Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

All media and reporters on deadline, please contact us at (202) 408-1711
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rick Alloway
Thursday, February 10, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

PROTECT MARYLAND'S MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAW
February 10, 2005

Maryland's House Environmental Matters Committee will hear HB450, a bill that would dramatically weaken Maryland's Motorcycle Helmet law, on Tuesday, February 15 at 1 pm. This is a serious challenge to Maryland's motorcycle all-rider helmet law that has been saving lives since 1992. The bill has 51 co-sponsors, so it is crucial that the committee members hear from their constituents who oppose this measure. This is a "minors only" bill allowing motorcyclists and their passengers 21 years of age or older to ride helmet-free if the motorcyclists: 1) Have had their license for two years; or 2) Have participated in a motorcycle rider safety program.

ASK COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO VOTE NO ON HB450:
The following members of the House Environmental Matters Committee need calls. Members marked with an asterisk (*) have sponsored this bill, and should be specifically targeted.


Maggie L.McIntosh, Chair -- maggie_mcintosh@house.state.md.us
James E. Malone, Jr., Vice-Chair -- james_malone@house.state.md.us
John S. Arnick -- john_arnick@house.state.md.us
Kumar P. Barve -- kumar_barve@house.state.md.us
Elizabeth Bobo -- elizabeth_bobo@house.state.md.us
William A. Bronrott -- william_bronrott@house.state.md.us
*Rudolph C. Cane -- rudolph_cane@house.state.md.us
Virginia P. Clagett -- virginia_clagett@house.state.md.us
*John W. E. Cluster, Jr. -- john_cluster@house.state.md.us
Barbara A. Frush -- barbara_frush@house.state.md.us
Tony E. Fulton -- tony_fulton@house.state.md.us
Barry Glassman -- barry_glassman@house.state.md.us
*Patrick N. Hogan -- patrick_n_hogan@house.state.md.us
Marvin E. Holmes, Jr. -- marvin_holmes@house.state.md.us
*J. B. Jennings -- jb_jennings@house.state.md.us
*Tony McConkey -- tony_mcconkey@house.state.md.us
Karen Montgomery -- karen_montgomery@house.state.md.us
*Rosetta C. Parker -- rosetta_parker@house.state.md.us
*Richard A. Sossi -- richard_sossi@house.state.md.us
Joan F. Stern -- joan_stern@house.state.md.us
*Paul S. Stull -- paul_stull@house.state.md.us
*Michael H. Weir, Jr. -- michael_weir@house.state.md.us

MOTORCYCLE HELMET TALKING POINTS:

Maryland's motorcyclist death rate has dropped by 56 percent since passage of the all-rider helmet law in 1992. "Autopsy Study of Motorcyclist Fatalities: The Effect of the 1992 Maryland Motorcycle Helmet Use Law," AJPH 1352-1355, Vol 92, No. 8, August 2002.

According to the Fiscal and Policy Note accompanying SB611, an identical bill proposed last year, the resulting increase in motorcycle rider injuries will cause Maryland Medicaid expenditures to increase annually by at least $750,000 beginning in FY2005, growing to $1,022,400 by FY09. The total increase by 2009 in Medicaid expenditures will be almost $4.5 million due to the increase in motorcycle rider injuries.

In Maryland, according to Maryland Shock Trauma (MIEMSS), the uninsured, non-helmeted motorcycle victims are costing the Maryland taxpayer almost $1.35 million annually compared to the helmeted victim's cost of $80,025 in uncompensated care.

NHTSA estimates that helmets reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by one-third and are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries to motorcyclists.

When Texas repealed its all-rider helmet law in 1997, fatalities jumped 31 percent. Arkansas also repealed its all-rider helmet law in 1997 and experienced a 21 percent increase in motorcycle deaths. NHTSA 2000

After motorcycle helmet repeals in Kentucky (1998) and Louisiana (1999), motorcycle fatalities dramatically increased by 50 percent and 100 percent, respectively. NHTSA 2003

In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) latest survey, helmet use was reported to be essentially 100% at sites with helmet use laws governing all motorcycle riders, as compared to 34 to 54% at sites with no helmet use laws or partial use laws. (NHTSA 2001)

From 1984 to 1999, $13.2 billion was saved because of motorcycle helmet use. An additional $11.1 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. (NHTSA, 2000)

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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer. Founded in 1989, Advocates encourages the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that save lives and reduce injuries. For more information contact Rick Alloway, State Program Manager, at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 1-800-659-224


02/10/2005 - 16:07

                      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.


03/09/2005 - 16:09

                       Advocates Congratulates Passage of Teen Driver Safety Bills By the Maryland House of Delegates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONTACT: Jackie Gillan

March 17, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x22

Statement of Jacqueline Gillan, Vice President
Advocates For Highway And Auto Safety
Passage of Teen Driver Safety Bills
HB242, HB244, HB393, HB394, HB395
By the Maryland House of Delegates
March 17, 2005

Today's actions by the Maryland House of Delegates kick into high gear the effort to protect new teen drivers on Maryland's roads. Too many teens are dying in too many preventable crashes, and passage of these five bills is the first step towards changing that.

These measures will make Maryland's roadway environment safer for all drivers, not just teens.

I am hopeful that the Senate will enact these bills and that the Governor will sign them. If we save even one parent from having to bury their child killed in a crash it will have been worth the effort.

Bills passed today by the Maryland House of Delegates:

HB 393 (Mandel, Bronrott, et al) will prohibit non-related teen passengers during the first 5 months of the 18-month provisional driving period.

HB 394 (Bronrott et al) will prohibit cell phone use while driving by teens with learner's permits and provisional licenses.

HB 395 (Bronrott et al) will increase from 40 hours to 60 hours the number of required adult-supervised driving hours during the learner's permit period. Ten of those hours must be driven during nighttime hours.

HB 242 (The Administration) will increase the learner's permit period from 4 months to 5 months.

HB 244 (The Administration) will increase penalties against teens with provisional licenses who are in violation of the midnight to 5:00am curfew and /or the requirement that all vehicle occupants are buckled up.

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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.


