For those of you wanting to help make our highways safer, the time is now!
We have learned that the THUD bill in the Senate (THUD stands for Transportation Housing Urban Development) will go to the floor for a vote Tuesday. Between now and Tuesday we need to make a lot of noise. We need to get their attention. We need you to contact your two Senators, (you can find the names and contact information for them here) at their Washington office. There are two amendments that we need to push back for safety’s sake.
The first is the Collins amendment that would roll back the required restart rest periods for drivers. I talked about this in a previous post. This restart rest period happens when a driver gets to 70 hours in 8 days or 60 hours in 7 days. The rest period mandates 34 hours off and has to include two consecutive early morning periods between 1 and 5 a.m. That’s the part that the Collins amendment wants to withdraw and ‘study’ though there were a great number of studies done before the rule was instituted last summer.
Tell your Senator’s office that you don’t want tired truckers on the roads you share. Tell them 4000 people die and 100,000 are injured every year in crashes with commercial trucks. Tell them you’ve heard and seen too many stories about people stopped in traffic who were run over because the truck drivers were too tired to notice what was in front of them. Tell them you have a friend whose father was killed in just that way. Tell them they should leave the rule alone for the safety of all of us, including the truck drivers. Tell them to oppose the Collins amendment.
We also know that an amendment will be introduced that is similar to the Daines amendment that narrowly passed in the House last week. We don’t know yet who will introduce the amendment Monday but it will be trying to block any increase in the minimum insurance coverage required on truck carriers.
Remind your Senators that minimum levels of insurance for trucks is currently at $750,000 and has not been increased in over 30 years. Remind them that families who suffer terrible losses and injuries should not have to carry the financial burden of these crashes. Tragic crashes with multiple injuries and deaths happen every week and the truck company’s liability insurance has to cover everyone that was injured; in multiple injury crashes all the families have to share the insurance carried. $750,000 is not enough to cover the medical bills for even one person’s traumatic injuries. If the truck company can not afford insurance to cover their very real risk and responsibilities, then they can not afford to be in the business. Please ask your Senators to oppose any amendment that blocks any increase in minimum insurance requirement.
I know if you’re not actively involved in politics, and goodness knows I never was before all this, that it can be intimidating to contact a Senator’s office. You see them on TV. They often look imposing. You’re not sure you understand the issue fully. You’re afraid of being confronted. Relax. There are very nice people that answer the phone, and they want to hear what the people in their districts think about issues. Ask to speak to their Transportation Expert. You might get him or her, or you might end up in voice mail. Either way, express your opposition to these amendments to the THUD bill. If you have to leave that message with the initial person who answered the phone that’s OK too, that’s what they’re there for. It’s just important that your opinion is heard. If you are planning on writing your Senator about this issue, please do so today or early Monday so there is time for the office to gather the information. If you’re calling, please do so Monday so that the Senator has time to receive your opinion before the vote on Tuesday. All Senators provide phone numbers for their Washington office and their district office as well as an email contact in their webpages, and you’ll find their webpages at the link at the very beginning of this post.
I find it ironic that I’m desperately asking for help on Father’s Day, a day I’m trying to ignore. But I remind myself that Dad would be the first in line to voice his opposition to these amendments if he could. As would so many others taken too soon by a tired trucker. They don’t have a voice except through us. Every single family that has been through this wants to make a difference. But we can’t do it alone. We need all of you.
This is how I choose to celebrate and honor my Dad on Father’s Day.
I hope you join me.