ATA, TCA jointly call for increased truck productivity

Over the past several days, two leading trucking groups have compromised on their previously differing policies on truck weight in an effort to establish that the trucking industry is unified on the need to improve truck productivity.

The American Trucking Associations board of directors on Tuesday, Oct. 18, voted to expand ATA’s policy on truck productivity to endorse as an option an 88,000-pound five-axle combination with enhanced braking capability. ATA’s policy since 2006 has been to support 97,000-pound six-axle combinations, and the association also favors harmonization of regulations governing longer-combination vehicles.

In a directly related action, the Truckload Carriers Association’s board of directors approved a two-tiered truck productivity policy that supports 88,000 pounds on five axles as well as 97,000 pounds on six axles.

“The trucking industry, like any family, sometimes takes awhile to reach a consensus, but we’re happy that we have been able to bring our respective policies on truck productivity in line,” said ATA President Bill Graves. “It is critical that we petition our elected leaders with one voice, and this brings us closer to our industry unity.”

“Considering all of the challenges we face as an industry, it should always be our priority to find common ground on as many issues as possible,” said TCA President Chris Burruss. “I applaud the leadership of TCA and ATA for finding common ground on this difficult issue.”

Studies have shown that more productive trucks are safer, more efficient and “greener” than conventional combinations without causing more wear and tear on roads, said new ATA Chairman Dan England. “Now that we and TCA have come together on this issue, we’re in a better position to continue to make that case to policymakers.”

“Given the advances in brake technology, an 88,000-pound five-axle truck using enhanced brakes will meet federal rules limiting commercial vehicle stopping distance,” said TCA Chairman Gary Salisbury. “By amending our policies and compromising, TCA and ATA have set the trucking industry on the road to success.”

The push for greater truck productivity has received more attention within the industry in recent years as a way to deal with several longstanding challenges including driver availability and congestion. A more recent concern that even more directly relates to truck weight is the fact that trucks themselves are getting heavier due to the addition of anti-emissions equipment.