karth Family

Life & Death Traffic Safety Problems Deserve Proper Treatment: Not Political Tug-of-War Game!

Driven distracted lately? You and who else? Where will we end up?

With a national focus on Distracted Driving this month, I thought that I would highlight the posts which I have written on that deadly subject: Distracted Driving posts on annaleahmary.com.

11wjd2

Somebody has to take personal responsibility & be accountable for the danger of the trucking industry.

“At some point, somebody has to take personal responsibility & be accountable for the danger of this industry. More truck drivers are killed on the job than any other occupation. More than 500 truck drivers are killed every year in truck crashes. . . I don’t know any other industry where that’s allowed .  .  . and people are looking the other way.

“We need to have this prosecuted at the industry or company level, because that’s where the problem lies. . . The industry drives them harder and longer than they should. The result is catastrophic death and injury all across the country

“If we could get a change in some of the laws. . . to the point where company executives are criminally responsible for the violations of their drivers’ Hours of Service, you would see a lot of things change in the industry. You might see some changes that are long overdue,”  says Jeff Burns, Truck Litigation Attorney.

Jeff Burns, National Transportation Counsel for the Truck Safety Coaltion, discusses the issue of truck crash prosecutions and the challenges facing victims of truck crashes. Prosecutors across the country are choosing not to prosecute those responsible for deadly truck crashes. Furthermore, drivers and companies are facing only minimal fines, much less than a speeding motorist, for reckless driving that results in an accident and/or death. Visit www.trucksafety.org for more information on how you can help in the fight to make our highways safer for everyone. June 14, 2011

Some previous posts which I have written on the issues of justice related to truck crashes:

Responsibility

 

StopSleep device detects loss of concentration & fatigue, warning drivers: Stop, Revive and Survive.

Here is a device to counteract drowsy driving dangers: StopSleep® – Drive Safely

Worn on just two fingers, the StopSleep device detects loss of concentration and fatigue, warning drivers it is time to Stop, Revive and Survive.

10.52 a.m. Crown Vic May 4 2013