July 31st, 2013 marked the first sign of hope for truck drivers in America in a long time, the hope was that they had finally found a champion in the likes of Rep Richard Hanna (R-NY) to help fight for their best interest within the walls of the federal government machine in Washington D.C.
Rep. Hanna was going to propose an amendment to pull the funding for the latest Hours of Service (HOS) regulations based on the grounds that the new regulations were put in place based on pure speculation by Anne Ferro and the FMCSA. The new regulations put a further strain on truck drivers and their ability to operate safely on Americas highways and also limit their income substantially. The effect of removing the funding for the regulations would force the FMCSA to revert back to using the regulations that were already in place prior to July 1st, 2013. Surprisingly the amendment never made it to the congressional floor due to the fact that the Teamsters and their posse of consumer health and safety groups and truck crash “victims” fired off an email to members of congress telling them not to support Rep Hanna’s proposal. It just so happens that we have a copy of that email authored by Mr. Fred McLuckie so let’s take a look shall we? I will post the email in its entirety with my responses to its claims represented in italic form.
REP. HANNA (R-NY), REP. RICE (R-SC) AND ANY OTHERS ON H.R. 2610, THUD APPROPRIATIONS BILL THAT WOULD PROHIBIT DOT FUNDING
FOR ENFORCEMENT OF HOURS OF SERVICE (HOS) RULES THAT TOOK EFFECT 7/1/13
•Decades of compelling and convincing research has shown the dangers of fatigued commercial drivers. Operator fatigue and sleep deprivation are serious safety problems in all modes of transportation. Unsafe freight and passenger transportation practices of long duty and driving hours, shift rotation and inadequate sleep have been recognized by research conducted by government agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Highway Administration(FHWA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
o Even with the rule changes, truck drivers can still average 70 hours of driving and work each week and can drive and work 80 hours in any given week.
o The once-a-week limit on the use of the 34-hour restart still allows truckers to average 70 hours of on-duty time every week and does not restrict the use of the shortened restart rest period on a regular basis by most long-haul drivers.
o The FMCSA estimates that the benefits of the rule (reduction in crashes and improved driver health) will outweigh the costs. The cost of the rule represents a small fraction of one percent of trucking industry revenues and is the cost equivalent of less than a 3 cent-a-gallon increase in the price of diesel fuel to the long-haul industry.
· The amendments subvert public safety protections that are supported by scientific research and safety analyses.
•Scientific evidence shows that crash risk increases geometrically after the 8th consecutive hour of driving.
This chart displays the distribution of DOT recordable collisions in 2009 for each of the 11 driving hours. The crash rate peaks during the first three hours. Courtesy of Jeremy Reymer.
Truck Deaths are Increasing and Fatigue is a Major Factor in Crashes – Legislate to Improve the Safety of Truck Drivers and Motorists.
We urge you to OPPOSE any amendments that will cut off funding for critical safety regulations.
I have already spent a large chunk of my day dissecting this email that was sent to congress, I don’t think I even need to validate the last portion of it with a reply. What I will leave everyone with is that this wasn’t an issue of safety, it was an issue of the Teamsters making a play to take over more freight for its members to assure its survival in the future. This was a typical union tactic to bully lawmakers into giving into their interests with the impending threat of pulling campaign dollars and endorsements from their future political campaigns. I would also like to point out that I was once a Teamster myself in my younger days, the difference is that I was proud to be one because we had a brotherhood in my local, something the national governing body has lost touch with and replaced with an addiction to power and money.