Tag Archives: Tired Trucker Roundtable

Electronic Log Books Not The Whole Answer; A Tired Trucker Roundtable Is Vital

Source: https://www.facebook.com/twistedtruckers/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/494507530713925/permalink/795767523921256/

I am convinced that we need to bring together multiple stakeholders around the table to discuss Tired Truckers. We need to work together to tackle this problem.

 

Ongoing Tired Trucker (HOS) Controversy on The Hill Proves Need for Vision Zero Rulemaking

It didn’t take me long — after our family’s tragic truck crash — to grasp the futility of lobbying on The Hill as a truck safety advocate in an attempt to push for safer roads through safer regulations.

And then I learned a secret (shh). . . DOT’s safety agencies have their hands tied by an Executive Order (12866) which requires stringent cost/benefit analysis during rulemaking that too often undervalues human life & health and effectually allows industry lobbyists to sabotage and snuff out regulations which could make our roads more safe to travel on.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the DOT agencies which were meant to be our protectors — the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier SAFETY Administration) & NHTSA (National Highway Traffic SAFETY Administration) — have not proven to be consistently effective voices for our SAFETY.

That revelation — in combination with my own experience in wasted lobbying hours and my realization that others had tried unsuccessfully for decades before me to push for truck safety rules which might have saved my daughters — spurred me on to launch the Vision Zero Petition in 2015. It garnered over 20,000 signatures online in support of our requests for:

  1. A National Vision Zero Goal.
  2. A White House Vision Zero Task Force.
  3. A Vision Zero Executive Order to authorize Vision Zero Rulemaking (which would favor saving LIVES over saving PROFIT).
  4. An Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman (an independent but influential and vigilant voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence who could facilitate these goals).
  5. A nationwide network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety community action/advocacy groups.

Although we took this Petition to DC in March 2016, we have not yet received a response to our requests. And, as I expected, the month of December 2016 has presented us with one more example of the need for this essential strategy: a resurrection of the Tired Trucker hours of service tug-of-war.

All of this, and more — most especially my daughters’ truck crash deaths which might have been prevented had all of this nonsense been addressed appropriately — has led to my efforts to work with others to organize a successful Truck Underride Roundtable and an upcoming Tired Trucker Roundtable.

And I really do keep hoping that a national traffic safety advocate will be appointed and Vision Zero Rulemaking will become a thing. . .

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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?

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

 

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

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?

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!