Tag Archives: HOS

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:

 

“Trucking Regulations Don’t Address Biggest Risk – Unsafe Behavior” by a husband/wife trucker team

You will want to read this in-depth article on truck safety full of practical knowledge and insight — written by a trucker husband/wife team.

Opinion: Trucking Regulations Don’t Address Biggest Risk – Unsafe Behavior, Trucks.com, by Jeff & Linda Halling, September 8, 2016

Written by Jeff and Linda Halling, a husband-and-wife driving team based in Missouri. This is one in a series of periodic guest columns by industry thought leaders.

While the federal government is adding new trucking industry regulations — including speed limiters for big rigs and electronic logging devices for drivers — these moves don’t really address the root causes of truck crashes.

If we really want to improve safety for truckers and the motoring public, we need to focus on the base reasons for unsafe behavior. We believe better training is key — teaching drivers good work habits. That will reduce the frequency of truck crashes. . .

Read more here: Trucking Regulations Don’t Address Biggest Risk – Unsafe Behavior

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Who has the right to block efforts to end Preventable Death by Underride?

I just got back from an errand. Something triggered a memory of AnnaLeah & Mary. I think that it was driving by a park here in Rocky Mount to which Mary and AnnaLeah never got to go. We had lived here less than a year before the crash.

It made me wonder (as I do so often) what they might be doing right now. How  might their lives have unfolded?

All my anger poured out, about how they have been cheated and how wrong it all is. I was yelling in my car, “Who gave power to the trucking industry over life & death matters?  Who has the right to block efforts to end Preventable Death by Underride?”

And that is only one of the many safety issues involved.

Yesterday I was frustrated with the whole side guard issue and the well-known under-reporting of side underride fatalities (in fact, of all types of underride). As far as I can tell, it has contributed to more underride victims as a direct result of the inaccurate cost/benefit analysis that has taken place.

Of course — in case you didn’t already know — I think that the whole cost/benefit analysis basis of safety rulemaking is flawed and unethical and needs to be re-examined. I have clearly laid out my thoughts on this in a drafted Vision Zero Executive Order.

Two more areas which make me concerned — because they do not seem to be taking into account the whole picture — are:

  1. Hours of Service (Have truckers been asked what they think would work best?) and
  2. Speed Limiters (What will truckers do when they need to speed up to get around someone but their speed limiter technology will not allow it? And speed limiters will not change situations where drivers cause crashes because they are driving “too fast for conditions.”)

One trucker, Jeff Halling, recently said to me (regarding speed limiters),

“Can you imagine how this will affect the Move Over Law? I’m running down the interstate stuck at 65 cars are running 80 and 85 miles an hour. An emergency vehicle is on the shoulder in front of me. What do I do? If I move over, it’s guaranteed rear-end crash. If I slow down to 40 miles an hour, which is what they recommend, another possibility of rear-end crash. Just not a good idea. I can say this though, If this law does pass we definitely need to get stronger rear end guards on trailers. Because rear-end crashes will go up ten-fold.”

Both of these situations — in my mind — need someone to facilitate rulemaking who has only safety in mind. Such as a Traffic Safety Ombudsman.

And, one more thing. . .  the pervasive idea in this country has to be confronted that it is an inevitable and acceptable risk you take when you drive on the roads, instead of understanding that there are so many things which could be done to prevent crash deaths.

Who has the power

“KeepTruckin ELD now on FMCSA’s registry”

Take a look at one company’s option for an Electronic Logging Device app to satisfy requirements for electronic logging of truckers’ hours of service.

Makani notes the KeepTruckin ELD remains a $20/monthly subscription product, with an ELD Plus option at $30 that includes mostly automated IFTA collection and reporting. Other features, Makani notes, are coming to that package, from vehicle diagnostics to driver performance monitoring and other features.

KeepTruckin’s self-certification on FMCSA’s device registry means it joins three others also detailed in Overdrive‘s quick-glance comparison chart for a variety of ELD vendors old and new.

http://www.overdriveonline.com/keeptruckin-eld-now-on-fmcsas-registry/ from Overdrive|August 10, 2016

Underride guards Great Dane trip 016Scan

More information on Electronic Logging Devices, Hours of Service, and Driver Fatigue: http://annaleahmary.com/driver-fatigue/

Same old/same old: Senate Prepares To Make Truck Safety Even Worse, Advocates Warn

No matter who causes a truck crash, the victims pay the price. This country needs to understand that there is a better way to resolve traffic safety problems than through a political tug-of-war!
 
After my daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), were killed in a truck crash almost three years ago on May 4, 2013, I have had my eyes opened and would like others to listen to what I have to say.
 
We can do better than continue to put our heads in the sand and think that these horrific, preventable, tragic deaths will go away by handling these problems the same old way.
What is being done now to address traffic safety issues is just not working: Senate Prepares To Make Truck Safety Even Worse, Advocates Warn
 
If you could walk in my shoes (and those of the hundreds of thousands of other Americans who have lost loved ones this way) and bear the unnecessary grief on a daily basis, then you might be able to understand the frustration of knowing that something better could be done about this–but ISN’T.
 

Are you listening, Congress, everyone involved in the trucking industry and traffic safety advocacy, and especially, right now, President Obama?!

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

AnnaLeah & Mary, we miss you so much!

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Marcus and Vanessa & the memorial bricks

Towards Zero: There’s no one someone won’t miss.

Comment on Huffington Post article

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

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Life & death traffic safety problems deserve to be handled appropriately and not like some political tug-of-war game played by industry lobbyists, administrators, and legislators!