03/17/2005 - 16:11
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jackie Gillan
April 14, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x22

STATEMENT OF JACKIE GILLAN, VICE PRESIDENT
ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY (ADVOCATES)
ON
TODAY'S SENATE ACTION BY THE COMMERCE, SCIENCE AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE TO ADOPT A HIGHWAY, AUTO AND TRUCK SAFETY BILL

April 14, 2005

Today's bi-partisan adoption by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee of a strong highway, auto and truck safety bill is a critical step toward bringing down deaths and injuries on our highways and a victory for every American family. Because of the leadership and commitment of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), "safety" has been added to the SAFETEA transportation funding legislation that is moving through the Senate. The legislation that these leaders proposed and guided through mark-up establishes an important, commonsense safety agenda that will save thousands of lives, prevent millions of disabling injuries and save American taxpayers billions of dollars in health care, medical and other social costs. It is a life-saving antidote to the public health crisis we face year in and year out because of highway deaths and injuries.

Unfortunately, when it comes to highway deaths and injuries we are stuck in neutral. Every year nearly 43,000 people are killed and 3 million more injured on our neighborhood streets and roads because of motor vehicle crashes. The human and economic costs are staggering - more than $230 Billion annually resulting in a "crash tax" of about $800 for every person in the United States. Highway crashes continue to be the leading killer of children, teens and adults up to age 33 and the major cause of brain injury, epilepsy and on-the-job deaths and injuries.

Advocates commends Sen. Stevens, Sen. Lott and Sen. Inouye for addressing all aspects of the highway safety problem in a balanced fashion. Provisions in the legislation will help combat drunk driving, encourage seat belt use, and advance state child booster seat laws. Other critical provisions set an agenda for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to move forward on long-overdue rules to prevent vehicle rollover and occupant ejection, strengthen roof crush resistance, require child safe power windows, and improve consumer information on new vehicles. NHTSA also will be required to evaluate technologies to eliminate rear blind spots resulting in tragic backover deaths and injuries to small children and others. In the past ten years more than 125,000 people have died in rollover crashes and the legislation directs NHTSA actions to address this vehicle safety problem.

The Committee leaders also addressed the growing problem of large truck crashes that result in nearly 5,000 deaths annually and more than 120,000 injuries. The legislation passed today requires the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to improve licensing procedures for commercial drivers, increase penalties for unsafe drivers and unfit motor carriers, and move toward completion of many safety regulations that have been languishing at the agency for years. The Commerce Committee also rejected a proposal by FMCSA to put into statute the new hours of service rule that was vacated by a unanimous Court of Appeals ruling last year because it did not protect the health of truck drivers.

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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.


04/14/2005 - 16:13
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
April 21, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x23

Statement of Judith Lee Stone, President
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
on the release of the
2004 Projections for Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatalities and Injuries
April 21, 2005


Today's release of projected 2004 highway fatalities is bad news for the American public. SUV rollover fatalities are up, motorcyclists are dying in record numbers and truck deaths continue to grow. It's time for action and American families are dying for solutions.

Overall, 157 more people are estimated to have died on the nation's highways in 2004, compared to 2003 (42,800 vs. 42,643.)

Despite major efforts to increase seat belt use across the nation, the number of people dying unrestrained in crashes in 2004 remains the same as 2003 (more than half of those killed.)

Deaths in large truck crashes also rose for the second year in a row, to 5,169 (2003 fatalities were 4,986.) There was a large jump (13%) in truck occupant deaths in multiple vehicle crashes. Still, the great majority of truck-related deaths occur among occupants of other-than-truck vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Motorcycle fatalities continue to increase, with an additional 391 motorcyclists projected to have died in 2004 over 2003. Nearly 4000 motorcycling deaths occurred in 2004, a more than 85% increase since 1997. Yet anti-helmet forces continue to push their motorcycle helmet use law repeal agenda in state legislatures, with some success.

111 more people were killed in crashes involving young drivers ages 16-20: 8,566 in 2004 vs. 8,455 in 2003.

The U.S. Department of Transportation disguises real-world facts by hiding behind the fatality rate, which masks the number of fatalities. The government wants us to believe that even though more family members and friends are projected to have been killed in crashes last year, things are really getting better because we spent more time driving. The cold hard reality is that we are stuck in neutral. Annual deaths due to motor vehicle crashes have fluctuated between 42,000 and 43,000 for a decade, and any reductions achieved are slight. People are needlessly dying because commonsense laws languish in state legislatures and the federal government is painfully slow in issuing overdue regulations to make our cars safer. It is time to reverse these trends.

Hope is on the way. Congress is now considering legislation that will address many of these safety problems, particularly rollover deaths in SUVs, by directing federal government action. It is time for the Administration to drop their objections and for Congress to enact this legislation that will ensure safer cars and safer highways for American families.

###

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.


04/21/2005 - 16:14
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
April 21, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x23

Statement of Judith Lee Stone, President
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
on the release of the
2004 Projections for Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatalities and Injuries
April 21, 2005


Today's release of projected 2004 highway fatalities is bad news for the American public. SUV rollover fatalities are up, motorcyclists are dying in record numbers and truck deaths continue to grow. It's time for action and American families are dying for solutions.

Overall, 157 more people are estimated to have died on the nation's highways in 2004, compared to 2003 (42,800 vs. 42,643.)

Despite major efforts to increase seat belt use across the nation, the number of people dying unrestrained in crashes in 2004 remains the same as 2003 (more than half of those killed.)

Deaths in large truck crashes also rose for the second year in a row, to 5,169 (2003 fatalities were 4,986.) There was a large jump (13%) in truck occupant deaths in multiple vehicle crashes. Still, the great majority of truck-related deaths occur among occupants of other-than-truck vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Motorcycle fatalities continue to increase, with an additional 391 motorcyclists projected to have died in 2004 over 2003. Nearly 4000 motorcycling deaths occurred in 2004, a more than 85% increase since 1997. Yet anti-helmet forces continue to push their motorcycle helmet use law repeal agenda in state legislatures, with some success.

111 more people were killed in crashes involving young drivers ages 16-20: 8,566 in 2004 vs. 8,455 in 2003.

The U.S. Department of Transportation disguises real-world facts by hiding behind the fatality rate, which masks the number of fatalities. The government wants us to believe that even though more family members and friends are projected to have been killed in crashes last year, things are really getting better because we spent more time driving. The cold hard reality is that we are stuck in neutral. Annual deaths due to motor vehicle crashes have fluctuated between 42,000 and 43,000 for a decade, and any reductions achieved are slight. People are needlessly dying because commonsense laws languish in state legislatures and the federal government is painfully slow in issuing overdue regulations to make our cars safer. It is time to reverse these trends.

