Fwd: Letter to U.S. DOT Sec. Foxx on “Tired Trucker” provision in govt spending bill

Fwd: Letter to U.S. DOT Sec. Foxx on “Tired Trucker” provision in govt spending bill

December, 2016

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Crash victims and consumer groups ask for help of “Lame Duck” DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx.

It may be too late, but it is nice to see the organization of grieving families raising their voices for safety to protect all of us from future harm.

Let’s help them.

Lou Lombardo

———- Forwarded message ———- From: Cathy Chase <cchase@saferoads.org> Date: Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 1:59 PM Subject: Letter to U.S. DOT Sec. Foxx on “Tired Trucker” provision in govt spending bill To: Cathy Chase <cchase@saferoads.org>

The following (and attached) letter was sent to Secretary Foxx today expressing urgent concern about the “tired trucker” anomaly, which would remove two safety safeguards in the Obama Administration hours of service (HOS) rule, being attached to the government spending bill next week.

Thank you, Cathy




December 2, 2016


The Honorable Anthony Foxx

Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave., SE

Washington, D.C.  20590


Dear Secretary Foxx:


As representatives of the nation’s leading consumer, public health, law enforcement and safety organizations, as well as grieving families whose loved ones were needlessly killed in truck crashes, we are writing to urge you to protect the Obama Administration truck driver hours of service (HOS) rule.  Two critically important safety provisions in the Obama rule are under attack in Congress, and without your leadership and strong opposition, they will be attached to and enacted as part of the government funding bill. 


Just recently the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) launched the “Road to Zero” campaign with the goal of ending fatalities on the nation’s roads within the next thirty years.  Your statement on the urgent need for every stakeholder including government to commit to “setting the bar for safety to the highest possible standard” resonated deeply with us.  Now is the time for the Obama Administration to draw a line in the sand and oppose any provisions in the lame duck session that lower the safety bar by repealing and revising truck safety laws and regulations.   


Your commitment to bringing down highway deaths and injuries comes at a critical time.  As you are aware, truck crash deaths and injuries are increasing dramatically.  In 2015, 4,067 people died in crashes involving large trucks, the highest number in seven years and a 20 percent increase from 2009.  Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released preliminary figures revealing that 116,000 people were injured in large truck crashes. This represents a 57 percent increase since 2009.  Moreover, the economic cost of truck crashes topped $100 billion in 2013, according to the.  No other industry involved in the movement of freight has such an abysmal safety record.  In 2014, according to data from the U.S. DOT, the combined death toll attributed to commercial aviation, rail freight, pipelines and commercial vessels was less than 600 fatalities.


A major cause of truck crashes is driver fatigue.  According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), fatigue can be as deadly as alcohol and drug impairment.  Just a few weeks ago the NTSB included reducing fatigue on their 2017-2018 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.  Working and driving hours for truck drivers are already grueling and often more than double the average American work week of 40 hours.  Even in light of this alarming evidence, provisions in the pending Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bills (H.R. 2577/H.R. 5394) attack and weaken critical protections against fatigued truck driving.  


The Senate and House THUD bills contain separate provisions (Sections 131 and132 respectively) that will gut key safety features of the Obama Administration’s hours of service (HOS) rule.  Specifically, the THUD bill seeks to undo a change to the HOS rule adopted by the DOT in 2011.  Prior to making this change, a truck driver who has exhausted his/her maximum driving and working hours in 7 days, had to take just 34 hours off to allow for rest and recovery before beginning to drive again.  Because the so-called “34-hour restart” was significantly less than a full weekend, the 2011 HOS rule issued by the Obama Administration, included a requirement that the 34-hour off duty period cover two consecutive “nights off,” between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.  This modification was made in order to ensure two nights of quality rest that is compatible with human biorhythms.  Also, the 2011 HOS rule limited drivers to using the 34-hour restart to just once per week. Removing these important safety protections on behalf of trucking interests is dangerous and deadly to the safety of all motorists including truck drivers.


The HOS rule was changed by the DOT after extensive review and thorough consideration of 21,000 formal docket comments submitted by the public, truck drivers, motor carriers, law enforcement, safety advocates, medical experts, and trucking industry associations; 6 public listening sessions; review and consideration of 80 sources of scientific research and data; a Regulatory Impact Analysis of nearly 50 scientific sources; 10 years of rulemaking; and, 3 lawsuits. 

