Just read this Op-Ed in today’s New York Times:
on July 31, 2015 at 11:28 AM
“I am writing in response to Mark Rosenker’s July 28 letter, “Longer truck trailers have a good safety record.” Nearly three years ago my husband Brad, a truck driver, was killed by a fatigued truck driver who swerved off the road and struck Brad while he was standing on the shoulder. Sadly, this crash is not unique. All too often I read about a construction worker hit by a semi in a work zone, or a family crushed in their minivan simply because the truck driver did not apply the brakes soon enough.
Yet some people in Washington believe it’s time to increase the length of double tractor trailers, from 28 feet per trailer to 33 feet. Proponents of the increase rely on one study — industry-funded junk science that claims these longer trucks to be safer. That is false. . . ”
“. . . These differences could be what prompts yet another wife or mother to write a letter to the editor on truck safety.
Some thoughts on longer trucks from law enforcement and a trucking association:
“‘Safety on our Nation’s roadways is a top priority and efforts to allow new longer, more dangerous trucks should be rejected. We applaud Senator Schumer for opposing the provision to allow twin 33-foot trailers, which threatens our members and the motoring public. We will continue working with him to prevent this alarming proposal from becoming law,’ said Sergeant Andrew Matthews, Chairman of the National Troopers Coalition, which represents over 40,000 State Troopers in 38 states, including New York.
“’The Trucking Alliance opposes efforts to force states to allow double 33’ trailers on U.S. highways. These longer trucks would have negative impact on highway safety, accelerate wear and tear on the nation’s highway system, and make it very difficult for small and medium sized trucking companies, which are the heart of our industry, to compete,’ said Lane Kidd, Managing Director of the Trucking Alliance, a group that represents some of the Country’s leading trucking companies.”
We have learned that Congressman David Price (D-NC), Ranking Member of the House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, is going to be offering an amendment during Wednesday morning’s House Committee on Appropriations markup to strip the FY2016 THUD bill of all of the anti-safety provisions from the bill. Please make as many calls or emails as you can to House Appropriations Committee Members before Wednesday morning and ask them to:
“Vote Yes on the Price (NC) Amendment”. Choose SAFETY: we all travel the roads of this country.
CONTACT INFORMATION for members of the House Committee on Appropriations is listed below.
Special Interest Riders in the FY2016 THUD Bill Include:
FedEx Double 33’ tractor trailers on federal and local roads (House THUD bill Sec. 125). The anti-safety, pro-industry plan will overturn state laws and bulldoze states to accept trucks that are at least 84 feet long on federal, state and local roads.
- If truck lengths are increased from 28 to 33 feet, the laws of 39 states (AL, AK, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, HI, IL, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI) which currently prohibit longer trailers may be overturned. States where double 33s are prohibited and states where they are not running will be pressured to allow these longer trucks on their roads which are not equipped to accommodate them.
- Longer double-trailer trucks will make passing even more dangerous than it already is. A double-trailer truck using 33-foot trailers would be at least 84 feet long, the height of an 8-story office building, and a triple-trailer truck would be at least 120 feet long, equivalent to a 12-story building. These longer trucks would dwarf the size of an average car and are the equivalent of 5 to 8 passenger cars in length
Special interest weight and length exemptions for specific states including Idaho and Kansas (House THUD bill Secs. 124 and 126) or specific industries. The provision would allow Idaho to operate trucks up to 129,000 pounds and Kansas to operate trucks potentially more than 100 feet long.
- By overwhelming margins in numerous public opinion polls over the last 20 years, the American public consistently and convincingly rejects sharing the road with bigger, heavier and longer trucks. The most recent poll in January 2015 by Harper Polling revealed that 76% of respondents oppose longer and heavier trucks on the highways and 79% are very or somewhat convinced that heavier and longer trucks will lead to more braking problems and longer stopping distances, causing an increase in the number of crashes involving trucks.
- Special interest truck size and weight exemptions are essentially “earmarks” for states and “unfunded mandates” imposed on all American taxpayers who bear the cost of federally-financed infrastructure damage and repairs.
Extension and expansion of the “Collins Amendment” tucked into the 2015 overall federal spending bill last December that dramatically increases the working and driving hours of truck drivers up to 82 hours a week and takes away their “weekend” off, resulting in more tired truckers and jeopardizing safety (House THUD bill Sec. 132).
- A provision added to the Omnibus spending bill (Pub. L. 113-235) in December 2014 rolled back important safety reforms to hours of service (HOS) rules which were implemented by the DOT in July 2013 after a lengthy rulemaking process which considered 21,000 formal public comments, thorough and compelling scientific research, extensive stakeholder input, as well as three lawsuits.
- This major change will significantly increase working and driving hours for truck drivers, from 70 hours to 84 hours. Essentially, this provision takes away the two-night off “weekend” for truck drivers.
- With this provision, the HOS rule reverts to the Bush Administration rule in effect when a 2006 survey of truck drivers found an alarming 65% of truck drivers reported they had often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving and nearly half admitted to falling asleep while driving in the previous year.
