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ATA's Graves addresses Tracy Morgan crash, HOS regulations

Bill Graves, president and CEO of ATA, said in part, "“The issue of highway safety, and in particular the safety of the trucking industry, has been at the forefront of the national conversation for several days due to a high profile incident in New Jersey. First, as always, our thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy and their families."

The Trucker Staff

6/9/2014

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves released a statement regarding the tractor-trailer crash that critically injured comedian/actor Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian while they were riding in a limo bus that the truck hit, while also addressing Hours of Service regulations.
The Sunday accident came on the heels of several stories relating to the Hours of Service regulations. On Friday, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association called for the resignation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro, citing her blog that showed truck crashes and her full support of the Hours of Service regulations that both industry leaders and truckers have said hurt production and actually increase driver fatigue rather than combat it. On Thursday, an amendment by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was approved by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee that would suspend the 34-hour restart portion of the HOS rule for the rest of the year while an additional field study is conducted.
“The issue of highway safety, and in particular the safety of the trucking industry, has been at the forefront of the national conversation for several days due to a high profile incident in New Jersey," Graves said. "First, as always, our thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy and their families. Every crash on our highways is a tragedy and that's why the industry places safety as our highest priority."
Graves then again affirmed ATA's stance on HOS and encouraged drivers to get plenty of rest during their off-duty time.

"Second, I want to address several issues regarding the Hours of Service rules and driver fatigue generally. The HOS rules – whether they are the current regulations, the pre-2013 rules, or the rules with changes we hope to see as a result of Congressional action – only place limits on driving and on-duty time and require that between work periods drivers take a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty. But they do not dictate what drivers do during that off-duty period. No rule can address what a driver does in his or her off-duty time. The industry – including ATA, our member fleets, our state associations and the millions of safe, professional truck drivers on the road today – strongly believe that drivers must take advantage of their off-duty periods for rest and that drivers should not drive if they are fatigued
Good public policy and good regulations stem from good research and good data. This is why we support a suspension of the controversial and unjustified restrictions on use of the Hours of Service restart provision, which alters driver sleep patterns and puts more trucks on the road during more risky daylight hours. It is also why we support mandatory use of electronic logging devices to track drivers’ compliance with the Hours of Service requirements.  In addition, it is why we support more aggressive enforcement of traffic laws to combat distracted and aggressive driving as well as restricting the speeds of large trucks to 65 mph with mandatory electronic speed governors.
Fatigue, while an important safety issue, is a causal factor in less than 10 percent of all truck crashes, and ATA believes we need to do far more to address the other 90 percent of crashes.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article ateditor@thetrucker.com.

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