Further, Section 134 of the House THUD bill would preempt state laws affording needed meal and rest breaks beyond the federally required 30-minute rest break, for truck drivers operating within their states.  This provision is a threat to the health, safety and protection of workers.  It is aimed at eliminating some of the critical job and labor protections which insure a safe transportation system.


When sound science stands in the way of business profits, special trucking interests run to Congress to advance their economic agenda and bypass public scrutiny and government review.  These efforts are especially egregious and unconscionable given the current mortality and morbidity toll on our roadways.  If these provisions were stand-alone bills, subject to oversight by the Congressional Committees of jurisdiction, they would never move forward.  


The American public depends on your leadership and commitment to safety to stop these provisions from becoming law.  The “Road to Zero” starts here. 




Jackie Gillan, President

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety 


Dominick Stokes, Vice President for Legislative Affairs

Federal Law Enforcement Office Association


Steve Owings, Co-Founder

Road Safe America


Andrew McGuire, Executive Director

Trauma Foundation


John Lannen, Executive Director

Truck Safety Coalition


Sally Greenberg, Executive Director

National Consumers League


Gary Smith, President

Child Injury Prevention Alliance


Laura MacCleery, Vice President

Consumer Policy and Mobilization Consumers Union


Wanda Lindsay, Founder

The John Lindsay Foundation

Joan Claybrook, Chair

Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH)


Jack Gillis, Director of Public Affairs

Consumer Federation of America


Stephen W. Hargarten, M.D., MPH

Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research


Ian Weston, MPP, QAS, Executive Director

American Trauma Society


Rosemary Shahan, President

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety 


Melissa Wandall, President

National Coalition for Safer Roads


Janette Fennell, Founder and President



Daphne Izer, Co-Founder

Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT)


Dawn King

Davisburg, MI

President, Truck Safety Coalition

Board Member, CRASH

Daughter of Bill Badger

Killed in truck crash 12/23/04


Jennifer Tierney

Kernersville, NC

Board Member, CRASH

Daughter of James Mooney

Killed in a truck crash 9/20/83


Steve Izer

Lisbon, ME                

Board Member, PATT                                                

Father of Jeff Izer

Killed in a truck crash 10/10/93


Lisa Shrum

Fayette, MO

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Daughter of Virginia Baker, Step-daughter of Randy Baker

Killed in a truck crash 10/10/06


Nancy Meuleners

Bloomington, MN

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Injured in a truck crash 12/19/89


Ed Slattery 

Lutherville, MD 

Board Member, PATT            

Husband of Susan Slattery

Killed in a truck crash 8/16/10                        

Sons Matthew & Peter Slattery critically injured


Kate Brown 

Gurnee, IL

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Mother of Graham Brown

Injured in a truck crash 5/2/05


Jerry Karth

Rocky Mount, NC

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Founder, AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety

Father of AnnaLeah and Mary Karth

Killed in a truck crash 5/4/13




Frank Wood 

Falls Church, VA

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Father of Dana Wood

Killed in a truck crash 10/15/02


Marchelle Wood 

Falls Church, VA

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Mother of Dana Wood

Killed in a truck crash 10/15/02


Jackie Novak

Edneyville, NC           

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition      

Mother of Charles “Chuck” Novak                

Killed in a truck crash 10/24/10


Ron Wood

Washington, D.C.

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Son of Betsy Wood, Brother of Lisa Wood Martin, Uncle of Chance, Brock, and Reid Martin

Killed in a truck crash 9/20/04


Cindy Southern

Cleveland, TN

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Wife of James Whitaker, sister-in-law Anthony Hixon and aunt of Amber Hixon 

Killed in a truck crash 9/18/09


Sandra Lance

Chesterfield, VA

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Mother of Kristen Belair

Killed in a truck crash 8/26/09


Alan Dana

Plattsburgh, NY

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Son of Janet Dana, Uncle of Caitlyn & Lauryn Dana, Brother-in-law of Laurie Dana

Killed in a truck crash 7/19/12


Amy Fletcher

Perrysburg, OH 

Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition

Wife of John Fletcher

Killed in a truck crash 1/24/12


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