FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 14, 2021
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), On Proposed Truck Driver Sleeper Berth Pilot Program
Already weakened hours of service rules would be further undermined by proposed revisions
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) opposes a new pilot program announced today that would further erode minimum protections to curb the well-known public safety threat of truck driver fatigue. This proposal by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), announced just days before the start of a new administration, would threaten public safety at a time when truck crashes claim far too many lives and cause lifelong debilitating injuries.
The proposed pilot program would eviscerate safeguards that enable drivers using a sleeper berth to have the opportunity to get consolidated rest. In 2019, over 5,000 people were killed in crashes involving a large truck. Since 2009, the number of fatalities in large truck crashes has increased by 48 percent. Additionally, 159,000 people were injured in crashes involving a large truck in 2019 and injuries of large truck occupants increased by 18 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, truck driving is already one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. And the cost to society from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) was estimated to be $143 billion in 2018, the latest year for which data is available.
With the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) consistently listing reducing fatigue-related crashes on its “Most Wanted List” of Transportation Safety Improvements, Advocates calls upon the incoming Biden-Harris Administration to abandon this reckless approach. This continuous effort to cripple minimal safety measures is antithetical to FMCSA’s mission of implementing countermeasures that will reduce truck crashes and fatalities.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.