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Trucking Alliance, Truckload Carriers Association back speed limiter bill

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The “Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019” would direct the Secretary of Transportation to create a federal safety standard that requires all large commercial trucks to not exceed 65 miles. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON and ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (Trucking Alliance) and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) both said Wednesday they were in support of legislation to limit the maximum speed of tractor-trailers on the nation’s highways.

The Trucking Alliance is an industry-based safety coalition headquartered in Washington.

TCA is an association representing the interests of the truckload segment of trucking.

The “Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019” (S.2033) would direct the Secretary of Transportation to create a federal safety standard that requires all large commercial trucks to not exceed 65 miles per hour on the nation’s highways.

“The mission of the Trucking Alliance is to reduce and eventually eliminate all large truck fatalities and truck speed limiters are integral to achieving that objective,” said Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA in Little Rock, Arkansas, co-founder and president of the Trucking Alliance and also a former chairman of the American Trucking Associations. “Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Chris Coons, D-Del., should be applauded for making highway safety a bipartisan issue.”

“The long-standing policy of TCA is that all electronically governed Class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 should be governed at a maximum speed not to exceed 65 miles per hour,” David Heller, TCA’s vice president of government affairs, said when the bill was introduced.

When the bill was introduced June 27, a spokesman for the American Trucking Associations said the ATA is in the process of reviewing the details of the bill.

“Our policies support speed limiters, but only do so in the context of more uniform national speed limits for all vehicles,” said Jeremy Kirkpatrick, ATA’s director of strategic communications. “As the national trend on speed limits moves in the opposite direction with increasing variance, federal speed limiter efforts must at a minimum account for speed differentials and any potential safety risks that they can create.”

Regardless of the outcome of S.2033, the ATA takes a strong speed limiter position in a bill known as the DRIVE Safe Act, legislation designed to facilitate the ability of 18- 20-year old CDL holders to carry interstate commerce.

The bill is backed by the ATA as a member of the DRIVE Safe Act Coalition, co-led by ATA and the International Foodservice Distributors of America, and includes the National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders of America and more than 40 other national trade associations and companies.

The DRIVE Safe Act sets forth a 120-hour probationary period and a requirement that the driver complete 280 hours of on-duty time, of which not less than 160 hours are driving time in a commercial motor vehicle.

During that entire period the tractor driven by the prospective interstate driver would have to be governed at speeds of 65 miles per hour at the pedal and 65 miles per hour under adaptive cruise control.

As for S.2033, in a prepared statement, TCA said that its association represents roughly 78 percent of the freight market by revenue share.

“It is fair to say that any rule regarding speed limiters will have the greatest effect on our segment of the trucking industry,” the statement said. “TCA’s members spoke with a unified voice when developing our policy in support of speed limiters, and today we are using this focus to lend support to a bill that we feel could make significant safety strides for all motorists on the nation’s roadways. TCA, and our truckload carrier members, recognize that traveling too fast for conditions is one of the most prominent reasons for accidents on our roads today.”

Heller said TCA’s carrier members represent the best that the trucking industry has to offer and have demonstrated time and again that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to trucking technology and its usefulness within their fleets.

“Speed limiting devices are just one example of this,” he said. “The majority of TCA’s members have already adopted speed limiters, in addition to many other safety technologies that we believe will save countless lives, and they are using their electronic logging devices to identify drivers in need of remediation.”

Williams said both his late father and grandfather drove trucks for a living.

“I’ve spent my entire career in the trucking industry,” he said. “There’s simply no legitimate reason for an 80-foot tractor trailer to be driven within a few feet of other motorists, at speeds of 70 or 75 or 80 miles per hour. The safety benefits of Senate Bill 2033 are obvious.”

S,2033 is named for Cullum Owings, who was killed by a speeding tractor-trailer during a trip back to college in Virginia after Thanksgiving in 2002.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Ken Henriksen

    July 11, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    All this is.. is deregulation all over again!! If we slow em down, we take more freight because they don’t have enough drivers!!! What’s even more amazing is that , from what I’ve seen it’s ALL the “mega-carriers” in this coalition!!! You know the ones putting guys in trucks that can barely spell their names!!! Thank god im a household driver because none of the individuals that drive for these companies have the intestinal fortitude to be a bedbugger!!! (JOB SECURITY) Stop blaming the industry problems on the guys who have trucks with no parameters and take a long look in the mirror at yourselves and the guys you put in control after what? 6 WEEKS? Pathetic!!!

    Ken H.
    Lifelong Bedbugger and damn proud of it
    #STOPLIMPINGUSWITHTHEM

  2. Billy Hall

    July 12, 2019 at 5:27 am

    At 65 mph I’ll slow down every interstate I’ll travel all this will cause is road rage

  3. Tom Reed

    July 12, 2019 at 5:38 am

    Steve Williams does NOT speak for the general public. I don’t care if his dad, grandfather, great grandfather or his entire lineage drove tractor trailers for a living, he’s WRONG about governing all trucks to 65 mph being a safe thing to do !!! Especially when it comes to traffic on a 2 lane highway !!!!! How many times has anyone seen cars trying to get around a semi on a 2 lane and nearly get into a crash because they got tired of following a slow assed truck ? I’ve seen it many times from both sides of the saddle as a professional driver and in my private vehicle. IF Williams truly wanted safety instead of more control over someone he’d be advocating something to compel companies to set their trucks to the speed limits of the state’s they’re running in !! THAT would make our highways more safe.

