Stop Bigger Trucks
They’re coming: bigger, longer, heavier, deadlier trucks. Unless Congress and state legislatures take action now, these trucks will threaten more American lives and damage more of the streets, bridges, and highways we travel every day.
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ACTION ALERT 12.19.12: Dangerous Truck Weight Exemption
Dangerous Truck Weight Exemption
Slipped Into Sandy Relief Bill
Please make 2 Quick Calls/Emails To Your Senators NOW
December 19, 2012
This week, the Senate began debate and will likely vote on the Superstorm Sandy Relief bill, HR 1. Senator Kohl (WI) just added an amendment to the bill seeking a special interest weight exemption which will allow bigger and heavier trucks on U.S. Highway 41 in Wisconsin. If adopted, it would result in a back door deal allowing overweight trucks in excess of 80,000 pounds and would provide a dangerous precedent for other states to allow overweight trucks on their own highways. This exemption does not belong in the Sandy relief bill, and in addition, the bi-partisan passed "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act", MAP-21, (Pub. L. 112-141) contains a provision for a two year study on the safety, infrastructure and economic impacts of allowing increases in truck size and weight (TSW) limits. The Senate should not allow any special interest exemptions before the Congressionally mandated study is completed.
Please call or email your Senators, and urge them to oppose the Kohl Amendment for Truck Weight Exemptions on Highway 41.
Click on the link to find your Senators' contact information:
WHY THEY SHOULD OPPOSE:
For More Information, contact the Truck Safety Coalition, 703-294-6404
Press Release: Loggers and Truckers Protesting in Minnesota Mislead the Public
Loggers and Truckers Protesting in Minnesota Mislead the Public
Maine and Vermont Overweight Truck Pilot Programs Confirm
Bigger and Heavier Trucks Are More Deadly, Destructive and Costly
To read the press release, click here.
Joan Claybrook's Compelling Letter to the New York Times
Jennifer Tierney's Battle for Truck Safety; Winston-Salem Journal
Jane Mathis Fights for Truck Safety; St. Augustine Record
Tragedy propels local woman to fight increased truck weight allowances
Jane Mathis lost son, daughter-in-law in 2004 crash
Posted: February 5, 2012 - 12:51am
By George Bortle. The Associated Press
David and Mary Mathis were killed on the way back from their honeymoon, on March 25, 2004, after their car was hit from behind by a semi-truck, causing a chain reaction with another truck on I-95 near Titusville.
David Mathis was a jokester with a mischievous smile, an intern with a local law firm and a man married just five days when a truck rolled over his 1993 Acura, killing him and his bride, Mary Kathryn Forbes.
Both 23, they had graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and had just bought a house in Royal St. Augustine, said Jane Mathis of St. Augustine, David’s mother.
It was that March, 2004, crash on Interstate 95, caused when a semi-trailer truck driver who fell asleep behind the wheel, that prompted Mathis to fight for legislative changes.
“Most loved ones can’t (become activists),” Mathis said. “It’s too painful; they just can’t.”
Most recently, she traveled to the U.S. Capitol to lobby against a House bill that would have allowed trucks to get bigger and heavier and, to Mathis and other safety advocates, that much more dangerous.
The committee Friday morning amended the bill in what a representative for U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation committee, called an “intense markup session” that lasted until 3:30 a.m.
Now the 700-page omnibus bill, called the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, no longer would allow states to increase the weight cap.
Mica said the language disappeared mostly due to rail interests, not safety advocates.
“The freight train operators, if you have heavier weights, they don’t get the business to go on rail,” Mica said.
The amendment also calls for a study to examine how the increased caps would impact safety and infrastructure.
But Mathis still worries that the bill could change again, especially since it is very different from the Senate version, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, MAP21 for short.
The House is to vote on the bill during the week of Feb. 13, said Justin Harclerode, a spokesman for Mica.
Activism as an outlet
It took Mathis a couple of years to heal before she began looking for ways to make a difference.
Then, a friend suggested she join PATT, Parents Against Tired Trucking.
Now, she is a board member of the national Parents Against Tired Trucking and a part of the Truck Safety Coalition.
“It’s a club nobody wants to belong to,” she said.
In the past, she has lobbied for an increase in fines for those driving rigs overweight by 10,000 or more pounds and for those falsifying the paper log books that truckers must keep to show they are not driving more hours per day than allowed.
The fines haven’t increased since 1953, “When Eisenhower was in office,” she said.
That went nowhere.
But still, she keeps trying because David Mathis is always on her mind.
“I miss him every hour of every day,” she said.
She misses his 6-foot-1-inch frame bouncing on her bed and saying, “Hi, Mommy!”
And she likes to remember a particular sermon he gave to the youth at church.
“He was talking about how you should do things to show you have joie de vivre,” Mathis said.
“So he crowed like a chicken in the pulpit, and there was a giant burst of laughter,” she said.
The eerie thing for Mathis is that her son, a youth pastor at Memorial Presbyterian Church, came straight from senior prom night to give the sermon in the morning.
It was called “Forever Young,” she said with a shiver.
“I’m lucky to have had 23 years with him,” she said. “Some people never have children at all.”