Hope is on the way. Congress is now considering legislation that will address many of these safety problems, particularly rollover deaths in SUVs, by directing federal government action. It is time for the Administration to drop their objections and for Congress to enact this legislation that will ensure safer cars and safer highways for American families.

###

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.


04/21/2005 - 16:16
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Judie Stone
April 28, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x23

STATEMENT OF JUDITH LEE STONE, PRESIDENT
ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY (ADVOCATES)

On Release of
"Vehicle Safety - Opportunities Exist to Enhance NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program" (Government Accountability Office Report)
April 28, 2005


We applaud the Government Accounting Office (GAO) for pushing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find ways to get more safety out of the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP.) Consumers want to be better informed about safety systems and how they perform on new cars, and manufacturers can be compelled to produce safer cars through improved government crash tests and consumer information.

Right now you can get better consumer information on a $4 box of cereal than on a $30,000 car.

Advocates worked with Congress to authorize this report because we know that American consumers want the federal government to provide relevant and thorough safety information about any new car they purchase. In a 2004 Lou Harris poll commissioned by Advocates, 83% said they want information about a new car's likelihood to roll over on a sticker placed on the windshield. Only 31% are aware of a government website that contains consumer information about vehicle rollover.

The GAO report urges NHTSA to include ratings in NCAP for vehicle compatibility - the mismatch between vehicles of different sizes and weights -- in front and side impact tests. The report also recommended improving NCAP's ability to measure and rate the risks associated with a rollover crash which could be accomplished by testing roof strength and occupant protection in rollovers.

These are recommendations that Advocates has for years urged NHTSA to adopt in order to improve NCAP. While we appreciate that NHTSA is considering upgrading the frontal NCAP test, we urge the agency to move quickly in adopting comprehensive improvements to NCAP.

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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.


04/28/2005 - 16:18
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
May 5, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

Cromwell, Connecticut -- Following is a statement from Judie Stone, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, in support of S.795, the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act of 2005 (STANDUP), sponsored by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Senator John Warner (R-VA):

Good morning, my name is Judie Stone. I am president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), which is a coalition of consumer, medical, safety and insurance organizations working together on a broad range of highway and auto safety public policies that lead to fewer deaths and injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes.

I am pleased to be here today in support of the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection, or STANDUP Act of 2005, sponsored by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Senator John Warner (R-VA). The STANDUP Act will help us all make important improvements to the many teen driving programs that exist across the nation, and to create a more uniform national system to save lives of beginning drivers and others involved in crashes with them. Although most states have some provisions of a graduated driver licensing (GDL) system, the nation is really a patchwork quilt of laws, no state has the optimum program, and millions of teens are at risk every year because of weak or incomplete graduated driver licensing laws.

Two weeks ago the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released preliminary data on 2004 motor vehicle fatalities and injuries, and the news was not good. Overall highway deaths increased from 2003. There was over a 1.3% jump in fatalities involving young drivers ages 16 to 20. Imagine, there were 8,566 people killed throughout the nation in motor vehicle crashes involving young drivers. That is about three (3) times the number of children under 20 in Cromwell, or the entire population of Old Lyme, Connecticut, in just one year.

Every major community in the United States has an understanding of the urgent need for action to curtail the growing number of needless tragedies among beginning teen drivers. One life lost to a motor vehicle crash is a tragedy; thousands lost each year, especially in this age range of 16 -20 years old, is a raging public health epidemic.

The Dodd/Warner STANDUP Act takes a firm, caring and proven approach to this problem, by first providing incentive grants to states that meet certain key criteria, then after three years by withholding a small amount of the state's federal highway construction funds until they do meet minimum requirements. This so-called "sanction" provision is really a win-win for all. States benefit from the incentive grants, and are compelled to adopt the law's minimum requirements because they don't want to lose highway money. Laws are passed, the state gains and saves money for more good works, and lives are ultimately saved.

This approach has resulted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia having a 21 legal minimum drinking age, all 50 states and the District of Columbia lowering their legal blood alcohol content laws to .08%, and all states having uniform teen drinking and driving laws. Literally thousands of people are alive today because of these three laws alone.

All states have these essential laws, all states are saving thousands of lives each year, and no state lost a single dollar of federal highway construction money. It makes no sense for teens driving in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts to have a different set of rules for the road.

Advocates has worked in Connecticut over the years to upgrade its teen driving laws and we are pleased to see legislation moving in Hartford this year to limit nighttime driving for beginning teen drivers, and to require more behind-the-wheel practice time. By the time S.795 becomes law, perhaps Connecticut will be first in line to receive incentive grants.

So thank you, Senator Dodd, and Senator John Warner (R-VA), for standing up to this public health epidemic that is destroying the lives of so many young people, their friends and families. Thank you for providing exemplary leadership in the United States Congress on this incredibly important family issue. Advocates will be with you every step of the way until we see this lifesaving legislation enacted into law.

At a time when there are many issues that separate Members of Congress because of their party affiliation or geographic location in the United States, let's work together so that in the 109th Congress we can say that bi-partisan legislation was passed that saves teens, no matter where they live or what political views they hold.

It certainly is an issue whose time has come.

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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.


05/05/2005 - 16:19

On Tuesday, May 17, the Senate passed their version of HR 3, the surface transportation reauthorization bill by a vote of 89 to 11. This bill contains numerous highway and auto safety measures that were adopted with strong support from Republican and Democratic Senators. Although Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) has not reviewed the entire bill and every amendment adopted, here is a quick and short summary of some of the major safety wins and losses:

WINS:

All of the numerous highway and auto safety provisions included in the legislation adopted by the Senate Commerce Committee and added as the safety title to the overall transportation bill survived without any weakening or striking amendments offered.

All of the anticipated amendments increasing truck weights, particularly Sen. Snowe's (R-ME) amendment to increase Maine's truck weights to 100,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight on all interstates and the Maine turnpike were dropped in the face of fierce opposition by committee leaders and other Republican and Democratic Senators.