  4. Holy Rollie

    July 12, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Let ******* that wants to make all trucks 65mph,to transport all of his state goods in the back of his truck,we as all truckers need to take a stand against this crapp,I mean if they not going to make a law for what type of gun you can buy or how potien your alcohol can be or make a law to stop these dumb ass robo call and these pussy ass cyber crooks. I believe all this ain’t nothing but a political stunt.

  5. Dozer

    July 12, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Well at 65 I am feeling tired, board and anxious. At this point I’m glad I have been off the road for the last 2 years.

  6. Jose L Orengo

    July 12, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Williams is an idiot, before anybody is allowed to make any legislation, documentation any type of decision involving Trucking we should be able to ask them the simple question of parking in a dock, if they can’t park the truck itself, (not even asking for a road test just parking) they should not be able to make any decisions involving anything when it comes to us. This has got to be by far the stupidest idea I have read, can you imagine the traffic when you have 4 trucks getting on the freeway at the same time that can’t pass each other. Smfh

  7. Eric P Nelson

    July 13, 2019 at 12:40 am

    As a professional driver I agree with this measure. It makes me feel safer at 65 mph sitting on 80,000 pounds. At 75 mph I get a real uneasy feeling, especially at night while hauling 80,000 pounds, unless a revolution occurs with new braking systems which can safely slow us down or stop us with that type of physical mass.

  8. Asa Beason

    July 13, 2019 at 4:42 am

    If they want to limit trucks they need too limit cars too.
    A spilt speed limit is just a accident waiting to happen.

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Can you say oversized load!

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That is big!

 

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Diesel prices all but stagnant nationwide, less than 2-cent shift anywhere

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The average price for a gallon of diesel nationwide fell by 0.7 cents for the week ending July 22, to currently stand at $3.044 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The lack of movement in diesel prices continues a pattern that has been going on for the past month. On June 24, diesel was at 3.042, with changes of less than 1.5 cents every week in between.

Though tiny, the movement in diesel prices was nearly unanimous this past week, down in all but one region of the country.  That one exception was the Rocky Mountain region, where diesel rose 0.3 cents, to $2.978. Year-to-date, diesel prices are lower in every region, with the Rocky Mountain region again being the standout, having the greatest difference, 39.1 cents from this time last year.

California made it a clean sweep for lower diesel prices year-to-date with a drop of 1.3 cents this past week, to $3.939, still by far the highest in the country, but 0.4 cents below this time last year.

Along the rest of the West Coast, diesel dropped 1.1 cents to $3.198, bringing the overall West Coast average to $3.611 per gallon.

The average along the East Coast is currently $3.072, with prices highest in the Central Atlantic, where diesel is going for $3.259 after a 1.3-cent drop. Diesel is $3.122 in New England following a decrease of 0.9 cents over the past week, while in the Lower Atlantic region diesel slipped by 0.4 cents to stand at $2.937 per gallon.

That’s still slightly better than the Midwest, where diesel is going for $2.948 per gallon after a drop of 0.8 cents. Meanwhile, the Gulf Coast, the low-price leader in diesel, fell by the same 0.1 cent it gained the week before to stand at $2.804.

On Monday, increasing tensions between Iran and Western countries failed to produce a sharp reaction in the crude oil markets. Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 98 cents, or 1.57%, to settle at $63.45 a barrel. U.S.-based West Texas Intermediate crude rose 59 cents, or 1.06%, to settle at $56.22 a barrel.

Click here for a complete list of average prices by region for the past three weeks.

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DOL opinion letter: Time in sleeper berth does not count as compensable time

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The Department of Labor says the time a truck driver spends in the sleeper berth is not compensable time. Pictured in the Peterbilt 579 UltraLoft sleeper berth. (Courtesy: PETERBILT MOTORS)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor said Monday said it had determined that time spent in the sleeper berth by professional truck drivers while otherwise relieved from duty does not count as compensable time.

The DOL issued the determination in a written opinion letter by the department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) on how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by the individual person or entity that requested the letter.

The American Trucking Associations lauded the opinion.

“ATA welcomes Monday’s opinion letter from DOL Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton that concluded time spent by a commercial driver in the sleeper berth does not count as compensable hours under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, unless the driver is actually performing work or on call,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This opinion, which is consistent with decades-old DOL regulations, the weight of judicial authority, and the long understanding of the trucking industry, clears up confusion created by two recent court decisions that called the compensability of sleeper berth time into question.

Significantly, this opinion letter provides new guidance, the DOL said.

Under prior guidance, the DOL said WHD interpreted the relevant regulations to mean that while sleeping time may be excluded from hours worked where “adequate facilities” were furnished, only up to eight hours of sleeping time may be excluded in a trip 24 hours or longer, and no sleeping time may be excluded for trips under 24 hours.

“WHD has now concluded that this interpretation is unnecessarily burdensome for employers and instead adopts a straightforward reading of the plain language of the applicable regulation, under which the time drivers are relieved of all duties and permitted to sleep in a sleeper berth is presumptively non-working time that is not compensable,” the opinion letter said. “There may be circumstances, however, where a driver who retires to a sleeping berth is unable to use the time effectively for his or her own purposes. For example, a driver who is required to remain on call or do paperwork in the sleeping berth may be unable to effectively sleep or engage in personal activities; in such cases, the time is compensable hours worked.”

The ATA commended Acting Secretary Patrick Pizzella and Stanton for adopting a straightforward, plain-language reading of the law, rather than the burdensome alternative interpretation embraced by those outlier decisions.

“ATA also commends the department for making guidance like this available through opinion letters, which provide an opportunity for stakeholders to better understand their compliance obligations prospectively, rather than settling such matters only after the fact, through costly and wasteful litigation,” Spear said.

 

 

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