A prohibition on rulemaking going on right now at the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine whether or not motor carriers have sufficient insurance coverage, which has not been reviewed and revised since 1985. (House THUD bill Sec. 134) The bill will STOP progress on this needed & already-too-long-delayed increase.
- Congress gave the DOT Secretary and FMCSA the authority to review the insurance level. The rule making process, which includes public comments, should be respected and followed.
- Minimum levels of insurance for trucks, currently set at $750,000, have not been increased in over 35 years and are woefully insufficient.
- The underinsured segments of the industry are effectively subsidized by American taxpayers through unreimbursed social welfare programs including Medicaid and Social Security.
- If all of the industry were required to absorb more of the losses they cause, significant changes in the industry would occur, resulting in safer highways for all.
According to Michael R. Lemov, Car Safety Wars, p. 31, “Today, the U.S. DOT uses a figure of $9.2 million per lost life (2013) which includes value for both economic costs and other costs including value for pain and suffering.” Compare this to the $750,000 current trucking minimum liability insurance.
Urge Members of the House Appropriations Committee:
Stand Up For Safety –Vote YES on the Price (NC) Amendment!
To Contact the Members of the House Committee on Appropriations:
- Hal Rogers (R-KY) at 202-225-4601 or through email at: email@example.com
- Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) at 202-225-5034 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Robert Aderholt (R-AL) at 202-225-4876 or through email at: email@example.com
- Kay Granger (R-TX) at 202-225-5071 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mike Simpson (R-ID) at 202-225-5531 or through email at: email@example.com
- John Culberson (R-TX) at 202-225-2571 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) at 202-225-2501 or through email at: email@example.com
- John Carter (R-TX) at 202-225-3864 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ken Calvert (R-CA) at 202-225-1986 or through email at: Ian.Foley@mail.house.gov
- Tom Cole (R-OK) at 202-225-6165 or through email at: email@example.com
- Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) at 202-225-4211 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Charlie Dent (R-PA) at 202-225-6411 or through email at: email@example.com
- Tom Graves (R-GA) at 202-225-5211 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kevin Yoder (R-KS) at 202-225-2865 or through email at: email@example.com
- Steve Womack (R-AR) at 202-225-4301 or through email at: Adrielle.Churchill@mail.house.gov
- Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) at 202-225-4806 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tom Rooney (R-FL) at 202-225-5792 or through email at: email@example.com
- Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) at 202-225-3271 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) at 202-225-3536 or through email at: email@example.com
- David Joyce (R-OH) at 202-225-5731 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Valadao (R-CA) at 202-225-4695 or through email at: Kristina.Dunklin@mail.house.gov
- Andy Harris (R-MD) at 202-225-5311 or through email at: email@example.com
- Martha Roby (R-AL) at 202-225-2901 or through email at: Andrew.Ashley@mail.house.gov
- Mark Amodei (R-NV) at 202-225-6155 or through email at: Kyle.Thomas@mail.house.gov
- Chris Stewart (R-UT) at 202-225-9730 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Jolly (R-FL) at 202-225-5961 or through email at: Jenifer.Nawrocki@mail.house.gov
- Scott Rigell (R-VA) at 202-225-4215 or through email at: John.Thomas@mail.house.gov
- Evan Jenkins (R-WV) at 202-225-3452 or through email at: Brian.Barnard@mail.house.gov
- David Young (R-IA) at 202-225-5476 or through email at: Tara.Morgan@mail.house.gov
- Steven Palazzo (R-MS) at 202-225-5772 or through email at: Patrick.Large@mail.house.gov
- Nita Lowey (D-NY) at 202-225-6506 or through email at: email@example.com
- Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) at 202-225-4146 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pete Visclosky (D-IN) at 202-225-2461 or through email at: email@example.com
- José Serrano (D-NY) at 202-225-4361 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) at 202-225-3661 or through email at: Eric.email@example.com
- David Price (D-NC) at 202-225-1784 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) at 202-225-1766 or through email at: email@example.com
- Sam Farr (D-CA) at 202-225-2861 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chaka Fattah (D-PA) at 202-225-4001 or through email at: email@example.com
- Sanford Bishop (D-GA) at 202-225-3631 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Barbara Lee (D-CA) at 202-225-2661 or through email at: email@example.com
- Mike Honda (D-CA) at 202-225-2631 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Betty McCollum (D-MN) at 202-225-6631 or through email at: Jennifer.Holcomb@mail.house.gov
- Steve Israel (D-NY) at 202-225-3335 or through email at: Mark.Snyder@mail.house.gov
- Tim Ryan (D-OH) at 202-225-5261 or through email at: email@example.com
- Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) at 202-225-3061 or through email at: Deborah.Haynie@mail.house.gov
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) at 202-225-7931 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Henry Cuellar (D-TX) at 202-225-1640 or through email at: email@example.com
- Chellie Pingree (D-ME) at 202-225-6116 or through email at: Joe.Marro@mail.house.gov
- Mike Quigley (D-IL) at 202-225-4061 or through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Derek Kilmer (D-WA) at 202-225-5916 or through email at: Kevin.Warnke@mail.house.gov