Truck crash victims press Trump nominee to support truck safety rules

Truck crash victims press Trump nominee to support truck safety rules
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Truck crash victims are calling on President Trump’s nominee to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to support a number of potentially life-saving trucking rules.

Truck crash survivors and victims’ families descended on Capitol Hill on Tuesday ahead of the Senate Commerce Committee’s confirmation hearing for Raymond Martinez, who Trump tapped to serve as FMCSA administrator.

The Truck Safety Coalition, which organized the fly-in, wants to call attention to the rise in truck crash fatalities in recent years. The group is demanding that FMCSA act on nearly half a dozen safety rulemakings that the agency has either delayed or withdrawn.

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One of the proposals would have required all truck, bus and train operators to be screened for sleep apnea. The condition can cause daytime drowsiness and has been linked to a number of deadly crashes, including a fatal tractor-trailer crash in Tennessee in 2000.

But the Trump administration decided to scrap Obama-era plans to require sleep apnea testing, saying it “did not receive sufficient data to support future rulemaking at this time.”

The safety coalition is also pressing FMCSA to release a final rule requiring speed limiters on all trucks, a move that the agency has long delayed; enforce a regulation requiring trucks to have electronic logging devices, which is set to take effect in December; and raise the minimum level of insurance required for trucks, a proposal that was withdrawn this summer.

Truck crash survivors and victims’ family members are expected to attend Martinez’s confirmation hearing, as well as meet with a number of lawmakers’ offices and share their stories, the coalition said.

That includes Ed Slattery, whose wife was killed and whose sons were critically injured after a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel in 2010, and Dawn King, whose father died after a trucker fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into his car in 2004.

"If confirmed, I want to know what the administrator plans to do to address truck driver fatigue," King said.