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Maine Truck Safety Advocate Takes Issue With Collins

Daphne Izer of Lisbon has been crusading for truck safety for more than a decade, spurred by her son's death caused by a trucker who fell asleep while driving a tractor trailer.

Izer says Sen. Susan Collins has slipped a measure into the omnibus budget bill undercutting safety by allowing truckers to be on the road up to 82 hours in a week.

"No public hearing, and that is so wrong," Izer says. "You know, it's backdoor, middle-of-the-night type politics."

Collins, in a statement, says her proposal would be for only a year, while a $4 million study is conducted on health and safety issues concerning driver fatigue. She says her proposal was openly debated in the Appropriations Committee and was approved on a bipartisan 21 to 9 vote.

Collins says public safety is important to her, and her proposal will make roads safer by reducing traffic during peak travel times.

"There is increasing concern that the regulations affecting overnight driving are actually resulting in more trucks being on the road during the most congested hours," Collins said at an Appropriations Committee hearing on the issue last summer.

But Izer remains concerned. "She has put the economic interests of the trucking industry before the families of Maine and the entire American motoring public," she says. "I am very upset."