ATA adopts comprehensive safety agenda

The American Trucking Associations’ board of directors on Tuesday, Oct. 7, adopted 18 recommendations aimed at reducing highway-related fatalities and injuries through improved safety performance of drivers, vehicles and motor carriers. The recommendations were among 23 items identified for consideration by ATA’s Safety Task Force, which the group established earlier this year.

“Today the trucking industry raised its campaign for safety to a new level,” said ATA President Bill Graves.

On several occasions during ATA’s Management Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, Graves referred to the pending package of safety policy recommendations as one of three critical steps – a “three-legged stool” as he calls it – the trucking industry needed to take in order to show that it is deserving of greater consideration in upcoming federal legislation – especially the reauthorization of the highway program. The other two elements are establishing the essentiality of trucking – through programs like “Good Stuff Trucks Bring It,” for example – and environmental responsibility through the sustainability initiative ATA launched recently.

A majority of the 18 recommendations address the performance of drivers – both commercial and noncommercial – and include support for:

  • A policy on the use of nonintegrated technologies while the vehicle is in motion – i.e., technologies that could distract drivers;
  • Uniform commercial driver’s license (CDL) testing standards;
  • A study of CDL graduated licensing;
  • Additional parking facilities for trucks;
  • A national maximum 65 mph speed limit;
  • Strategies to increase the use of seatbelts;
  • A national car-truck driver behavior improvement program;
  • Increased use of red-light cameras and automated speed enforcement;
  • Graduated licensing in all states for noncommercial teen drivers; and
  • More stringent laws to reduce drinking and driving.
  • The remaining policies address vehicles and motor carriers and include support for:

  • Targeted electronic speed governing of certain noncommercial vehicles;
  • Electronic speed governing of all large trucks built since 1992;
  • New large truck crashworthiness standards;
  • A national employer notification system;
  • A national clearinghouse for positive drug and alcohol test results of CDL holders;
  • A national registry of certified medical examiners;
  • Access to the national Driver Information Resource; and
  • Required safety training by new entrant motor carriers.
  • Several of the policies in the package reiterate polices ATA previously has adopted, including a national 65 mph speed limit, greater seatbelt use by commercial drivers and a national clearinghouse for drug and alcohol tests. Most other recommendations either are new or expand on prior ATA policies. In the latter category is support for speed governing of all large trucks built since 1992; ATA previously supported mandatory governing of new trucks – a policy that would have phased in governing over a number of years.

    Several of the Safety Task Force’s original recommendations were not adopted by the board and instead were sent back to the task force for further research and consideration as to the safety impact or financial consequences. According to sources, those recommendations include policies regarding electronic onboard recorders, various awareness and control technologies to assist drivers, and an adjustment for inflation of the minimum financial responsibility standards adopted in 1981.