Several amendments providing special interest exemptions from the truck driver hours of service rule were not offered because of opposition by safety groups and other Senators.

An amendment offered by Sen. Allen (R-VA) and Sen. Ensign (R-NV) to weaken the primary seat belt incentive grant program failed on a vote of 14 to 86.

Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ) was able to negotiate with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee leaders to add his drunk driving bill addressing the issue of high BAC and repeat offenders (the High Risk Driver legislation) as an amendment to the final bill.

The Administration's attempt to add two hours of service amendments to the legislation, one to codify the current hours of service rule overturned by the courts and the other to gut the 20-year old law requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to consider the health of truck drivers when issuing safety rules, was blocked and as a result, neither the Senate nor the House bill include these provisions.

LOSSES:

Sen. Lautenberg's (D-NJ) amendment to restore the federal motorcycle helmet law, repealed in 1995, was defeated on a vote of 28 to 69.

Sen. Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Warner (R-VA) were not permitted to offer their teen driving bill as an amendment to the legislation because it was ruled to be non-germane. However, as a result of their efforts, support and awareness for the measure has grown dramatically. Several Senators are now interested in co-sponsoring the bill and the legislation has garnered the support of the auto industry in addition to consumer, medical, health, safety and insurer groups.

An amendment sponsored by Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. DeWine (R-OH) to freeze the length of trucks on the National Highway System (118,000 miles of federal aid roads) was not offered because it was ruled to be non-germane.


05/17/2005 - 16:23

Letter to Bill Sponsor

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Rick Alloway
June 15, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

 

June 14, 2005

Senator W. Greg Ryberg
Gressette Building
P.O. Box 142
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Fax: 803-212-6406

 

The news that Governor Sanford allowed the primary enforcement seat belt bill to go into effect last week is wonderful indeed.

Congratulations on becoming 22nd in the nation - and the only state this year - to adopt this critical measure, and most of all, for the many lives that will be saved in South Carolina as a result. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), a coalition of insurers, public health and safety groups, has supported your efforts by generating grass roots contacts and conducting media interviews throughout the many years this important proposal has been before the legislature. Like you, we are very pleased to see it enacted into law.

Thank you for persisting in your campaign to see this bill passed. Your leadership made all the difference.

Sincerely,

Judith Lee Stone
President

 

Letter to Governor

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Judie Stone
June 15, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x23

 

Governor Mark Sanford
Office of the Governor
State House, P.O. Box 12267
Columbia, South Carolina 29211
Fax: 803-734-5167

 

Thank you for allowing the primary enforcement seat belt bill to pass last week. This one action will prevent many deaths and costly injuries thoughout South Carolina.

Your state has now become 22nd in the nation - and the only state this year -
to adopt this legislation. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), a coalition of insurers, public health and safety groups, has supported efforts throughout the many years this important proposal has been before the legislature. We are very pleased to see it enacted into law.

Countless South Carolinians will owe their lives to you and the decision you made to elevate the enforcement authority of this lifesaving law.

Sincerely,

Judith Lee Stone
President


06/15/2005 - 16:30
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rick Alloway
June 27, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

Action Needed to Restrict Teen Cell Phone Use in California and Protect Teen Lives

AB 963, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia that would prohibit teen drivers with a provisional driver's license from using their cell phones while driving (unless they are calling 911), was defeated by just one vote last week in the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill will be reconsidered in committee, as early as July 5th (if there is a budget). Given that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, this bill would make driving safer for beginning teen drivers and all who share the road with them. Please call or write the following senators and urge their support for AB 963.

Senator Allen Lowenthal (916) 445-6447 or allen.lowenthal@sen.ca.gov
Senator Bob Margett
(did not vote) (916) 445-2848 or bob.margett@sen.ca.gov
Senator Joe Simitian
(916) 445-6747 or joe.simitian@sen.ca.gov

Talking Points

In 2003, nationally there were 6,002 teenagers between the ages of 16-20 killed and 482,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, 2004)

569 teenagers between the ages of 16-20 were killed in California motor vehicle crashes in 2003. (NHTSA, Fatal Analysis Reporting System, 2004)

Teen drivers are far more likely than older drivers to be involved in fatal crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks. They are also more easily distracted.

Sixteen-year-old drivers have a crash rate three times more than 17-year-olds, 5 times greater than 18-year-olds, almost ten times greater than drivers age 30-59 and two times that of 85-year-olds (NHTSA, 2001 and Williams, A.F., 1996).

Although black and Hispanic male teenagers travel fewer vehicle miles than their white counterparts, they are nearly twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle crash (Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, 1998)

A teen "Youthquake" is underway on California roadways. Teen drivers aged 15-19 will have increased by 33.5 percent (since 1997) by the year 2007 (California Office of Traffic Safety)

Cell phones are a major distraction and a factor in crashes. More young drivers are using cell phones, and 8 percent of drivers age 16 to 24 were using a hand-held phone during daylight hours in 2004, compared to 5 percent in 2002 and 3 percent in 2000 (NHTSA, February 2005)

Mixing teenage driving and cell phone use is a recipe for disaster. Given the limited time that teens have been driving and their relative inexperience behind the wheel, reducing their distractions by eliminating cell phone use in the car is an important step in improving overall safety for the driver and other motorists and passengers (Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 2005).

Colorado, Delaware, D.C., Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Tennessee have adopted teen cell phone restriction laws.

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For further information, contact Rick Alloway, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,
202-408-1711 or ralloway@saferoads.org


06/27/2005 - 16:32
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jeremy Gunderson
July 7, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

Keep "Safety" in the SAFETEA Legislation

Don't Let Congress Leave the Senate Auto Safety Provisions In the Parking Lot
While Other Highway Initiatives are in the Passing Lane

URGENT - Need to Act Now with a Phone Call, Email or Fax in Support of Auto Safety Measures to Reduce Projected 18 Million Injuries and 250,000 Fatalities Over 6 Years

House and Senate negotiations on life-saving auto safety provisions - rollover and occupant ejection prevention, roof crush strength, side impact protection and child safety are stalled and may be stopped. These measures included in the Senate version of H.R. 3, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 (SAFETEA) may be dropped from the overall multi-year, multi-billion dollar surface transportation bill. The leader of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is proposing to remove all of the auto safety provisions enacted with bi-partisan Senate support and introduce them in a separate bill to be passed at a later date.

