Truck Safety Groups Demand ADAS and Underride Mandates, Rollback of Trump-Era HOS Reforms
Washington D.C. – A coalition of truck safety advocacy groups is turning up the pressure on federal lawmakers to impose its wish list of reforms.
In a letter sent this week to leadership of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, a coalition of more than a dozen truck and auto safety organizations urged members to include an extensive list of measures into the Senate’s surface transportation funding reauthorization legislation.
Mandating Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
The coalition is demanding the Senate join with the Democratically-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and require all new trucks and automobiles be equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as automatic emergency braking (AEB).
“Institute for Highway Safety has shown that forward collision warning plus AEB reduces front-to-rear crashes for cars by 50 percent and for large trucks by more than 40 percent,” the coalition asserted. “This proven technology should be required by a date certain in all new cars and trucks.”
Mandating Front and Side Underride Guards
Another top priority for the coalition is requiring all heavy duty trucks to be equipped with front and side underride guards, in addition to strengthening standards on rear guards.
“Side and front underride guards that can prevent and mitigate horrific crashes where a passenger vehicle travels underneath a commercial motor vehicle or trailer must be required, not just studied,” the letter states.
Hours of Service Rollback
The coalition also wants to see the Trump-era reforms to hours-of-service (HOS) regulations rolled back, arguing, “Recent revisions to the HOS rules finalized in June 2021 dangerously weakened the HOS rules and should be rescinded.”
Further, the coalition also wants to see the bevy of exemptions from the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate handed out following the implementation of the rule to also be eliminated.
“Since the implementation of the ELD rule in December 2017, there have been constant and relentless attacks by segments of the trucking industry to undermine the rule by creating or expanding exemptions for drivers from the HOS or ELD rule. Motor carrier operations that complied with the HOS rules before the ELD rule do not need any additional exemptions or changes to the HOS rules to comply with current regulations,” the coalition contended.
Reject Under-21 Interstate Truckers
Additionally, the coalition implored lawmakers to reject the the DRIVE-Safe Act — currently included in the Senate’s surface transportation funding reauthorization legislation — which would allow CMV drivers as young as 18 years old to operate cross-country.
Proponents of the DRIVE-Safe Act argue such action is needed to alleviate the so-called “driver shortage.”
“A thorough and extensive analysis by the Department of Labor found no evidence of a driver shortage,” the coalition stated. “Driver retention, and not driver shortage, is the problem and will not be solved by allowing 3,000 teens to drive heavy trucks across state lines.”
No Mention of Insurance Minimum Increase
Earlier this month, the coalition celebrated the passage of the controversial INVEST in America Act in the U.S. House.
The INVEST Act is packed with highly contentious measures which would have deep impacts on the trucking industry.
Perhaps none more so than a provision which increases the minimum amount of insurance required for CMVs from $750,000 to $2 million, and directs this amount to be adjusted for inflation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration every five years.
The coalition has long supported a sizable increase.
The Senate’s version of the bill currently before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation does not call for such an increase.
Interestingly, the coalition makes no mention of it in its letter.