Six months after a mail carrier died in her truck on a searing day in the San Fernando Valley, Rep. Tony Cárdenas said he plans to introduce a bill in the coming weeks that if successful would ensure that all U.S. Postal Service delivery vehicles have air-conditioning.
Veteran carrier Peggy Frank, 63, was found dead in her non-air-conditioned mail truck in Woodland Hills on July 6, a day that temperatures soared to 117 degrees. Los Angeles County coroner’s officials have said that Frank, a North Hills resident, died of hyperthermia, an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the body to deal with heat coming from the environment.
The bill would ensure that each vehicle has air-conditioning and heating units that are “modern, safe and effective” to protect workers, the congressman said.“For any vehicle that is owned by the federal government not to have this simple technology … is just unconscionable,” Cárdenas, D-Panorama City, told the Southern California News Group on Friday.
Since 2003, all motor vehicles purchased by the Postal Service have been equipped with air conditioning, a U.S. Postal spokeswoman has said.
Overall, 63,000-plus Postal Service vehicles have air conditioning. The fleet had more than 230,000 vehicles as of fall 2017. All postal vehicles apparently have heating.
The Postal Service has yet to determine whether its next-generation vehicles will have air conditioning, according to a Nov. 30 reply from Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan to Cárdenas. The congressman had spearheaded a letter in October urging the Postal Service to “strongly consider” having climate-control units in all of its mail trucks in light of Frank’s death. More than 30 Congress members signed that letter.
A decision on what the next-generation vehicles will be equipped with is expected later this year.