Statement on Advancement of the INVEST in America Act

    • June 18, 2020
    150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 18, 2020
    CONTACT: Pete Daniels / pdaniels@saferoads.org / 301-442-2249 (C)

    Statement of Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), On Advancement of the INVEST in America Act

     

    The House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure today took an important step toward addressing the unacceptably high toll of motor vehicle crashes, deaths, injuries and associated costs by advancing the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 2).  Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) urges support for this legislation which includes numerous pro-safety provisions.  While we oppose a handful of anti-safety amendments added during markup, proven safeguards to reduce large truck crashes and address other roadway safety risks will be advanced if this legislation is enacted.

    The human and financial cost of failing to adequately address problems that continue to be rampant within the trucking industry is too high to ignore.  Of the 36,560 people who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2018, nearly 5,000 fatalities were in large truck-involved crashes.  Alarmingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced earlier this year that large truck crash fatalities are estimated to have risen for a fifth consecutive year in 2019.  Additionally, nearly 150,000 people were injured in truck crashes in 2017 and that same year the annual economic cost of commercial motor vehicle crashes amounted to $135 billion.  The legislation advanced today includes provisions to reverse this tragic upward trend.

    Of particular note, the bill requires automatic emergency braking (AEB) in new large trucks and school buses with minimum performance standards to ensure the technology operates safely and reliably.  AEB could prevent more than 2,500 large truck crashes each year, based on estimates of current technology.  The bill also moves the needle in the right direction on preventing truck underride crashes, keeping unsafe drivers and carriers off the road, and mitigating the well-known problem of tired truckers.

    The legislation also: improves school bus safety by requiring action on seat belts, electronic stability control and fire prevention systems; responds to known dangers in limousine travel that have been exposed by horrific crashes; directs research on interactions between autonomous vehicles and other roadway users; and, enhances safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

    Advocates commends Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for their leadership on this groundbreaking legislation.  We also laud those members who offered and supported amendments to strengthen the bill including Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA).

    Leading into the markup as well as throughout the process, Advocates made vote recommendations on safety-related amendments.  The “scorecard” below reflects our tracking of votes that took place over the course of the markup and may be modified in the future based on the official publication of the record.

    Safety Scorecard –

    Vote Recommendations for Markup of H.R. 2

    Any Amendment to Increase, Circumvent, or Provide Exemptions to Truck Size and Weight Limits or Axle Tolerances Including:

    Babin 43 — WITHDRAWN

    Brown 215 — PASSED

    Gallagher 114 — WITHDRAWN

    Pence 24 — WITHDRAWN

    Stanton 21 — PASSED

    Bigger and heavier trucks endanger all motorists and disproportionally damage infrastructure.  Exemptions from federal truck weight limits severely blunt their effectiveness.  Exemptions also compromise enforcement.  Any amendment to increase, circumvent, or provide exemptions to truck size and weight limits or axle tolerances including state or industry carve-outs, pilot programs, “Double 33s,” or other efforts should be rejected.

    Opposed by: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), Truck Safety Coalition, Consumer Federation of America, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Any Amendment to Allow for “Teen Truckers” to Operate in Interstate Commerce Including:

    Sec. 5004 in the STARTER Act

    Balderson 20 — FAILED

    Some states allow younger commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers in intrastate commerce.  Younger CMV drivers have higher crash rates.  In fact, CMV drivers under the age of 19 are four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and CMV drivers between the ages of 19 and 20 are six times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.  The public, as well as safety, public health, consumer groups, motor carriers and truck drivers all oppose lowering the CDL age.  The legislation is also problematic as the training proposals are woefully inadequate and the safety technology is only required during the short probationary period.  Moreover, problems within the industry that create untenable working conditions remain unaddressed and action would leapfrog pilot programs underway at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

    Opposed by: Advocates, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Consumer Federation of America, Trauma Foundation. 

    See also joint opposition letter here

    OPPOSE

    Babin 44 — FAILED

    Weakens the inspection requirements for underride guards.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Bost 54 — FAILED

    Bost 55 — FAILED

    Permits FMCSA to implement dangerous changes to hours of service (HOS) rules before important information is gathered.  Strikes essential provision from a necessary study examining the impacts of exemptions from HOS rules for CMVs on safety and drivers.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly cited fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes and included reducing fatigue-related crashes on its Most Wanted List of Safety Changes.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Cohen 89 — FAILED

    Requires a pilot program on side underride guards for trucks that could prevent horrific underride crashes.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has a conducted successful crash test on these types of guards that demonstrate they can prevent a passenger motor vehicle from going under the side of the trailer.  A pilot program would further demonstrate the effectiveness of this lifesaving safety equipment.

