ATA, industry groups clash on truck safety
By Miles Moore, Senior Washington reporter
WASHINGTON (May 1, 2015) — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) offered its truck safety improvement plan to a congressional subcommittee just as two other industry organizations condemned the ATA's call to mandate speed limiters on large trucks.
Tom Kretsinger, president and CEO of American Central Transport, testified on behalf of the ATA before of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Highway and Transit Subcommittee April 29.
In his testimony, Mr. Kretsinger presented a three-part plan to improve truck safety. The three parts included:
- Mandatory speed limiters for large trucks set no higher than 65 mph, as well as mandatory electronic logging devices and electronic stability control;
- Increased traffic enforcement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, coupled with limited inspections, in lieu of vehicle-based roadside inspections; and
- Partnership between the trucking industry and the FMCSA to establish criteria for a trucking safety “Gold Standard” and reward trucking companies that meet it.
Truck-involved fatality rates have fallen 74 percent in the last 40 years and 38 percent in the last 10, Mr. Kretsinger told the subcommittee.
“But continued improvement will require an acknowledgement of the principal causes of truck crashes and appropriate countermeasures,” he said.
The day before Mr. Kretsinger's testimony, the National Motorists Association (NMA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) issued a joint statement questioning the ATA's call for mandatory speed limiters on trucks.
“The ATA is searching for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist,” said NMA President Gary Biller. “They want to turn back the clock from today's speed limits at a time when U.S. highways are statistically safer than at any time in the past. Much safer, in fact, than when the federal government regulated the maximum speed of all vehicles to 55 mph between 1974 and 1995.”
According to the statement, OOIDA testified before Congress eight years ago that 24 states had set speed limits of 70 mph or more for highways, and 10 had approved speed limits of 75 mph for certain roads.
“These states have determined that it is in the best interest of highway safety to allow all vehicles, including heavy-duty trucks, to travel at these speeds,” OOIDA said.
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