This Development Will Add More Delay -- Uncertainty -
And May Even Defeat Long Overdue Vehicle Safety Measures

Talking Points in Support of Encouraging House and Senate Negotiations For Auto Safety Within H.R.3, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005:

House and Senate conferees need to include the Senate-passed auto safety provisions in the final version of H.R. 3.

Because of other legislation scheduled for consideration, Congress does not have time to take up and pass a separate auto safety bill in the House and Senate this September. Urge these Members of Congress to get the job done now. Indeed, these auto safety provisions already have been delayed for more than 3 years.

Traffic deaths are up in 2004. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates a total of 42,800 motor vehicle deaths last year -- an increase over 2003. Sport utility vehicle (SUV) rollover fatalities increased by nearly 7%.

These commonsense measures direct NHTSA to conduct rulemakings on long overdue safety standards that would reduce motor vehicle deaths and injuries by reducing rollover crashes, preventing occupant ejection, strengthening roof crush resistance, protecting children in and around vehicles, and requiring vehicle window stickers with government safety ratings.

Rollovers occur in only 3% of all crashes, but result in 1/3 of all occupant fatalities - more than 10,000 rollover deaths every year. Annual SUV rollover fatalities have more than tripled in the past decade - they were 216% higher in 2003 than in 1992.

When Congress acts, NHTSA reacts and lives are saved. Consumer, medical, health and safety groups, auto safety technology suppliers and insurers support this legislation because standard equipment technologies - air bags, head injury protection, rear seat lap and shoulder belts, better consumer information and anti-lock brakes in big trucks -- are the result of federal legislation directing NHTSA to move forward on commonsense safety standards.

For more information about the safety provisions in HR 3, go to: http://www.saferoads.org/federal/2005/SUVPoster.pdf

Act now to communicate your support to these key House and Senate Leaders in the Conference negotiations (see list below.) Ask them to include all of the Senate-passed safety provisions in the final version of H.R.3. Please phone or send a fax or, if you are a constituent, you can send an email through the legislator's website.

Alaska - Senate
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) Ph: (202) 224-3004; Fax: (202) 224-2354 www.stevens.senate.gov/
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Hawaii - Senate
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) Ph: (202) 224-3934; Fax: (202) 224-6747 www.inouye.senate.gov/
Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Mississippi - Senate
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) Ph: (202) 224-6253; Fax: (202) 224-2262 www.lott.senate.gov/
Chairman of the Senate Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Subcommittee

Michigan - House
Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI) Ph: (202) 225-4071; Fax: (202) 226-0371 www.house.gov/dingell
Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Mississippi - House
Rep. Charles Pickering, Jr. (R-MS) Ph: (202) 225-5031; Fax: (202) 225-5797 www.house.gov/pickering
Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Texas - House
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) Ph: (202) 225-2002; Fax: (202) 225-3052 www.joebarton.house.gov/
Chairman of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce

Please send a copy of your letter or email, and address any questions to: jgillan@saferoads.org or jgunderson@saferoads.org

 

###


07/07/2005 - 16:34
Gov. Blagojevich Signs Laws to Protect Teenage Drivers and Their Passengers
Click here for the Governer's statement.

07/15/2005 - 16:45
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jeremy Gunderson
July 15, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

ACTION ALERT
OPPOSE Amendments to HR 3 That Will Weaken Truck Safety and Truck Driver Health

During House and Senate consideration of the truck safety provisions included in the surface transportation reauthorization bill, HR 3, safety groups successfully fought off three dangerous amendments that would roll back safety. As a result, none of the three life-threatening amendments were included in either the House or Senate-passed bills. Nonetheless, leaders of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are working hand in hand with the trucking industry to insert all three provisions in the final conference negotiations on HR 3. This is a sneaky, backroom assault on truck safety. We need your help immediately to contact Senate and House conferees to: Oppose Longer Work Days for Truck Drivers, Increasing the Hours Behind the Wheel of a Truck, Resulting In More Deaths and Injuries in Truck Crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released data for 2004 that projects an alarming rise in large truck crash deaths over 2003. In 2004, the large truck collision toll was 5,169 deaths, a leap of nearly 4 percent - another 183 lives lost - in a single year. At the present rate, the FMCSA will not fulfill their goal, set in 1999 by the Secretary of Transportation, of cutting in half the number of deaths that occur annually in motor carrier-involved fatal crashes. This toll is much too great to tolerate and must be stopped and reversed. Rejecting special interest exemptions in this legislation is the only sensible and safe strategy.

TALKING POINTS
The 3 amendments would:

Mandate DOT’s original, flawed Hours of Service (HOS) rule;

Eliminate federal responsibility for health protection for truck drivers; and

Extend the driver workday to 16 hours. (Wal*Mart amendment)

DOT’s flawed Hours of Service (HOS) rule means more work, less safety, for drivers -- up to 77 hours in 7 days instead of the maximum 60 hours under the old rule. Under FAA rules commercial pilots can only fly a maximum of 30 hours a week.

The flawed HOS rule was recently overturned in Federal Court by a unanimous decision. A 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected in its entirety the government’s HOS rule stating that major aspects of the rule are not based on scientific evidence and that the rule contradicts DOT’s own findings of fact.

Congress has already mandated that the DOT issue a new HOS rule by 9/30/05. This amendment would strip any opportunity for public participation in rewriting a new HOS rule.

For over 20 years the DOT has had the responsibility to protect truck driver health. The occupation of truck driving has the highest fatality risk of any profession and susceptibility to serious diseases directly related to truck driving. The Court of Appeals ruled that DOT broke the law when it ignored the effect of longer driving hours and less time off-duty on the health of truck drivers. Through this amendment, DOT wants Congress to rewrite federal law to eliminate their responsibility for driver health protection.

The Wal*Mart amendment undermines truck safety by extending the driver workday to 16 hours, and allowing breaks to be taken “off the clock.” Driver on-duty time is already too long, and additional time “off the clock” will permit motor carriers, shippers and receivers to require truck drivers to spend even more time on the job than is even allowed by the flawed HOS rule. An America Online (AOL) poll found that 85% of respondents opposed the Wal*Mart amendment.

