Truck Safety Advocates Push President Biden for “Swift Action” on Wish List of Mandates
Washington D.C. – Truck safety groups are seizing on the recent change in presidential administrations to ramp up lobbying efforts in hopes of finally enacting their wish list of reforms.
The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), a partnership between The Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), are pushing President Joe Biden’s new administration for “direct and swift action” they say is needed to reduce large truck-involved crashes.
In a recent letter sent to the Biden Administration, TSC argued “indifference and inaction” by the Trump Administration led to “deaths and injuries [that] simply did not have to happen.”
“In the past year, 5,000 people have been killed in truck crashes representing a 46 percent increase since 2009,” TSC said. “Additionally, nearly 150,000 were injured and the total economic costs of truck crashes exceeded $135 billion.”
TSC further asserted “horrific tragedies of large truck crashes” can be avoided by immediately implementing mandates included in its “truck safety agenda.”
“These include crash avoidance technologies such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard equipment on all new trucks, stronger guards to prevent cars in a crash from sliding under the rear and side of large trucks, speed limiters to reduce the deadly consequences of excessive speeding by large trucks, and others,” the group wrote.
While most trucking industry stakeholders have strongly resisted further regulations pertaining to rear and side underride guards, groups such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and the Trucking Alliance have openly expressed support for mandating speed limiters.
Plus, a growing number of stakeholders are warming to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as AEB.
During the “Truck Safety Summit” hosted last summer by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), executives representing mega carriers such as J.B. Hunt, Schneider National, Maverick Transportation, and Werner each made their case for the effectiveness of ADAS.
For example, Greer Woodruff, senior vice president of safety and security at J.B. Hunt, reported a 50 percent reduction in rear-end crashes since adopting ADAS into his fleet.
Jamie Maus, vice president of safety and compliance for Werner, indicated AEB has made a dramatic difference reducing both the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.
“What once was a fatal accident is now an injury accident,” she said. “An injury accident is now a property damage accident, and property damage accidents have become nonexistent.”
However, groups such as the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) and Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) take a much different view.
They argue the recently implemented electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate, poor working conditions, inadequate student driver training, and rise in distracted driving among all drivers, not just truckers, have largely led to a 31-year high in large truck-involved crash deaths.
Then there is the Trump Administration’s signature trucking regulatory reform, the new hours of service (HOS) requirements implemented last fall.
The long-awaited HOS final rule was widely applauded within the trucking community for adding “flexibility” to a driver’s work day.
The TSC is a strong critic of the rule and is expected to take aim at it as well during Biden’s time in office.
“We cannot wait and allow another 20,000 truck crash deaths and 600,000 injuries in the next four years when solutions are already at hand,” TSC urged the President.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to track these issues closely.