THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS FROM THE Truck Safety Coalition (December 4, 2014). . .
Right now, Appropriations Committee Leaders are deliberating over whether to include a provision to increase truck driver weekly work hours from 70 to 82 hours, and reduce their rest time, each week. This provision was originally introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) as an amendment. We sent out an action alert this morning asking you to reach out to Appropriations Committee Leaders to express your opposition to longer hours and less rest for truck drivers. Please call all if you can, but if you are limited on time, please reach out to as many as possible. I have attached their contact information at the end of this email. Each call should only take a few minutes and I have included talking points below:
- According to the U.S. DOT, in 2012, each day, on average, 11 people died in truck crashes and 200 more were injured.
- Truck driver fatigue has been recognized as a major safety concern and a contributing factor to fatal truck crashes for over 70 years.
- FMCSA studies have shown that 65 percent of truck drivers report that they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half of truck drivers admit that they had actually fallen asleep while driving in the previous year.
- Truck driving is consistently listed as one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S. In 2011, fatalities among large truck occupants increased 20 percent, and by another 9 percent in 2012.
The Collins Amendment would weaken the HOS rule and:
- Dramatically increase the allowable working hours of truck drivers from the current average of about 70 hours a week to more than 80 hours a week. This is equivalent to adding an additional work day to the work week of a truck driver.
- Allow shippers and supervisors to once again push drivers to work an average work week of up to 82 hours every week. This is double the normal work week of the average American worker and without any overtime pay or compensation.
The current HOS rule will:
- Prevent approximately 1,400 crashes each year – saving 19 lives and avoiding 560 injuries;
- Provide $280 million in annual savings from fewer crashes and $470 million in annual savings from improved driver health (i.e., reduced mortality).
The current HOS rule DOES NOT:
- Restrict a driver from driving at night. In fact, the current rule places no restrictions on when a truck driver must drive. Unless a driver is absolutely maxing out their driving time and trying to drive more than the 60 or 70 hours currently permitted, there is also no restriction on when they have to take a break.
- Moreover, the rule does not specify when that driver must go back on the road after the break. Add More Trucks to the road. Changes to the requirements for rest periods do not have any effect on the amount of freight shipped.
- A recent survey conducted by Lake Research Partners shows an overwhelming majority of the American public is aware of the dangers of truck driver fatigue and rationally opposes legislative efforts to increase truck driver working hours. This opposition is broad, spanning all demographic, geographic and political groups.
THE POLL REVEALS THAT: 80% ARE OPPOSED TO LONGER WORK WEEKS FOR TRUCK DRIVERS; AND, 80% SAY THEY WOULD FEEL LESS SAFE IF LEGISLATION WERE PASSED TO RAISE THE NUMBER OF HOURS A SEMI-TRUCK DRIVER IS ALLOWED TO WORK IN A WEEK FROM 70 TO 82 HOURS. Opposition to the proposed legislation and longer hours for truck drivers:
- has strong bipartisan support;
- is strong in all regions of the country; and,
- is strong across gender, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Thank you for all your work. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Senate Leaders: Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) firstname.lastname@example.org 202-224-4654
Appropriations Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) email@example.com 202-224-5744
Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) firstname.lastname@example.org 202-224-2621
Appropriations Chairman Hal Rodgers (R-KY) email@example.com 202-225-4601
Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) firstname.lastname@example.org 202-225-6506
Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham (R-IA) email@example.com 202-225-5476
Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Ranking Member Ed Pastor (D-AZ) firstname.lastname@example.org 202-225-4065