Hazmat crash prompts Truck Safety Coalition to demand changes by DOT

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Updated Mar 17, 2023
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In a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Tuesday, a group of truck safety advocates called on the federal government to take steps they say “will prevent hazmat crashes, save lives, protect communities, and put public safety ahead of corporate profits.”

The letter from the Truck Safety Coalition, which includes Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Center for Auto Safety, the Consumer Federation of America, Kids and Car Safety, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, called for:

    • Automatic emergency braking be required on all commercial motor vehicles
    • Mandated speed limiters on all commercial motor vehicles
    • As fatigue is a major problem in the trucking industry, the hours-of-service rule needs to be reformed and restored
    • Obstructive sleep apnea rulemaking to be reinstituted
    • New entrant carrier proficiency exam

    The letter also said, “Anti-safety trucking legislation in the 118th Congress will make our nation’s dangerous roadways even deadlier.”

      Specific legislation cited by the groups’ letter included Ceasing Age-Based (CAB) Trucking Restrictions Act (H.R. 267) and the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act (H.R. 471). The letter also said those who signed it also “remain opposed to the teen trucker pilot program mandated by the IIJA and continue to call for stringent oversight.”

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      The letter and the groups’ demands were motivated, at least in part, by the recent derailment of a Norfolk and Southern train In East Palestine, Ohio that included a major spill of hazardous chemicals. They said trucks carrying hazardous materials are also a threat to highway safety.

      “The East Palestine train crash has revealed dangerous and deadly deficiencies in the rail transportation of hazardous materials,” the letter’s authors said. “Perilous deficiencies are also ubiquitous in the truck transportation of hazardous materials. There are no defensible excuses for further delays when public safety is clearly at risk.”

      The letter added, “Government inaction and relentless opposition by special trucking interests put the public at unnecessary and unreasonable risk of a deadly and dangerous crash. It is past time to issue essential and overdue truck safety standards that will prevent hazmat crashes, save lives, protect communities, and put public safety ahead of corporate profits.”