Act now to communicate your opposition to these key House and Senate Leaders in the Conference negotiations (see list below.) Urge them to oppose all 3 amendments to H.R.3 and put the brakes on back room deals that will diminish truck safety. Please phone or send a fax or, if you are a constituent, you can send an email through the legislator's website.


Alaska - Senate
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) Ph: (202) 224-3004; Fax: (202) 224-2354 www.stevens.senate.gov/
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Hawaii - Senate
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) Ph: (202) 224-3934; Fax: (202) 224-6747 www.inouye.senate.gov/
Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Mississippi - Senate
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) Ph: (202) 224-6253; Fax: (202) 224-2262 www.lott.senate.gov/
Chairman of the Senate Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Subcommittee

Alaska - House
Rep. Don Young (R-AK) Ph: (202) 225-5765; Fax: (202) 225-0425 www.house.gov/donyoung
Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Minnesota - House
Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) Ph: (202) 225-6211; Fax: (202) 225-0699 www.oberstar.house.gov
Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee


Please send a copy of your letter or email, and address any questions to: jgillan@saferoads.org or jgunderson@saferoads.org


07/15/2005 - 16:47

 

 

 

 

                                                                                     CONTACT: Jeremy Gunderson
July 29, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27


ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY (ADVOCATES)
LAUDS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP UPON PASSAGE OF EXTENSIVE HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY ADVANCES

Conference Committee Agrees To Groundbreaking Safety Provisions on Rollover, Roof Strength, Occupant Ejection, Backover Incidents, Seat Belt and Booster Seat Grants; Rejects Anti-Truck Safety Attempts

Washington, D.C., July 29, 2005 -A nearly three-year effort by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, in coalition with other groups, culminated in an agreement among highway bill conferees in Congress to require numerous vehicle and driver safety measures, as well as to protect motorists from amendments that would have severely weakened the truck safety environment.

H.R.3, the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, is a five-year, multi-billion dollar bill that addresses every mode of transportation and highway and auto safety programs. Under the terms of the legislation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) agency with responsibility for regulating the auto industry, must issue rules requiring rollover prevention technology, an upgrade of the roof strength standard, a new ejection prevention standard, an improved door lock standard, and an improved side impact standard. The bill also requires testing of 15-passenger vans for rollover safety, a study about how to improve effectiveness of seat belt use reminders, a study of technology to prevent backover crashes, data collection of non-crash, non-traffic incidents, safer power window switch designs to protect children, vehicle window labels with government safety rating information, and a study of tire aging. In addition, the bill includes two important state incentive grant programs that will encourage adoption of primary enforcement seat belt laws and booster seat use laws.

"Today's announcement of the agreement to include the Senate's auto safety provisions in the final highway bill is an enormous victory for the highway safety advocacy community, and for the entire nation," said Judith Lee Stone, president of Advocates. "This bipartisan effort produced a bipartisan victory for the safety of every American."

Jackie Gillan, vice president and lead lobbyist for Advocates, praised members of Congress for their tenacity on safety's behalf. "Without the strong leadership throughout the year and in the conference of Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), Senator Trent Lott (R-MS), Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Charles "Chip" Pickering
(R-MS); and Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), our efforts to save thousands of lives and prevent millions of injuries due to motor vehicle crashes in the coming years would have been fruitless," she said.

In addition to the H.R. 3 conferees, key leaders such as Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) in the Senate, and Representatives on the House Energy and Commerce Committee - Mary Bono (R-CA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ed Towns (D-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) - played important roles in advancing the safety provisions and ensuring they were included in the final bill.

"These Senators and Representatives are truly heroes in our book," Gillan said.

Alan Maness, associate general counsel for State Farm Insurance Companies, which is a member of Advocates and an active member of the coalition working for passage of the safety provisions in the bill, said "These provisions are an important step in advancing auto safety, and we were pleased to work with other insurers, businesses, consumer, medical, health and other groups to improve safety for all motorists. It's a significant achievement."

Also negotiated in the conference committee were a number of truck safety issues. One of the highlights was a successful effort to block inclusion of anti-safety measures that would have written into law the controversial hours of service rule overturned in 2004 by a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and would have gutted existing federal law that requires the U.S. DOT to protect the health of truck drivers.

Earlier in the week it was reported that the stronger Senate drunk driving provisions targeting high risk drivers were dropped from the bill in conference. Advocates and other highway safety groups had supported this measure.

The bill sets a comprehensive safety agenda for the next five years to address some of the leading causes of death and injury on our highways. Ultimate success depends on how the U.S. DOT implements the safety provisions in the bill.

Final passage of the conference report is pending resolution of a last minute disagreement between the House and Senate over non-safety issues.

###

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.

   

 


07/29/2005 - 16:52
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jeremy Gunderson
August 1, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

Statement of Judith Lee Stone, President
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates)
On the Release of Fatality Figures for 2004 Motor Vehicle Crashes

Today's announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that overall motor vehicle fatalities declined in 2004 should be encouraging news, although deaths due to crashes involving rollover, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), motorcycles, and large trucks continued to climb:

  • Rollover fatalities grew from 10,442 to 10,553;
  • SUV deaths increased from 4,483 to 4,735, at the same time passenger cars, pickup trucks and vans decreased by 834 deaths.
  • Motorcycle deaths surpassed 4,000 (4,008 in 2004 vs: 3,714 in 2003), an 8% increase; and
  • Large truck deaths increased from 5,036 to 5,190.

Alcohol-related deaths were down by 2.4%, and pedestrian deaths dropped by 2.8%.

Final Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data for 2003, published by NHTSA, showed there were 42,643 deaths for the year. Today NHTSA reported that 42,636 people were killed in 2004 on our nation's highways. This high annual death toll has fluctuated between 41,500 and 43,000 for a decade, costing the nation more than $230 billion a year. The annual cost of motor vehicle crashes is nearly the amount of money authorized by Congress for the 6-year highway bill passed last week.

Passage in Congress of a new set of safety advances in H.R.3, the surface transportation reauthorization legislation, could not have come at a better time. Included were numerous directives to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue standards by certain dates for rollover prevention, improved roof strength, side impact protection, and better occupant ejection prevention, which apply to all vehicles and address safety issues across the board, including the escalating problem of SUV rollovers.

