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Bush Administration’s Trucking Rule Risks Lives, Creates Trucker ‘Sweatshop,’ Public Citizen to Tell Senators

Dec. 18, 2007

Bush Administration’s Trucking Rule Risks Lives, Creates Trucker ‘Sweatshop,’ Public Citizen to Tell Senators

Families of Crash Victims Will Attend Senate Subcommittee to Oppose Decision Allowing Truckers 11 Hours a Day Driving

WHAT:  Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, will testify before a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee about the organization’s opposition to a Bush administration rule that allows truck drivers to log 11 continuous driving hours and 88 hours in an eight-day period. The consumer group Public Citizen has twice successfully sued the Department of Transportation (DOT), which both times resulted in a federal court striking down the DOT “hours of service” rule. In response to a July ruling against it, DOT released an interim rule last week is almost identical to the one that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated during the summer. The subcommittee will hold a public hearing on the administration’s decision to ignore the courts and endanger more lives. Other safety advocates and family members of truck crash victims will be available outside SR-253 to answer reporters’ questions prior to the hearing. Safety advocates also will announce their next legal steps.

WHEN:  9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19: media availability with Claybrook and other participants.

10 a.m.: Subcommittee hearing begins.

WHERE:   SR-253, Russell Senate Building. Testimony will be before the Senate Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security subcommittee chaired by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, (D-N.J.).

   WHO:   Scheduled to testify before the subcommittee:

  • Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. Claybrook   was administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 1977-1981;
  • Daphne Izer of Lisbon, Maine, who founded Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) after a tractor trailer driver fell asleep at the wheel and killed her teenaged son Jeff and three of his friends.

Also expected to attend the hearing and participate in the media availability:

  • Jane Mathis of St. Augustine, Fla., whose son David and his wife of five days, Mary, were killed while driving home from their honeymoon on Interstate 95 near the Kennedy Space Center by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel;
  • Ron Wood of Washington, D.C., whose mother, sister, three nephews and five others were killed in a crash caused by a tired trucker on U.S. Route 75 in Texas;
  • Beth Bandy of Somerville, N.J., whose father was killed two days before Christmas 2004 in a crash involving a trucker who fell asleep at the wheel on a Georgia highway; and
  • Larry Liberatore of Severn, Md., whose son Nick, 16, was killed in a crash involving a tired truck driver on I-95 near the Maryland-Delaware border.