Trucking Alliance advances its agenda in open letter read at Senate subcommittee hearing
Thursday, March 16, 2017
by LYNDON FINNEY/The Trucker Staff
WASHINGTON — The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, better known as the Trucking Alliance, has taken the occasion of a Congressional hearing on truck safety to advance the group’s agenda.
In a letter to Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security, and ranking member Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Trucking Alliance Managing Director Lane Kidd asked the letter be entered into the record of the panel’s hearing on “Continuing to Improve Truck Safety on our Nation’s Highways.”
Pointing to what it termed the importance of continuing truck safety reforms, the letter noted that despite the primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities, large trucks are involved in far too many accidents.
“For example, in 2015, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data, there were 414,598 large truck accidents on U.S. roadways, in which 116,000 people were injured and 4,067 people lost their lives. Of these fatalities, 594 were commercial truck drivers. Our industry cannot tolerate such tragic numbers each year,” the letter read.
The alliance letter pointed to several ways it felt commercial truck safety could be improved, among them:
Implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which the alliance said will help ensure that drivers comply with the law and don’t exceed their hours behind the wheel. “Congress must make sure that any effort by industry groups to stop, reverse, or delay the ELD mandate are denied,” the letter said.
Granting a “petition for exemption” to recognize hair tests for pre-employment commercial driver drug test requirements, which the alliance said is a more reliable (albeit twice as expensive) method for identifying lifestyle drug users than the less expensive urine exam.
Requiring speed limiters on commercial trucks. The alliance supports a truck speed limiter rule in which the maximum speed setting is no more than 65 mph.
Reducing the price of the federal pre-employment screening program (PSP). A third-party contractor that implements the program charges $10 per report, a fee that is cost-prohibitive to many motor carriers, and twice the amount the contractors originally promised, according to the alliance.
Increasing the minimum financial requirements for motor carriers, which is now $750,000. The alliance did not include a proposed minimum. The alliance said a motor carrier should be sufficiently insured to compensate the victims of truck accidents, as Congress set forth when it set the minimum insurance requirements more than 35 years ago. These minimum insurance limits have not been increased since, and are inadequate to meet the purposes for which Congress intended, they said.
“More safety reforms should be adopted, not only to ensure the greater safety and security of commercial drivers but the general public,” the letter said. “The commercial trucking industry has a moral and ethical responsibility to fully eliminate fatalities and injuries caused by large truck crashes and to achieve a safety performance record equal to the commercial airline industry.”