Mega-Carrier Safety Group Renews Call For ELDs, Speed Limiters, And More

Washington D.C. – The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, commonly known as the Trucking Alliance, is once again urging U.S. Congressional leaders to take new action in order to “reduce large truck crash fatalities and injuries.”

The safety group, comprised of some of the trucking industry’s largest and most powerful carriers, submitted comments for the record today to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Sub-Committee on Highways and Transit at a hearing entitled “Under Pressure: The State of Trucking in America”

Pointing to the recent rise in the number of fatalities involving large truck crashes (4,761 people in 2017, including more than 600 truck drivers), Steve Williams, Chairman and CEO of Maverick USA in Little Rock, Arkansas, and president co-founder of the Trucking Alliance said the trucking industry simply “has too many accidents.”

 

“More truck drivers lost their lives in 2017, than in any year in the previous 10 years,” Williams lamented. “We must aggressively address these tragic figures.”

Williams believes the adoption of more “progressive safety reforms” will aid in reducing crashes.

“Support progressive safety reforms that make sense for our country and citizens first, our industry second, and our companies third,” Williams urged lawmakers.

Williams said the Trucking Alliance is determined “to fully eliminate all highway accident fatalities within 30 years.”

To accomplish this goal, Williams implored leaders to consider the following safety priorities.

1. “No Industry Segment Should Be Exempt from Installing Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)”

The Trucking Alliance is asking lawmakers to reject recently introduced legislation that would provide relief from the ELD mandate to certain segments of the trucking industry (H.R. 1673 and H.R. 1698), as well as carriers with 10 trucks or fewer (H.R. 1697).

“ELDs should be required in all large commercial trucks, regardless of how many trucks are owned, the commodity being hauled, length of trip, or whether the truck driver operates in interstate or intrastate commerce,” the statement said.

Arguing these new legislative efforts would endanger public safety because “paper log books are easily falsified,” the group said thousands of truck drivers cannot be allowed “to operate ‘off the grid’ and without a reliable way to verify whether they are in compliance with on-duty regulations.”

 

2. “Thousands of Commercial Truck Drivers are Illicit Drug Users”

The safety group is once again arguing for the adoption of hair follicle testing to be required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in the pre-employment screening of commercial driver applicants.

“Drug use in the trucking industry is a public safety crisis,” the group said.

According to a recent survey conducted among its members, the safety group said of the more than 150,000 applicants tested by both a urinalysis and a hair follicle analysis, the “urinalysis missed 9 out of 10 actual illicit drug users.”

The survey noted that “almost all” of the applicants currently held a CDL at the time of their testing.

The group estimates that more than 300,000 truck drivers should be “purged” from the industry due to drug use.

“These illicit drug users must be identified and taken out of commercial trucks and off the nation’s highways,” the group urged.

The Trucking Alliance said the industry has “no greater safety issue, than to aggressively address illegal drug use among commercial truck drivers.”

 

3. “Truck Drivers Should Be 21 Years or Older to Operate Commercial Trucks in Interstate Commerce”

The group is also imploring lawmakers to reject the new push to lower the interstate driving age for commercial truck drivers from 21 to 18.

Newly re-introduced legislation known as the DRIVE Safe Act is supported by industry groups like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), while opposed by groups like the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).

“The nation’s public highways should not be used as a proving ground to determine if teenagers can operate Class 8 tractor trailer combinations safely,” the Trucking Alliance said.

Citing a lack of data on the issue, the group argued that operating a big rig cross-country requires “elevated skills, considerable experience, maturity and self-discipline.”

Not only would putting 18-year-olds behind-the-wheel of big rigs operating across the U.S. be a safety concern, the group argues it would also be a financial one for many carriers.

“The industry’s property and liability insurance rates, for incurring the additional risk of teenage truck drivers in interstate commerce, would assuredly go up,” the statement said.

 

4. “Large Trucks Should Adhere to a Reasonable Maximum Speed of 65-mph”

The Trucking Alliance wants big rigs governed at 65 mph.

The group points, in part, to an estimation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that setting a truck speed limiter at 65 mph, “could save as many as 214 lives and prevent approximately 4,500 injuries from large truck crashes each year.”

In the statement the group contends, “Slowing the top speed of tractor trailers will greatly reduce the number of fatalities and the severity of injuries from large truck crashes.”

Obviously unhappy with the Trump Administration’s actions to thwart the mandating of speed limiters, the Trucking Alliance wants action now.

“Congress should support legislation that would direct the Secretary of Transportation to issue a final rule requiring truck speed limiting devices and for those commercial vehicles currently equipped with the technology to engage the devices,” the group said.

 

5. “Collision Mitigation Systems Should Be Required on New Commercial Trucks”

The safety group argued that collision mitigation systems can and do help to prevent truck crashes.

Technologies such as lane departure warning systems, video-based onboard safety monitoring, automatic emergency braking systems, and air disc brakes should all be deployed, according to members of the Trucking Alliance.

The group said its member carriers are committed to continuing to test these technologies and more, but urged Congress to “require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to set a minimum performance standard and issue a final rule requiring that commercial motor vehicles are equipped with automatic emergency braking systems, as standard equipment.”