    Supported by:  Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, CARS, Trauma Foundation, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways

    SUPPORT

    Cohen 93 — FAILED

    Ensures important improvements to school buses are issued by a date certain and required on new buses in a timely manner.  According to NHTSA, between 2007 and 2016, 1,282 people were killed in school-transportation-related crashes—an average of 128 fatalities per year.  Safety upgrades such as seat belts, automatic emergency braking (AEB) and electronic stability control (ESC) will better protect children as they travel to and from school.  The NTSB has recommended school buses be equipped with these and other technologies to help prevent or mitigate crashes.

    Supported by: Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    SUPPORT

    Garamendi 122 — WITHDRAWN

    Expands the definition of agricultural commodities which will result in a broadening of exemptions from critical rules for truck drivers hauling certain goods.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Truck Safety Coalition, Consumer Federation of America, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Garamendi 140 — FAILED

    Transfers funds from priority safety programs intended to combat distraction and alcohol impaired driving as well as improve novice driver safety into less directed programs.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Consumer Federation of America, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Gibbs 27 — FAILED

    Strikes an important provision in the bill that would help ensure unsafe drivers and carriers are kept off the road.  The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program is designed to identify high risk motor carriers for intervention and improved compliance.  Unfortunately, some of the CSA data has been removed from public view since 2015.  It is critical that public accessibility of all CSA data be restored.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Graves (MO) ANS — FAILED

    Includes a number of anti-safety provisions including weakening oversight of unsafe carriers, allowing teens to operate trucks in interstate commerce and eviscerating hours of service rules for agricultural operations.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    LaMalfa 63 — FAILED

    Deauthorizes all programs in the bill following certain determination by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Advocates opposes any amendment that could threaten essential programs that protect or advance public safety on our highways.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Consumer Federation of America, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Lowenthal 43 — PASSED

    Directs the assessment of risks posed by untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in CMV drivers, an identified safety problem within the trucking industry, followed by a rulemaking on screening criteria by a date certain.

    Supported by: Advocates, Consumer Federation of America, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    SUPPORT

    Lynch 80 — Included in Manager’s Amendment

    Directs a road safety assessment focused on pedestrian and bicyclist safety.  In 2018 alone, both the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed in crashes reached their highest levels since 1990.

    Supported by: Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    SUPPORT

    Mitchell 62 — FAILED

    Eliminates a grant program for states which would assist them in carrying out safety enforcement countermeasures to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Pence 25 — FAILED

    The electronic logging device (ELD) rule is suspended for haulers of agricultural commodities, livestock and insects in transport while a working group is convened to examine related issues. There is absolutely no need to suspend the ELD rule for these carriers.  ELDs provide an objective record of driver’s on-duty time to increase compliance with hours of service (HOS) rules and improve the ability of law enforcement to ensure compliance.  Longer trips without rest periods result in greater risk of crashes and also endanger animals and humans by facilitating the spread of diseases and pathogens like influenza and salmonella.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Humane Society of the United States, Center for Auto Safety, Truck Safety Coalition, Consumer Federation of America, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Perry 115 — FAILED

    Strikes an essential provision in the bill that would equip new CMVs with important safety technology. Automatic emergency braking (AEB) can prevent and mitigate crashes by alerting the driver to an object in front of the CMV and can apply the brakes to stop the CMV if the driver fails to respond.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that fleetwide adoption of advanced AEB systems could save over 150 lives per year and prevent over 8,000 injuries.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Center for Auto Safety, Truck Safety Coalition, Consumer Federation of America, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

    Smucker 23 — FAILED

    Drastically expands the hours of service (HOS) exemption given to haulers of agricultural commodities and farm supplies.  All truck drivers, regardless of what they are hauling, are susceptible to fatigue.  While efforts to expand hours are being framed under the guise of “greater flexibility,” proposals such as this will only make already-grueling truck driving schedules more so and exacerbate the well-known and well-documented problem of tired truckers.

    Opposed by: Advocates, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Consumer Federation of America, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, CARS, Trauma Foundation

    OPPOSE

     

    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.

     

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