Truck Safety Coalition Demands AEB Mandate and No Teen Truckers in Infrastructure Deal
Washington D.C. – The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) is again demanding the Senate make changes to infrastructure legislation currently being debated.
As the Senate finalizes its version (S. 2016) of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — which will also include a five-year reauthorization of the surface transportation program — the TSC says it is concerned about numerous provisions.
“This bill is in urgent need of revisions and improvements to make our vehicles and our roadways safer for the next five years and beyond,” the TSC recently wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Specifically, the TSC is taking aim at a measure which would allow drivers as young as 18 years old to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and operate cross-country.
The DRIVE Safe Act, as it is known, is backed by a number of leading trucking organizations such as the American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association as a way to expand the labor pool.
“The Senate provision allowing 3,000 teen truckers to operate in interstate commerce must be stricken,” the TSC told Secretary Buttigieg. “Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers under the age of 19 are four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and CMV drivers between the ages of 19-20 are six times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than all truck drivers.”
Additionally, the TSC is demanding automatic emergency braking (AEB) be required as standard equipment in all new trucks.
“AEB is the most effective and significant new safety technology in decades,” Joan Claybrook, Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, recently said. “It automatically slows or stops vehicles about to crash. It is also a big solution for the long-standing and challenging problems of drunk, drugged, drowsy and distracted driving.”
The House of Representatives already passed its infrastructure bill (H.R. 3684 – INVEST in America Act) which includes an AEB mandate and does not include the teen trucking provision.
This week, TSC wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging her to reject any Senate-approved legislation that does not include the AEB mandate or disallow under-21 truckers.
The actual text of the Senate’s bill remains unfinished even though it was advanced to debate this week in a vote of of 67-32.
The completed text is expected as soon as this weekend as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to pass the bill no later than August 9.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow it closely.