ATA showcases highway safety agenda

The American Trucking Associations held a Capitol Hill news conference on Tuesday, June 9, to draw attention to its 18-point highway safety agenda. The association’s board of directors approved the agenda in October at its annual meeting in New Orleans.

“While the trucking industry is now the safest it has been since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping crash statistics in 1975, we must continue to further the trend,” ATA President Bill Graves said at Tuesday’s event. “Our 18 progressive safety policies will advance highway safety for all highway users by improving driver performance, creating safer vehicles and improving motor carrier performance.”

The 18 initiatives on ATA’s safety agenda are policies regarding:

  • The use of nonintegrated technologies while the vehicle is in motion
  • Uniform commercial driver’s license (CDL) testing standards
  • A CDL graduated licensing study
  • Additional parking facilities for trucks
  • A national maximum 65 mph speed limit for all vehicles
  • 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 standards in all states for noncommercial teen drivers
  • More stringent laws to reduce drinking and driving
  • Targeted electronic speed governing of certain noncommercial vehicles
  • Electronic speed governing of all large trucks manufactured 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
  • Required safety training by new entrant motor carriers
  • ATA’s safety policy garnered support from several groups that have pushed for stronger safety measures.

    “We admire the fact that many members of the ATA are among the most safety-conscious corporate citizens in America,” said Tom Hodgson, executive director of Road Safe America, an organization that has focused especially on the speed issue. “Road Safe America is proud to throw its support behind these common-sense cost-effective straightforward safety rules as proposed by the ATA.”

    “We support many of the key recommendations in the ATA safety agenda, including graduated licensing for young drivers, primary safety belt enforcement laws, speed enforcement, red light-running cameras, tough anti-drunk driving laws, safer vehicle designs and effective driver licensing and supervision,” said David Snyder, vice president and associate general counsel of the American Insurance Association. “If enacted, ATA’s measures will reduce fatalities, injuries and economic costs for everyone sharing our highways.”

    On the other hand, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said ATA’s agenda is neither progressive nor safe, charging that it will cause more accidents than it prevents. OOIDA focused especially on the proposal for speed limiters on all Class 7 and 8 commercial trucks built after 1992. The safest situation is when all traffic flows at a uniform speed, the group says.

    “Truck drivers need access to that power to keep up with the speed of traffic and to be able to maneuver around dangerous situations,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president. “We already have speed limits in this country, so we should instead enforce those laws more effectively.”

    For ATA’s entire safety report with detailed explanations of the 18 initiatives, click here.