July 14, 2022

Cárdenas Introduces Bill to Require Air Conditioning in All USPS Trucks

The legislation honors Valley postal worker Peggy Frank who died from heat exhaustion in a USPS vehicle

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) reintroduced the Peggy Frank Memorial Act, which keeps postal workers safe by requiring any delivery vehicle owned or leased by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to include a climate control unit. In July 2018, Peggy Frank of North Hills was running her usual route in the San Fernando Valley on a 117-degree day when she passed away from heat exhaustion. The Postal Service truck she was driving did not have air conditioning. 

"Peggy Frank was running her route in the middle of a scorching 117-degree day when she died from heat exhaustion,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “Her death could have been prevented if her truck simply had air-conditioning and the resources to keep her safe. We can’t bring her back, but we can do everything we can to protect the men and women who keep us connected by delivering letters, packages, prescriptions and so much more. It's time to bring their vehicles to the 21st century by including climate controls that will protect them from extreme temperatures. We owe it to Peggy, her family and all postal workers to make sure civil servants stay healthy and safe. It’s the bare minimum.”

According to a report, about 70 percent of 230,000 USPS vehicles do not have air conditioning. Since 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited USPS for exposing about 900 employees across the country to the risks of heat-related illness and death. Inspection records describe workers experiencing extreme muscle cramps, vomiting while walking, losing consciousness, feeling shooting pains in their head and chest and getting heatstroke. Over the same years, a number of mail carriers have died from heatstroke, heat exhaustion, hyperthermia or heart failure with heat as an underlying factor. From January 2015 to October 2018, at least 93 USPS employees were hospitalized for confirmed or suspected heat-related illness, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of OSHA data. 

Last year, USPS announced a plan to purchase up to 165,000 vehicles over the next ten years. The Peggy Frank Memorial Act will require USPS to include climate control units within three years.