Senate Commerce Committee advances highway safety initiatives

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The American Trucking Associations on Thursday, Dec. 15, thanked the members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for advancing several key highway safety initiatives as part of their draft of a transportation reauthorization bill.

“Thanks to Chairman Rockefeller, Ranking Member Hutchison and Sens. Lautenberg and Wicker and their staffs, the Commerce Committee put us one step closer to a long-overdue highway bill,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “This legislation, while not perfect, includes a number of ATA-supported initiatives that we’re pleased to see move forward.”

Among the ATA-backed proposals in the bill are a mandate for electronic onboard recorders, establishment of a drug and alcohol clearinghouse, crashworthiness research and possible standards, improved new entrant standards and the creation of an employer notification system for employers.

“As a leading advocate for highway safety and for the trucking industry, ATA has endorsed all of these measures as ways of continuing the progress that’s been made on making our roads safer for trucks, as well as cars,” Graves said.

Graves also said there were some areas of the bill that were of concern to ATA. “As with any piece of legislation this comprehensive, there are pieces we look forward to working with Senate and House leaders on,” Graves said. “Notably, we’re disappointed that the committee’s bill does not address improving truck productivity, nor does it address crash accountability in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA safety monitoring program.

“In addition, we have serious concerns about the proposed new freight program included in the committee’s bill, and we hope those concerns can be addressed as the bill moves forward,” Graves said.