ABOUT THE TRANSPORTATION BILL
The newly amended version of the U.S. House Bill called the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act would have increased the truck weight cap from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds.
Justin Harclerode, spokesman for Transportation Committee Chair John Mica, R-Fla., said the provisions were considered because they might have provided “economic benefits for commerce, things like that, efficiency.”
And he said there are safety arguments on both sides of the debate, because an Interstate ban on larger trucks in some states would have those trucks driving on local roads instead.
“And some folks would say it’s safer to have that kind of traffic on an interstate,” he said.
Now the bill requires a three-year study to assess what the impact of those changes would be to safety and infrastructure.
The study plus an anticipated lag before Congress votes on a final version reassure local truck safety advocate Jane Mathis.
However, “It’s up in the air,” Mathis said. “There’s a possibility those provisions could come back.”
“What we hope will happen is nothing,” Mathis said. “We just keep fighting away.”
BI-PARTISAN PASSAGE OF A TRUCK SAFETY AMENDMENT TO H.R. 7
The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) expresses its gratitude to Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) for their leadership in introducing and championing an amendment that removed dangerous changes to key truck safety policy and replaced them with a responsible study on the impacts of truck sizes and weights. The passage of this amendment occurred during yesterday’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee mark up of H.R. 7, “The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.”
The TSC also lauds the “aye” votes of Representatives Rahall (D-WV), Altmire (D-PA), Bishop (D-NY), Boswell (D-IA), Brown (D-FL), Bucshon (R-IN), Capuano (D-MA), Carnahan (D-MO), Cohen (D-TN), Cummings (D-MD), Denham (R-CA), Duncan (R-TN), Edwards (D-MD), Farenthold (R-TX), Graves (R-MO), Harris (R-MD), Hirono (D-HI), Holden (D-PA), Hultgren (R-IL), Johnson (R-IL), Johnson (D-TX), Larsen (D-WA), Lipinski (D-IL), Meehan (R-PA), Miller (R-CA), Miller (R-MI), Nadler (D-NY), Napolitano (D-CA), Norton (D-DC), Richardson (D-CA), and Shuler (D-NC).
These Representatives put the safety of all motorists before the pressures of high-powered trucking and shipping industry. Each of these “aye” votes saved countless lives that would have been lost and prevented severe injuries that would have resulted had the original legislative language been passed. The so-called “state option” that would have allowed states to increase truck weight on federal roads from the current 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds would have, in reality, not been an option but rather a bullying technique. Industry lobbyists would have rushed from state legislature to neighboring state legislature threatening economic disadvantages. We thank these responsible Members of Congress for protecting the safety of all families travelling on these roads.
We also want to thank Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood for the tremendous pro-safety leadership he demonstrated in condemning H.R. 7 as “the most anti-safety bill” he has ever seen. The TSC could not agree more with the Secretary and we look forward to working together with all these leaders in the Administration and Congress to rid H.R. 7 of other anti-safety provisions and move forward with S. 1950, the “Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act”. For more information on the safety provisions in S.1950 and other safety initiatives, please visit www.trucksafety.org.
Press Conference on Truck Size & Weight
Dangerous House Bill Will Allow Overweight, Oversized Trucks on Highways. Diverse Coalition of Labor, Law Enforcement, Safety Groups, AAA, Local Government, Victims and Survivors Oppose Bigger Trucks Bill as Deadly Public Safety Threat ...
Public Opinion Does Not Support Bigger Trucks
FOR OVER 15 YEARS PUBLIC OPINION IS CLEAR --
“NO” TRUCK SIZE AND WEIGHT INCREASES
Source: Lake Research Partners Poll, April 2011
Source: Hart Research Associates, April 2011
Source: Lake Research Partners Poll, May 2008
Source: Lou Harris Poll, June 2004
Source: Lou Harris Poll, April 1998
Source: Lou Harris Poll, May 1996
The facts are clear—for over a decade, the public has consistently and convincingly opposed big trucks. Stand with your constituents and stand up for trucking safety by opposing any increase to truck size and weight or “state option” in the surface transportation bill.
ACTION ALERT: 1/25/12: Truck Size and Weight - 2 Calls Needed Right Away
ACTION NEEDED TO STOP TRUCK SIZE AND WEIGHT INCREASES
Please Make 2 Calls Now
January 25, 2012
House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Mica is expected to release the multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill (H.R. 7) imminently. We know that trucking interests are lobbying for increases to federal truck sizes and weights as well as a "state option" of allowing states to control size and weight limits on Interstates. A "state option" is a de facto increase because some states will immediately increase their limits, economically pressuring neighboring states to increase theirs - until the entire country will have 100,000 lb trucks on our roads.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Please call T&I Committee Chairman John Mica and T&I Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall NOW and urge them not to include ANY truck size or weight increases or "state option" in H.R. 7.
Chairman John Mica (R-7th FL) 202-225-4035. If you are a Floridian, you can also send an email http://mica.house.gov/Contact/ContactForm.htm
Congressman Nick Rahall (D-3rd WV) 202-225-3452. If you are a constituent, you can also send an email http://www.rahall.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=91§iontree=
TALKING POINTS: (You can cut and paste these into an email but please personalize your email as well.)
For More Information, contact the Truck Safety Coalition