Stay logged on to TransportationNation.com for more news from today’s U.S. House hearing.

 

About The Trucking Alliance Members

Notable carrier members include J.B. Hunt, Knight-Swift Transportation, U.S. Xpress and KLLM.

All member carriers are listed among the 200 largest US trucking firms.

These companies collectively employ 82,000 professional drivers and logistics personnel.

Thousands of independent owner-operators are contracted to these companies.

Collectively, Trucking Alliance member companies own and operate 70,000 large tractors, and more than 220,000 semitrailers and intermodal containers, to serve supply chain networks, both domestically and internationally.

More information about the Trucking Alliance can be found HERE.

(Image courtesy of Wyoming Highway Patrol)

 


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Comment (7)

  1. I hate articles that do not give actual data. “Almost all” drug tested had a CDL. They tested people without a CDL on an article bashing truck drivers..wtf??? How many of the accidents were in trucks with an eld? Why are they using numbers from 2017 when the eld mandate is now in effect. The eld forces drivers to continue driving when they need a nap because of the hours restrictions. Lack of parking puts all drivers in unsafe situations because we are forced to park on ranps and along the highway. I’m not against the eld but the 14 hour rule needs reform.

  2. Granted this is a trucking issue, but we dont drive in a bubble. Are there truck drivers who operate in a unsafe manner? Sure, but can we at least acknowledge the issue all drivers know to be true. And that is the automobiles who operate around us. With the highways becoming more congested, people perpetually in a hurry, and people on their phones, trucks are that nuisance you have to beat to the off ramp. Most drivers have just accepted the chaos, the absolute disregard most cars have for everyone’s safety.

  3. All if these issues are Important, but not one of the rich deep and tight pocketed owners mentioned changing pay structures. If the industry paid accordingly, there would be less speeding, drug use, and an increase in safety. When people are losing money because of timing of loads, it causes issues that create safety concerns. When was the last time a freight train was stopped for an inspection with 1 hour on a clock, or an airliner stopped on the runway for a level 1?

    1. Kalanick hated taxi drivers before uber kill taxi business.
      If somebody trying thusly hard to derail or at least to sabotage trucking industry, is it somebody so powerful that hate truck drivers that much?

  4. 1. It is obvious conflict of interests between mega carriers and 10 and less trucks companies. Especially conflict of interests between clueless bureaucrat and driver. And if this clueless bureaucrat would have a zilch of integrity, he would understand that for mega carrier person it is not even ethical to even speak for the 10 or less trucks companies given all breaks for fuel, equipment, insurance .. etc.
    2. It’s impossible to hide the lie for long.
    With eld era more fatalities on the roads, not less as it was falsely promised. More pressure on the driver. Want more fatalities, put the facial cameras.
    3. It doesn’t matter: 10 hours, 14 hours. Paper log, electronic log.
    Anything connected with the time restraint will negatively affect the driver’s performances. In 40 plus years driving I don’t really need new bureaucrat lecturing me about safety.
    4. Industry logistics give driver plenty of the time between pickup and Drop for the safe and comfortable delivery. How about endless inspections are the reason for increasing fatalities on the roads. How many time you want to scale my truck? Ten? How about to scale it once and put in database for anybody concerned.
    5. am I for havoc? No. I see bad drivers. Then be tough on them. Leave the safe drivers alone.
    6. Bad police work. Newer saw tailgaters or blocking traffic drivers were inforced of the road.
    …and many others blah blah blah. Make no sense even to comment.
    Becouse something can be done only through the court.
    You just cannot put driver against the clock. It’s a common sense.
    And no even one attorney can explain it to the government that those time sensitive regulations are counterproductive and, as now the case, contribute to increasing accidents and are criminal by the nature.
    The last one. Trump promised to take a pity regulations off blue collar workers. We see more regulations. No votes from drivers.

  5. First of all the ELD does not FORCE a driver to run tired sick or any other reason. The drivers makes that decision. Too many of the new drivers today are ill equipped ( not mature enough )mentally to drive a truck and work with the regulations and be observant to their surroundings.Too many changes in a truck drivers day for them to cope with. Things the school cannot teach.Trucks do not cause the accident the drivers are making all the decisions. The truck is a tool to be used to move freight. As far a trucks causing the accident that is not true. That truck is an inanimate object until a drivers gets behind the wheel and moves it. Speed limiters will raise the number of rear end collisions with a semi truck higher . Many states have changed the speed differential due to accidents. Is no body listening in our government.?? If truck drivers would just put down their smart phone and stop recording what they think is a stupid driver and use it to contact the FMCSA, The DOT and their legislators we might get their attention. flood the switch board with calls. Strange things can happen, they might listen to us if we let them know we are alive and going our jobs safely. Tell them the real reasons for accidents. It is the car driver that causes the majority of car truck accidents. NOT the truck driver. Since we have stepped away from our camaraderie and brotherhood from days gone by it is going to be an uphill battle to get even a hand full of drivers to step up and take action.For those that do send the Email or make that phone call I thank you.

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