Barletta Joins Esty to Found Road Safety Caucus
WASHINGTON—Today Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) joined together as founding co-chairs of the Road Safety Caucus, to advance roadway safety in the United States in order to reduce fatalities and serious injuries related to traffic accidents.
“I am pleased to announce the creation of the Road Safety Caucus, and I thank my Democratic colleague Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty for joining me in this bipartisan effort,” said Barletta. “Before I came to Congress I owned my own line-painting business. I always used to say, you never read the names in the paper of the people whose lives you saved, but that doesn’t make roadway safety efforts any less important. I look forward to finding ways Congress can reduce traffic related fatalities and injuries.”
“Upgrades to our roadways can save lives and prevent injuries,” Esty said. “I am proud to join Congressman Barletta to form this Caucus, which will foster an important, bipartisan discussion on how we can improve roadway design, and construction to keep our families safe and our businesses growing. Safe roadways protect more than just lives – they save time, which is good for drivers’ wallets and our businesses’ success. I urge my colleagues in both parties to join us and take action for safer, more efficient roadways – our economy and our future depend on it.”
Barletta has a long track record as a leader on road safety issues while serving in Congress.
In 2012, Barletta teamed up with former Rep. Jerry Costello (IL-12) to draft an amendment that maintained current truck size and weight limits while conducting a three-year study of the potential local and state costs any increases might bring. There would be significant safety and cost implications of such changes, as larger and heavier trucks are involved in a large percentage of fatal traffic accidents and cause greater damage to roads and bridges.
On September 18, 2014, Barletta was named a “Highway Safety Hero” by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a broad alliance dedicated to improving safety conditions on American roadways. In selecting Barletta for the award, the group highlighted his work in limiting the size and weight of trucks while a two-year federal study was conducted.
The 2015 Highway Bill included Barletta’s provisions to improve the safety score calculations for carriers by making the scores more reflective of a company’s safety record. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is the lead U.S. Department of Transportation agency responsible for truck and bus safety, had appeared prematurely poised to amend safety regulations by implementing the Obama Administration’s flawed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule before the Congressionally-mandated reforms were completed. In March of this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it would withdraw the SFD rule, allowing Congress to put forth reforms that more accurately reflect a company’s safety record.
Barletta accepted an award from the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) for his work to defeat an amendment to the Highway Bill that would have dramatically increased the weight limit on trucks. Barletta was instrumental in killing the proposal from Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-8) that would have increased the weight limit by 14 percent, from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds. He received the recognition at a ceremony in Harrisburg hosted by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
On July 18, 2017, Barletta highlighted the need for stronger safety measures along highway work zones in the wake of the death of a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation contractor who was struck and killed by a car as he was setting up a construction zone on Interstate-81 in Franklin County. Barletta discussed the incident involving Michael Friendy, a 41-year-old Hazleton native, during a hearing in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.