Advocates Applauds Congressional Rejections Of Anti-Truck Safety Amendments To Surface Transportation Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jackie Gillan
March 9, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x22

Statement of
Jacqueline S. Gillan, Vice President
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates)
March 9, 2005

ADVOCATES APPLAUDS CONGRESSIONAL REJECTIONS OF ANTI-TRUCK SAFETY AMENDMENTS TO SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BILL

Rep. Boozman (R-AR) Withdraws Amendment Extending
Workday to 16 Hours for Truck Drivers
and
House Defeats Rep. Conaway (R-TX) Amendment Giving Broad Hours of Service Exemption to Truck Drivers in the Oil and Gas Industries


The U.S. House of Representatives today stood up for the nation's truck drivers and motorists by rejecting dangerous amendments to H.R.3, the Transportation Equity Act, A Legacy for Users.

The first amendment sponsored by Rep. Boozman (R-AR) was withdrawn in the face of strong opposition from consumer, health, and safety groups and truck crash survivors. Truck driver fatigue is a deadly problem in the trucking industry. It doesn't make sense to add two more hours onto the already excessive 14-hour shift currently permitted for truck drivers. I hope that the strong and vocal opposition of truck crash survivors, truck drivers and truck safety groups is a wake-up call to Members of Congress and the retail industry that our roads are dangerous enough without these safety roll backs. The so-called "Wal-Mart amendment," named after the Arkansas-based chain store supporting the change, was withdrawn by its sponsor after brief debate on the House floor.

The second hours of service amendment, sponsored by Rep. Conaway (R-TX), was defeated by a vote of 226 to 198. The amendment would have removed gas and oil drivers from all hours of service limits, and would have allowed hazardous materials to be transported without any federal controls over driver working, driving, and rest time.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) congratulates Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and other leaders in Congress for stopping these special interest proposals. Lou Harris public opinion polls for Advocates consistently show overwhelming support for limiting time behind the wheel for truck drivers, as well as concern about fatigued driving. Today, 85% of America On Line (AOL) subscribers responded negatively to a poll question asking whether a 16-hour day was justified for truck drivers.

Big rigs being driven by tired truckers are preventable crashes waiting to happen. We hope that other sectors of the trucking industry seeking special interest provisions that jeopardize safety will listen to the American public and give it a rest.

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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer, is actively involved at the federal and state levels to reduce the terrible tragedy of crashes to families across the nation.

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