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White House and US DOT Honor Daphne Izer as a “Champion of Change” for Truck Safety Work

Secretary Anthony Foxx honors Daphne Izer as a “Champion of Change” at the White House on May 13, 2014. 

On May 13, the White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation honored Daphne Izer as a 2014 Transportation Champion of Change. Her recognition has been a long time coming. Twenty years ago, Mrs. Izer started Parents Against Tired Truckers when her son and three other teenagers were killed by an overly-tired trucker who was driving beyond the allowed hours-of-service limits and fell asleep at the wheel.

Surviving grief and anger over the death of her son and his friends, Daphne has channeled her family’s tragedy into action by dedicating herself to protecting others from becoming casualties of fatigued truck drivers and promoting the use of technology to bring greater accountability with federal drive time limits. She has fought to make sure that truck drivers today are getting more of the rest they need for their own health and for the safety of those who share the road with them. 

Her work to create a national standard for the use of Electronic Logging Devices is a tribute to her son, Jeff, and the thousands of others who have been killed in truck crashes. Daphne’s efforts to improve highway safety have created an awareness of truck driver fatigue and enabled FMCSA to gain support for our Electronic Logging Devices proposal. I’m proud to say that in March, FMCSA announced our proposal to require motor carriers to use Electronic Logging Devices to improve the quality of logbook data and compliance with hours of service safety rules. The uniform use of Electronic Logging Devices is an important step for saving lives and preventing serious injuries.

This passion for safety also calls to mind the importance of the hours of service regulations that are in place today.  

Less than one year ago, new Hours-of-Service regulations went to effect to ensure drivers have the adequate rest they need to safely operate an 80,000 lb. commercial vehicle and share the road with other motorists, like Daphne’s son. The current Hours-of-Service rule includes commonsense, data-driven changes to reduce truck driver fatigue and improve safety by reducing the maximum average work week for truckers to 70 hours from 82 hours and requiring a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their shift. Most importantly, analysis shows that these changes will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.

Seems reasonable? Well, it may be surprising to learn that there’s an effort underway in Congress to roll-back these important life-saving changes, which safety advocates like Daphne know are critical to improving highway safety. It is also worth emphasizing that no other mode of transportation allows safety-sensitive employees, like pilots and train conductors, to work such grueling schedules.

As Daphne said at the White House, “We cannot roll-back the Hours-of-Service rule and cause more deaths and injuries when saving lives should be first and foremost.”

She is right – it’s all about saving lives. Her perseverance has honored the memory of her son, made roads safer and saved lives.

We are proud to recognize Daphne Izer as a true Champion of Change.

Anne Ferro, FMCSA Administrator

Updated: Wednesday, May 14, 2014