As the Senate considers the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, S. 1243, an amendment has been filed that will threaten the safety of motorists and workers, resulting in more deaths and injuries and increase costs to taxpayers.
An amendment filed by Senator Inhofe (R-OK), will greatly broaden a current exemption to hours of service (HOS) regulations for the oil and gas industry. The amendment allows any driver – no special training needed – to drive to and from oil and gas well sites without including waiting time in a truck as “on-duty” time.
The THUD bill should advance safety and NOT include a GIVEAWAY to special interests that degrades safety.
Take Action Now
Please contact your Senators ASAP, or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected directly to your Senator’s office, and urge them to OPPOSE THE INHOFE AMENDMENT – #1770
- Every year on average 4,000 people are killed in truck crashes in the U.S. and another 80,000 are injured.
- Truck Crash Deaths are Increasing. In 2010, large truck crash fatalities increased by 9 percent and then increased again in 2011 despite an overall decline in motor vehicle deaths.
- The annual cost to society from crashes involving large trucks is estimated to be nearly $83 billion.
- Truck driver fatigue has been recognized as a major safety concern and a contributing factor to fatal truck crashes for over 70 years.
- Studies sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveal that 65% 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 in the top 10 most dangerous jobs.
- Life expectancy for truck drivers is just 61 years, 16 years less than the average due to the nature of the job.
- The demands of the job force truck drivers to spend up to 70 hours a week behind the wheel, and then work additional hours, for less pay than similar industries.
- Section 31315 of Title 49 of the U.S. Code already provides a process for those seeking exemptions from federal safety regulations. This process ensures that exemptions are given based on need and merit and that exemptions are given only to those who can demonstrate an equal level of safety will be maintained. Any and all exemptions from federal safety regulations should be reviewed and issued through this process.
- Last year, a New York Times investigative report on a special interest exemption from the federal HOS rule showed the devastating and deadly results of special interest exemptions for the industry.
Quotes from the New York Times Expose
“Over the past decade, more than 300 oil and gas workers…were killed in highway crashes, the largest cause of fatalities in the industry. Many of these deaths were due in part to oil field exemption from highway safety rules that allow truckers to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries…”
“Many oil field truckers say that while these exemptions help them earn more money, they are routinely used to pressure workers into driving after shifts that are 20 hours or longer.” (NYT, “Deadliest Danger Isn’t at the Rig but on the Road“, 5/14/12)
Quote from a Trucking Industry Publication on the Dangers of Trucks in the Energy Field
“While performing an essential energy mission, trucks are viewed as an inconvenience at best and unsafe or disruptive at worst. In a special enforcement focus during Roadcheck 2012, CVSA found significantly higher vehicle and driver out-of-service violations in the shale areas than elsewhere.” (Transport Topics 7-8-13)
Exemptions from federal motor carrier safety regulations compromise the safety, erode uniformity, and weaken enforcement efforts.
For More Information, contact the Truck Safety Coalition, 703-294-6404