Areas that have shale oil & gas activities have seen huge spikes in traffic accidents and fatalities. Residents tell stories about big trucks weaving all over the road and drivers loosing control. The drivers are probably exhausted because of an existing loophole that allows drivers for the oil and gas industry to work longer hours than drivers in other industries.
The New York Times published a very alarming story this week. Loopholes in highway safety rules allow truck drivers in the oil and gas industry to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries. According to the article, some drivers are pressured to drive more than 20 hours in one shift. And keep in mind that some of these trucks are transporting toxic waste or dangerous chemicals.
Sen. Inhofe is a favorite industry stooge and they have rewarded him well. Since 1999 they have given him $1,388,600.
Inhofe’s amendment #1770 to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, S. 1243 broaden the existing loophole and make our roads even more treacherous.
From an email:
An amendment filed by Senator Inhofe (R-OK), will greatly broaden a current exemption to hours of service (HOS) regulations for the oil and gas industry. The amendment allows any driver – no special training needed – to drive to and from oil and gas well sites without including waiting time in a truck as “on-duty” time.
TAKE ACTION NOW: Please call your Senators ASAP and Urge them to
OPPOSE THE INHOFE AMENDMENT – #1770
To Contact your Senator:
Click on the following link:
or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected directly to your Senator’s office.
- Every year on average 4,000 people are killed in truck crashes in the U.S. and another 80,000 are injured.
- Truck Crash Deaths are Increasing. In 2010, large truck crash fatalities increased by 9 percent and then increased again in 2011 despite an overall decline in motor vehicle deaths.
- The annual cost to society from crashes involving large trucks is estimated to be nearly $83 billion.
- Truck driver fatigue has been recognized as a major safety concern and a contributing factor to fatal truck crashes for over 70 years.
- Studies sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveal that 65% of truck drivers report that they often or
- sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half of truck drivers admit that they had actually fallen asleep while driving in the
- previous year.
- Truck driving is consistently listed in the top 10 most dangerous jobs.
- Life expectancy for truck drivers is just 61 years, 16 years less than the average due to the nature of the job.
- The demands of the job force truck drivers to spend up to 70 hours a week behind the wheel, and then work additional hours, for less pay than similar industries.
- Section 31315 of Title 49 of the U.S. Code already provides a process for those seeking exemptions from federal safety regulations. This process ensures that exemptions are given based on need and merit, and that exemptions are given only to those who can demonstrate an equal level of safety will be maintained. Any and all exemptions from federal safety regulations should be reviewed and issued through this process.
- Last year, a New York Times investigative report on a special interest exemption from the federal HOS rule showed the devastating and deadly results of special interest exemptions for industry.