I have offered what seems to me to be a reasonable alternative when I petitioned President Obama to resolve our national traffic safety travesty in this way:

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal (which would serve to raise national awareness and direct national priorities with the goal in mind of doing everything possible to move our country ever closer to zero crash deaths & serious injuries).
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force to address these traffic safety problems in an interdisciplinary, non-political manner.
  3. Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order to pave the way for Vision Zero Rulemaking that could truly make Saving Lives a priority rather than an afterthought.

See more here about this ongoing problem & my recommended solution:

  1. An ongoing battle over trucker hours of service and its impact on truck driver fatigue and inevitably fatal crashes is addressed in two recent articles: Maine Voices: In the long haul, tired truck drivers result in hazardous highways and Trucks Are Getting More Dangerous And Drivers Are Falling Asleep At The Wheel. Thank Congress.
  2. I wrote about the congressional truck safety legislation fiasco here: “Trucks Are Getting More Dangerous And Drivers Are Falling Asleep At The Wheel. Thank Congress.” and, of course, here we have addressed the driver fatigue problem at length on our website: Driver Fatigue on annaleahmary.com
  3. We delivered over 20,000 Vision Zero Petition signatures to Washington, DC, on March 5, 2016, in the form of a book which we distributed to key leaders asking for bottomline change and a major paradigm shift in how all traffic safety problems are addressed: Tell Obama you are standing with us in this: “Family Continues Fight for Trucking Safety”

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Opposition to DOT’s attempts to prevent driver fatigue get tiresome. Take a tip from FAA pilot rules.

It sure would be refreshing to find that there was no more opposition to finding the best solution for truck driver fatigue–instead of a continuous battle to get this right. Maybe they should take a tip from the airline industry.

Thanks to federal regulations, pilots never fly more than nine hours at a time, always have backup “relief pilots” and designated beds on long flights, and have limits on the number of weekly hours they can work. This means pilots are among the best-rested people working in commercial transportation — certainly more so than truck drivers, for instance — and rarely deal with the issue of drowsy or sleep-deprived performance. 

The Federal Aviation Administration announced a sweeping overhaul of pilot scheduling rules in 2011 in order to ensure that pilots have more time for rest before they enter the cockpit. Among other changes, the minimum mandatory downtime between flights was increased from eight hours to ten hours. One Reason Airplanes Are Far Safer Than Buses and Trucks

When will we get this right?

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“Fatigue and the criminal law.”

Should Driving While Fatigued be considered RECKLESS or NEGLIGENT when a person is driving an 80,000 lbs. death machine? Not a new question. Deserves an answer.

“Fatigue is an increasingly recognised risk factor for transportation accidents. In light of this, there is the question of whether driving whilst fatigued should be a criminal offence. This paper discusses the current legal position, including the problems of voluntary conduct and self awareness. Three models for reform are proposed. The manner in which scientific research can inform legal consideration and future directions for research are discussed.”

Ind Health. 2005 Jan;43(1):63-70.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15732306

Other related studies:

  1. “Fell asleep and caused a fatal head-on crash? A case study of multidisciplinary in-depth analysis vs. the court. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19214881
  2. “Convicted of fatigued driving: who, why and how? ”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19540978
  3. “[Tiredness and sleepiness in bus drivers and road accidents in Peru: a quantitative study].”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15333261
  4. “Modern medicine is neglecting road traffic crashes. ” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23776413
  5. “Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk: systematic review of observational studies and meta-analysis.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22323502
  6. “Psychomotor vigilance testing of professional drivers in the occupational health clinic: a potential objective screen for daytime sleepiness.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21826029
  7. “Visual vigilance in drivers with obstructive sleep apnea.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19616141

If a truck driver is prone to drive drowsy, what is the logical strategy to make him/her a safer driver? Forbid driving commercially? Require technology to alert to sleepiness? Convict of a reckless criminal offense if not used and a crash results leading to death or serious injury?

What Hours of Service (HOS) rules would make the most sense?

And ENFORCEMENT is oh so very important. In our crash, the Crash Report said, “No Medical Card found.” Yet, was any further mention made of this or investigation done into this? Not that I am aware of.

Driving While Fatigued = DWF = A Public Health Problem

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FMCSA Finally Releases the Electronic Logging Devices Rule To Track Trucker Hours

We are excited to see that the FMCSA has released the final rule for Electronic Logging Devices designed to keep better track of truckers’ driving hours and to reduce truck driver fatigue.

After our truck crash on May 4, 2013, for which we never saw the truck driver’s paper log books, we are very happy about this. We never found out for sure why the truck driver who hit us was unable to slow down with the rest of the traffic–which was stopped for another crash two miles ahead of us. But we suspect that fatigue –drowsy driving — may well have played a part.

DWF = Driving While Fatigued

Here is the press release: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/electronic-logging-devices-be-required-across-commercial-truck-and-bus-industries

and some articles:

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We are thankful that FMCSA has taken this important step to protect travelers on the road. We hope that it will also be followed by the best possible Hours of Service rules and better wage compensation for truck drivers who work hard to deliver the goods.

Thank you to everyone who signed the AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition which we delivered to DOT on May 5, 2014. One of the three requests in that petition was for Electronic Logging Devices to be implemented.

FMCSA Ready to Study New Data on Trucker Hours of Service & Fatigue

FMCSA has been collecting data on truck driver hours of service; now they will analyze the data. Let’s hope that they will find clear answers to the driver fatigue dilemma.

“DOT enters next phase of 34-hour restart study” http://tinyurl.com/ppfwfpx

Driving While Fatigued (DWF) is definitely dangerous!

For more information on driver fatigue:

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This is a photo which the Georgia State Patrol took when they arrived at the scene of our truck crash.  Truck driver fatigue may have been a factor; we never saw his paper log books.