Media Center

Dec 11

Rolling Back Trucker Sleep Rules Strips Road Users of Safe Passage & is a Death Sentence for Truckers and Others

Transit Union Condemns Congressional Action Putting All At-Risk

Media Contact: David Roscow (202) 537-1645 x254

 

Washington, DC – Rolling back the rest period for truckers is an immoral effort to strip users of our roads of their right to safe passage and a death sentence for truck drivers, bus drivers and others says the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).

The amendment in the Omnibus Spending Bill repealing the rest regulation of the 2011 U.S. DOT rule would create a very dangerous gap in federal law similar to the overtime pay exemption in the tour bus industry which has lead to driver fatigue and its deadly consequences, warns the ATU.

“This is a very dangerous move by Congress that will result in more deaths and gruesome injuries on our nation’s highways” says ATU International President Larry Hanley, “The safety and security of Americans should come first for our nation’s lawmakers. This is immoral and if it passes Congress will have blood on their hands.”

Equally as dangerous is that U.S. intercity bus drivers are exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unscrupulous bus operators can pay drivers low wages without overtime forcing many to have to work other jobs and push their bodies beyond the limits of human endurance on the job.

“It was no shock to us that the truck driver in the Tracy Morgan crash had gone 24 hours without sleep, a practice many truck driver and low paid bus drivers are forced to do because they need second jobs to be able provide for their families.” says Hanley, “Taking these federal limits away is a death sentence for truckers who will be forced to work with even less rest. Our politicians should be held responsible for every truck accident and tour bus crash because of their failure to address driver fatigue.”

The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that 36 percent of U.S. motorcoach crash fatalities over the past decade have been due to driver fatigue. It is the number one cause of fatal accidents, far above road conditions (2 percent) or inattention (6 percent). Over the last decade, three times as many people have been killed in intercity bus accidents than in commercial airline crashes.

ATU has called for passage of the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act. Sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, this bill would ensure that drivers are paid fairly for the overtime work that they put in above 40 hours per week.

“Drivers and passengers on our highways have a right to expect our nation’s roads are safe to travel,” says Hanley. “It’s a crime that our lawmakers are so indifferent to the safety of travelers on our highways.”

 

About ATU

The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 190,000 members in 253 local unions spread across 47 states and nine provinces, including 3,000 workers at Greyhound Lines, Inc. Composed of bus drivers, light rail operators, maintenance and clerical personnel and other transit and municipal employees, the ATU works to promote transit issues and fights for the interests of its hard-working members.