Speed Limiters, ADAS, and Hair Testing Heavily Discussed at FMCSA’s Safety Summit

Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Truck Safety Summit was held on Wednesday.

The virtual Truck Safety Summit featured eight sessions and dozens of panelists and speakers with the stated goal of fostering a “collaborative dialogue between FMCSA, industry, law enforcement, and safety advocates to help improve safety for all Americans.”


Panelists Advocate for Advanced Driver Assist Systems and Speed Limiters

Much of the dialogue between invited panelists focused heavily on the latest technologies such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and Level I and II automated driving systems (ADS).

A theme woven through the event by numerous panelists was that these technologies, if integrated properly, could serve to curb commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accidents and save lives on America’s roadways.

Acting Administrator Jim Mullen hosted the event and moderated the first panel of the morning featuring Chris Spear, president of the American Trucking Associations (ATA); Lewie Pugh, executive vice president of the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association; Steve Owings, co-founder of Road Safe America (RSA), and Dan Furth, president of National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC).


Spear applauded the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Secretary Elaine Chao, in particular, for “expanding automated guidance” and embracing innovations such as 5.9 GHz spectrum to speed vehicle connectivity.

“ATA really truly believes the innovation will also harness existing commercial off-the-shelf technology solutions including electronic logging devices (ELDs), cameras, automatic emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive speed control,” Spear said.

As expected, Owings strongly advocated for speed limiters to be mandated in all commercial big rigs.

He said he believed doing so would be a possible “magic bullet” to immediately reduce both the frequency and severity of CMV-involved crashes.

“That is the most obvious and clear change that we believe needs making in this country,” Owings commented. “They just need to be turned on and used. Big companies in this country use them now because it is profitable.”


Listen to “Real Truckers”

As Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported on Monday, only three invited panelists actually have distinguished careers behind-the-wheel.

Pugh, a former owner operator for more than two decades, urged regulators to listen to the voices of “real truckers.”

He highlighted the need to address “poor working conditions, overzealous enforcement and inadequate driver training.”

Pugh also was the only panelist of the day to specifically take aim at the ELD mandate.

“It’s no secret that most drivers don’t like ELDs,” he said. “ELDs have created more stress, more cost, and more fatigue. There’s simply no safety justification whatsoever for the ELD mandate.”

However, the ELD mandate was not an area of focus during the Summit, despite the fact a bombshell academic study on the topic released in February of 2019 concluded crashes involving commercial big rigs actually increased after the implementation of the mandate.


Hair Follicle Testing

Another major and recurring area of conversation was hair follicle testing.

Spear, Owings, Furth, and other carrier executives advocated for the USDOT to allow hair follicle testing in lieu of a urinalysis in the pre-employment screening of truck drivers.

Spear called it a “proven science” and stressed the need to make sure those who are impaired are taken off of the road.

Furth was asked if NTTC’s 220 carrier-members would readily embrace the change, if allowed.

“I think our guys would move to it immediately,” he responded.


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Pugh was the only panelist who raised questions about hair testing.

Specifically, he expressed concern that it may disproportionately negatively impact certain ethnicities and result in positive tests for people who may have used drugs reaching as far back as six months.


Secretary Chao Addresses Attendees

Sec. Chao also appeared via a pre-recorded message in which she said the Safety Summit was “another example of how much this Administration values the trucking industry.”

“We want to hear what you have to say,” Sec. Chao said. “We stand with you and we’ll continue to work with you to make our roads safer.”

TNN will have much more from the Safety Summit in the coming days so make sure to stay logged on to TransportationNation.com.



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Comment (12)

  1. All those people make me sick and should get replaced we need to remember their names and not reelect them. By harassing truckers they use it as an excuse to abuse and say it’s for the public safety. They need to start testing themselves and clean the authorities start implementing experimenting with your offices first. Make sure you politicians are not illegal using drugs or being used to do what you are trying to do

    1. Hmm. The SLOWEST trucks are still crashing. They have the latest gadgets. Why? All the driver does in hold the wheel. Inattentive driving is worse than distracted driving because the inattention lasts far longer. What’s the solution Mega Carriers want? Slow EVERYONE down. While I’m at it; the #1 distraction for a driver is PAY! A 700 paycheck stays on your mind because of the time drivers spend away from home; stuck on loading and unloading docks or trying to find a truck stop with parking. There is an old saying. ” Good Drivers aren’t cheap. Cheap Drivers aren’t Good.”

  2. Well one thing is gor sure we need to get these idiots out of here as they have no clue about trucking. Elds are the reason for all the crashes and it doesnt take a genius to figure that out. Also if they make a 65 mph rule I am done trucking and I’m sure most truckers are with me on that. Canada has that and if anyone has been to Canada it is a nightmare for trucks. All of them are going the same speed and it sucks. These guys need to leave well enough alone put us back on paper logs and leave our speeds alone.


  3. These people now realize they have bled us out so severely no one even has time to pay attention to what’s going on. It Now about this hair follicle b.s.
    Let’s say you have two drivers same company employee 1 is on time and a pretty safe driver. Employee 2 is unreliable and a tad reckless. #1 smoked a joint 2 months ago, #2 gets absolutely sh#t faced every night. Guess who gets fired come test day. These people look at us as trained monkeys to scarred to speak up or band together.

    1. Shit faced driver could be the more safer than the Swift driver who was hair tested. We do federal testing federal paycheck please with all paid benefits for my family. Start hair testing gun owners and POLITICIANS. But truckstops still sell beer? Hmmmm

  4. Hair Test arent accurate either. If we take federal drugtests pay us as federal employees with free benefits for our families. Trucking went downhill years ago you cant even fill seats anyway. I bet a pot head makes more money than a truck driver any day no wonder seats are empty. How about better background checks for gun owners

  5. No , no , no– drats!!!
    All dummies at this meeting.
    A pre- recorded message: how cordial, not we’re just a bit good enough to speak to live, we don’t deserve appointed time on the spot. Thanks, I feel like an essential now.
    Speed limit bull chips! Limit our vehicles , then limit your car; your the vehicles doing higher risk actions at much greater speeds!
    No 5 g towers no thank you. See the last of our freedoms are going here for sure with this one!
    No automatic break! Period. I’ve used EB and it will scare the hell out of you with false flag breaking, or what it feels is in the road that may be nothing, or would you rather go from 68 69 to 55 in a second due to a paper bag in the wind?! How stress free, no thanks.
    Need to get these people out of power if there’s a Civ War 2 afterwards , we take over on downs like the winning team and score in the end ✋
    This meeting sounds like robots: no vision, no ears for listening to real drivers and vets.

  6. I think firs what we need to do is to make politics and governors use elds and Limiters on them speeches. We have to control them time how much they speak and work. Its a public safety. Because after they will do something stupid, We hurt all off us . That would help to all of us.


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