Keep Truckers & Drivers Safe! Let Them Idle Their Truck During Extreme Temperatures!
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To Whom It May Concern,
Multiple tractor-trailer drivers have reported to us that they face dangerous temperature extremes while in their off-duty/sleeper berth. Reportedly, some companies have an unpublished policy that their driver may not idle the truck unless the outdoor temperature is 20°F to 35°F. This policy is not in the employee or safety manual, but instead enforced and controlled by programming the truck utilizing the ECM. Similar reports/complaints have been received regarding the air-conditioning/cooling system. Additional reports/complaints have been made that there is insufficient secondary heating/cooling and if the APU, or bunk heater, is not working, then there is no work around.
These temperature extremes are dangerous. Hypothermia can begin with exposure to temps in the 60's and affect each driver's health differently. Spending 3 to 6 months out of the year, knowing that they will wake to a cold environment and then they must bring the cab to a comfortable temperature, is intolerable. The drivers are away from home and family while serving the needs of the public, and returning home fatigued and unrested causes additional stress on them and their families.
Further, over-the-road drivers experience stressful conditions daily as they cross paths with approximately 15,000 vehicles. Safe defensive driving and maintaining control of a large truck requires skill and fast response time. This is a requirement for safe driving, and drivers who do not receive adequate rest are unsafe vehicle operators. The position of the DRIVERS is clear. These types of working conditions translate into a Public Safety Hazard. It can also translate to additional liability due to related vehicular accidents which will affect all in the trucking/freight industry.
Companies who participate in the above-stated practices of controlling the heat and air temperatures of freight trucks should consider the risks to include injury or death to the general public (lawsuits) or to the OTR drivers, to include but not limited to loss of vehicles, containers, and the freight being transported.
These policies need to be changed because they are in violation of the Interstate and State safety regulations. We are requesting correction of the policy.
By copy of this letter to our State Representatives and Senators, we are calling upon them to investigate the practice and support us in cause. Additionally, we are copying FTC and OSHA and requesting copies of official published rules regarding driver comfort as it pertains to a safe work-environment. We are also requesting, under the FIA, for the release of any data that has been collected regarding accidents that may have occurred because of these issues.
The Members of Sovereign Roads
1900 Polaris Pkwy, Suite 450
Columbus, OH 43240
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