Flight 3407 Families Pressure Obama for Action

September 13, 2011 Updated Sep 13, 2011 at 8:33 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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September 13, 2011 Updated Sep 13, 2011 at 8:33 PM EDT

(Washington, DC) In February 2009, Continental Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence Center, NY killing everyone onboard.

One person on the ground was also killed.

Investigators found that pilot fatigue and inadequate training in icy flight conditions contributed to the crash.

For over two years, families of the victims lobbied the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Congress to make safety changes and require stricter guidelines for pilot duty time.

Last year, the group thought they had won a major battle when President Obama signed into law "The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010."

The law required that the FAA issue new science-based fatigue regulations by August 1, 2011.

But six weeks after the deadline, the duty time regulations for pilots have yet to be rewritten.

Tuesday morning, seven family members who lost loved-ones in the crash, traveled to Washington DC to meet with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

They also sent a letter to President Obama asking him to use his "influence" to pressure the FAA, Department of Transportation, and Office of Management and Budget to enforce the new rules.

WNY DELEGATION STANDS TOGETHER IN STRONG PUSH FOR PILOT FATIGUE RULES

With Rule 43 Days Overdue, Representatives Hochul, Higgins, Slaughter, & Reed Lead Charge for Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. –( release) Unrelenting in their push for safer skies for the flying public, Western New York Representatives Kathy Hochul (NY-26), Brian Higgins (NY-27), Louise Slaughter (NY-28), and Tom Reed (NY-29) are continuing to urge expedient action on the final implementation of flight safety rules.

“Every day we go out without implementing safety recommendations that protect our passengers and the general public is a day that endangers each and every one of our families and communities,” said Congresswoman Hochul. “It’s been over 30 months since Continental Flight 3407 crashed in the heart of my district – that is over 30 months that the families of the victims have been fighting to implement this common sense legislation that protects each one of us while we fly. Every moment we continue to hold off on implementing this landmark legislation only increases the probability of another tragedy resulting from pilot fatigue.”

“The delay is unacceptable,” said Higgins. “It is time to cut through the bureaucracy, push aside politics and do what’s right for the American people. Nine hundred and forty-three days have passed since the heartbreaking crash of Flight 3407 and we can’t afford to wait any longer to make the changes we learned necessary following that day. We need a resolution on flight safety rules and we need them now.”

“These reforms are too important for any further delay,” said Slaughter. “Here in Western New York we know the cost of turning a blind eye to flight safety. Reducing pilot fatigue is a priority for the flying public and needs to be a priority for the federal government. These issues must be addressed without any more delay.”

“I am pleased to join my colleagues and applaud the families for their efforts in continuing the push to implement the pilot fatigue rules,” commented Reed. “This needs to get done.”

The Western New York delegation, along with Representatives Jean Schmidt (OH-2) and Steve Stivers (OH-15), are asking their colleagues to join them on a letter calling on President Obama to expeditiously implement rules to combat pilot fatigue. The rules are required by aviation safety reform legislation passed by Congress last year, and are more than a month overdue the congressionally mandated deadline.

More than 2 years and 7 months have passed since the tragic crash of Flight 3407 in Western New York on February 12, 2009. The Western New York Delegation stands behind Flight 3407 families, who traveled to Washington, DC this week to continue their dedicated advocacy on the issue.