The bill also encourages states, through an incentive grant program, to adopt primary enforcement seat belt laws allowing a police officer to stop and ticket for lack of belt use. Passing these tougher laws and subsequently enforcing them is the most effective approach to boost seat belt use rates, which in the U.S. still lag behind European and other industrialized nations. Only 22 states and the District of Columbia have primary enforcement seat belt laws.

Among many other provisions, the bill also includes a new emphasis at NHTSA by requiring a study on vehicle backover avoidance technology and a data collection system for non-traffic incidents, such as backovers in driveways and parking lots, heat exposure when trapped in a car, carbon monoxide poisoning and power window strangulation, especially of children.

It is always encouraging to see the fatality numbers go down somewhat, but the unacceptable toll of more than 42,000 deaths -- year in and year out -- is an economic, social and personal burden on too many Americans. Taking preventive action, such as the safety package in H.R.3, will lead to thousands of lives being saved over time and help alleviate this annual public health epidemic.

###

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.


08/01/2005 - 16:56
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jackie Gillan
August 19, 2005 (202) 408-1711

STATEMENT OF JACQUELINE GILLAN, VICE PRESIDENT
ON HOURS OF SERVICE RULE FOR TRUCK DRIVERS

 

FMCSA Still Asleep at the Wheel in Addressing Truck Driver Fatigue with Revised Hours of Service Rule

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) still doesn’t get it. Today, the agency issued a revised hours-of-service rule that is nearly identical to the rule that went into effect in January 2004 and was unanimously struck down as flawed and illegal by the U.S. Court of Appeals on July 16, 2004. Despite nearly a 4 percent increase in truck-related highway fatalities while the rule was in effect, to 5,190 in 2004, the agency made no significant changes to the critical regulations that contribute to truck driver fatigue and overwork. FMCSA once again passed up a golden opportunity to reduce driver fatigue, safeguard the health of truck drivers, and improve highway safety for everyone, truck drivers and the public alike.

 

The revised rule keeps nearly all of the unsafe aspects of the current rule that went into effect in 2004. It allows truck drivers to drive 11 hours instead of 10 hours each shift, and permits total weekly driving hours of up to 77 (instead of 60) hours and 88 (instead of 70) hours each work week, while keeping the time off-duty allotment for rest and recovery at a woefully inadequate 34-hours. Also, the revised rule fails to address the issue of electronic on-board recorders for keeping track of driver hours-of-service and improving the job of our police to enforce the truck safety rules.

 

The revised rule included a lone improvement to address fatigue in long-haul drivers, requiring solo drivers using sleeper berths to take a longer single rest period of at least 8 hours as part of their 10-hour off-duty time. However, even this change includes a negative aspect because it also allows the remaining 2 hours of off-duty time to be taken as break-time during the day. This type of shorter break time is often abused by drivers and employers and is used as additional work time instead of rest time.

 

Unfortunately, by re-packaging and re-issuing an unsafe rule, the FMCSA has failed once again to protect the health and safety of working truck drivers and American families on our roads and highways.

###

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, medical, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.


08/19/2005 - 16:57
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jeremy Gunderson
August 26, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

Action Needed to Support SB 774 (Seatbelt Enhancements) and Protect Back Seat Passengers

(Please forward this to anyone you know in North Carolina)

SB 774, a bill sponsored by Senator William Purcell, would require all passengers and drivers, including backseat passengers, to buckle up. The bill would also bring commercial truck driver seat belt requirements in compliance with federal law. The Senate version of this bill, which passed with a resounding 45-4 vote, is up for consideration in the House on Monday, August 29. Certain members of the House have expressed interest in gutting the backseat passenger requirements of this bill, which is the most important safety provision of this bill. Given that un-belted backseat passengers not only pose a fatal threat to themselves, but also to the drivers and front seat passengers, this bill would dramatically improve the safety of all automobile occupants. We urge you to do 2 simple tasks in support of this measure:

  • Please call and/or email Representative Ronnie Sutton and urge him to NOT insert an amendment to SB 774 that would gut the backseat safety belt requirement. His contact information is: (919)715-0875 or Rons@ncleg.net
  • Please call and/or email your representative and urge them to support SB 774 IN ITS ENTIRETY, without any amendments. To find your representative, visit: www.ncga.state.nc.us/House/House.html

Talking Points

In 2003, 72 backseat unbelted passengers died in North Carolina.

 

If only half of these lives were saved, $40 million North Carolina tax dollars could be saved annually.

 

If the occupants up front are belted and the backseat passengers are not, a collision at 31mph produces a five times greater risk for the front seat occupants (because of the pressure produced by the backseat passengers).

 

A collision at 31mph, the backseat passenger exerts 3.5 tons of pressure on the front seat.

 

If North Carolina does not comply with federal motor carrier seat belt requirements by 2007, North Carolina State Highway Patrol (Motor Carrier Division) will lose $5 million annually. (SB 774 will satisfy this requirement).

 

In 2003, 56% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were not wearing seat belts.

 

Seat belts are credited with preventing 11,900 fatalities and 325,000 serious injuries annually. (NHTSA, 2003)

If all passengers were to wear their seat belts, an additional 9,200 fatalities and 143,000 serious injuries could be prevented each year. (NHTSA, 2003)

Six out of ten children who died in passenger vehicle crashes were unbelted. (National Safety Council, or NSC, 2002)

Average inpatient costs for traffic crash victims who did not use seat belts were 50% higher than for victims who were belted. (NSC, 2001)

###

For further information, contact Jeremy Gunderson, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,
202-408-1711 or jgunderson@saferoads.org


Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.


08/26/2005 - 17:02
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jeremy Gunderson
September 6, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

OPPOSE AB 417

AB 417, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian, R-Stockton, would allow certain malt beverages, often called "alco-pops" to be classified as beer, and taxed as such. These beverages (i.e., Mike's Hard Lemonade, Bacardi Breezer, Skyy Blue, Zima) are particularly appealing to underage drinkers.

There's only one problem: "Alco-pops" are not beer beverages. They're marketed to youths and teens as distilled spirits and contain distilled spirits.

AB 417, sponsored by Anheuser-Busch Cos., California Grocers Assn., California Retailers Assn., Miller Brewer Co., 7-Eleven and the Wine Institute, would classify "alco-pops" as beer and not as distilled spirits. The potential for illegal sale of these beverages is greater under this designation because they would be more accessible than distilled spirits by underage drinkers via greater distribution and advertising rights.

