WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2015) — The U.S. trucking industry has made an estimated $7 billion investment in safety, and Congress needs to support that efforts with new regulations, a representative of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) told a Senate subcommittee Jan. 29.
“The trucking industry is justifiably proud of its commitment to safety,” said Jim Mullen, executive vice president and general counsel of Werner Enterprises in Omaha, Neb., at a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Surface Transportation.
Thanks to the trucking industry's efforts, the number of large truck-related fatalities dropped 21 percent in the past decade, and the large truck fatality rate fell 37 percent during the same period, Mr. Mullen said.
However, the federal government needs to focus more on the primary causes of truck crashes if this record of safety improvement is to continue, he said.
Mr. Mullen listed several safety regulations the government should consider, including:
- Requiring the use of speed limiters on large trucks;
- Shifting from a vehicle-centric roadside inspection enforcement model to one centered on on-road traffic enforcement and driver behavior;
- Establishing incentives for the use of crash avoidance technology, such as lane departure warning systems and forward collision warning systems;
- Issuing a strong mandate for electronic logging devices;
- Developing driver training rules that focus on performance and comprehension rather than hours of education;
- Reworking the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) system to better focus on high-risk carriers; and
- Congressional monitoring of the ongoing studies of the suspended changes to the hours-of-service rules.