Researchers have estimated that underage drinking is a $7.5 billion cost incurred by Californians through alcohol-related violence, trauma, and automobile crashes. Don't let the alcohol industry substitute safety of our youths for profits.

 

OPPOSE AB 417

###


Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.


09/06/2005 - 17:00
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jeremy Gunderson
September 27, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

Auto Safety Group To Recognize Key Legislators for Improvements in Highway Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. - After concluding a nearly three-year effort to pass a multi-year, multi-billion dollar surface transportation bill, key members of Congress are being recognized on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 for their leadership in promoting enactment of highway, auto, and truck safety provisions in H.R.3, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), a coalition of consumer, health, safety, and insurance groups, will be hosting an awards breakfast to honor the members of Congress. The breakfast will be held on Capitol Hill and will be attended by other safety, consumer and medical groups who participated in the advocacy efforts.

"As a result of passage of H.R.3, American families can look forward to buying safer vehicles and traveling on safer highways," said Advocates' President Judith Stone. "The legislation will direct government action on long overdue vehicle safety standards, improve truck safety, and encourage state enactment of stronger seat belt, drunk driving, and child restraint laws." In 2004, 42,636 people died on America's roads, and nearly 3 million more were injured, at a cost of more than $230 billion.

The list of award recipients include:


Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO)
Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA)
Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI)
Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI)
Senator James M. Jeffords (I-VT)
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN)
Rep. Charles "Chip" Pickering (R-MS)
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV)
Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Robert R. Simmons (R-CT)
Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME)
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)
Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY)
Senator John W. Warner (R-VA)


###


Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.


09/27/2005 - 17:09
  CONTACT: Jeremy Gunderson
September 30, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x27

Statement of Judith Lee Stone, President
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates)
On the Release of the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS)


Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is pleased with the announcement today by U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta that the national seat belt use rate has increased from 80 percent in 2004 to 82 percent in 2005. The results are from the annual National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

"A great deal of credit should be given to local law enforcement agencies who have embraced 'Click It or Ticket' campaigns in recent years and made seat belt use a major priority," said Judie Stone, Advocates' President.

"At the same time, we underscore the importance of passing primary enforcement seat belt laws in every state, especially if we want to see use rates reach 90 percent and more."

Currently, only 22 states plus the District of Columbia have primary enforcement seat belt laws, where law officers may ticket a non-belt user when they see a violation of the seat belt law. With secondary enforcement laws, officers may issue a citation only after stopping the vehicle for another traffic infraction. Of the nearly 32,000 passenger vehicle occupant fatalities that occur every year on America's highways, over 55 percent were not using seat belts. Use rates are higher in states with primary enforcement laws.

Advocates worked successfully with the Administration and others in the highway safety field for a strong incentive grant program that will reward states adopting primary enforcement laws in the recently-enacted surface transportation reauthorization bill, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

"Because these laws have been slow in coming," Stone said, "Advocates is also in strong support of a national law that would have the effect of requiring states to adopt primary enforcement seat belt laws. It is time we join other industrialized nations throughout the world who enjoy much higher use rates than we have in the U.S. We could be saving so many more lives each year."

 


###


Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.


09/30/2005 - 17:13
November 1, 2005  

Action Needed to Support AB 618 and SB 305 and Protect Child Passengers

**UPDATE** AB 618 and SB 305 Passed Out Of Joint Finance Committee

(Please forward this to anyone you know in Wisconsin)

<
AB 618, a bill sponsored by Representative Jerry Petrowski (R-86th), and an identical bill, SB 305, sponsored by Senator Carol Roessler (R-18th), are both up for consideration this month in the Wisconsin state legislature. Both bills will address child passenger booster seats, and the requirements for their use. Specifically, these bills address long overdue safety standards surrounding child booster seat use and create a tiered structure, according to age and size, of restraint requirements for transporting children under the age of eight in a motor vehicle. These bills, coupled with education and enforcement, will have a tremendous impact on the safety of child passengers.

On Wednesday, October 26, the Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature passed both AB 618 and SB 305 on a 14-2 vote. Both bills travel now to the full floor in both the Assembly and Senate for consideration, sometime within the next week.

  • Please call and email your representatives and urge them to support AB 618 and SB 305
  • Find your legislator's phone number here: www.legis.state.wi.us/

TALKING POINTS

BOOSTER SEAT SAFETY FACTS


According to Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS), which has conducted the first comprehensive study devoted exclusively to pediatric motor vehicle injury, inappropriate restraint of children in adult seat belts results in a 3.5-fold increased risk of significant injury and a more than fourfold increased risk of significant head/brain injury. (PCPS, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, State Farm Insurance Companies, 2003)

Using a booster seat with a seat belt instead of a seat belt alone reduces a child's risk of injury in a crash by 59%. (PCPS, 2003)

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 14 and under. Seventy-five percent of motor vehicle crashes occur within 25 miles of home, and 60 percent of crashes occur on roads with posted speed limits of 40 mph or less. (SafeKids, 2005)

The use of belt-positioning booster seats lowers the risk of injury to children in crashes by 59 percent compared to the use of adult seat belts. The distribution of free seats accompanied by educational training can dramatically increase the use of booster seats among children ages 4 to 6. (SafeKids, 2005)

Restraint use is lower in rural areas and low-income communities. Lack of access to affordable car seats contributes to a lower use rate among low-income families. However, 95 percent of low-income families who own a car seat use it. (SafeKids, 2005)

BOOSTER SEAT LAW FACTS


Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have booster seat laws.

A 2004 Harris poll found that 84% of Americans support all states having booster seat laws protecting children ages 4 to 8. (Lou Harris, for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 2004)

Child restraint laws have been proven to increase use rates. According to NHTSA's 2002 data, restraint use for children from birth to age 1 was 99%, and from ages 1 to 4 was 94%. However, both SafeKids and PCPS estimate that only 19% of 4-7 year-olds are riding properly restrained in booster seats. (SafeKids, 2002, Partners for Child Passenger Safety Interim Report 2002, updated 2003)


For further information, contact Jeremy Gunderson, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,
202-408-1711 or jgunderson@saferoads.org


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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of consumer, health, safety and insurance companies working together to advance highway and auto safety.


11/01/2005 - 09:49

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