Trucking Group Calls For “Expanded, Mandatory ELD Use” And More “Progressive Safety Reforms”
“ELDs should be required in all large trucks, regardless of commodity, length of haul or whether they operate in interstate or intrastate commerce. Anything short of mandatory use of ELDs is purely political, unfair and frankly, unsafe.” – Steve Williams, founder of The Trucking Alliance & Chairman and CEO of Maverick USA
Washington, D.C. – The Trucking Alliance is stepping up their efforts to secure sweeping new “progressive safety reforms” for the trucking industry.
In a statement released this week by the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, also known as The Trucking Alliance, Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, called for U.S. legislators and transportation industry stakeholders to get on-board with “progressive safety reforms” and a “reverse” of priorities for truck drivers.
Calling the U.S. trucking industry “indispensable,” Williams lamented the rising number of truck driver “accidents” and “deaths.” He says these figures must be reversed and the need for reform is now.
EXPANDED USE OF ELDs
As part of the lobbying group’s reform agenda, they are calling for an expanded use of electronic logging devices (ELDs). “ELDs should be required in all large trucks, regardless of commodity, length of haul or whether they operate in interstate or intrastate commerce,” Williams said. “Anything short of mandatory use of ELDs is purely political, unfair and frankly, unsafe.”
Williams said the implementation of ELDs has made “the supply chain more efficient” and the expanded use of the recording devices “can help reverse the disturbing trend of large truck fatalities and save lives.”
Williams contends the first step to accomplishing a better way forward for truckers is “to reverse our priorities” and begin to support “reforms that make sense for our country and citizens first, our industry second, and our companies third.”
Williams said “safety groups, legislators, regulators and all segments of our diverse industry” should “meet in the middle, and responsibly deal with the unprecedented challenges we face.”
Williams agenda for truck drivers sounds almost reminiscent to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” policies instituted during the Great Depression. “We must adopt initiatives to improve the truck driver’s lifestyle,” Williams said. “We must eliminate the chance that truck drivers and their exemplary work ethic will be used against them.”
For example he said, “Truck drivers shouldn’t carry the burden to make up for an inefficient supply chain. Too often, giving truck drivers more ‘flexibility’ in their work day is simply code for ‘just get it there’.
OTHER PROGRESSIVE SAFETY REFORM PRIORITIES
Improve Drug Testing Standards – Williams and the Trucking Alliance are calling on legislators to require carriers to administer “drug tests that verify an applicant has been drug free for at least 60 days” in the pre-employment screening process. Additionally, Williams said it is long overdue for a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse.
“We need a long awaited database to identify who has previously failed these drug tests. We must be able to assure the motoring public that our commercial drivers are properly rested, properly trained and drug and alcohol free,” Williams exclaimed.
Limit Truck Speeds – Under the Obama Administration regulators came close to imposing speed limiters on large commercial trucks. However, the Trump Administration derailed those efforts. Williams would like to see speed limiters back in play.
“Excessive truck speeds increase fatalities and the severity of injuries in large truck accidents. That’s why we must require large trucks to maintain reasonable speeds on all highways,” he said.
Adopt More Truck Safety Tech – More safety technology is needed and should be required Williams said. “Forward collision warning systems are available on new trucks now. These systems can assist our drivers to avoid accidents, which is especially critical since distracted driving is so prevalent among the motoring public.”
Raise Liability Minimum For Carriers, Small Fleets, and I/Cs – Williams doesn’t believe victims and the families of victims of large truck accidents are being fairly compensated. In fact, he is calling for “dramatically increasing” insurance standards to better compensate victims. “We must meet our promise to the victims of large truck accidents,” he said.
“Congress set the minimum motor carrier insurance limits almost 40 years ago. But those insurance limits remain the same today and they should be dramatically increased,” Williams stated.
Eliminate All Large Truck Fatalities – Pointing to the safety achievements of the U.S. airline industry, Williams said the goal of the trucking industry should be zero fatalities involving large trucks. Further, he believes it can be accomplished.
“The Trucking Alliance will continue to work with those stakeholders who believe that we can fully eliminate large truck fatalities,” Williams opined. “Our goal should be to achieve safety performance levels that are comparable with the US airline industry.”
About Steve Williams
Steve Williams is Chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. Williams has proven himself to be a real life “Maverick.” His story is well-known in many trucking circles. Williams is a past-chairman of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), but had a falling out with the association because he didn’t believe the group was embracing safety priorities like ELDs, speed limiters and other progressive safety measures quickly and strongly enough.
His discontent with ATA and others led him to become a founder of The Trucking Alliance, for which he serves as President of the Board of Directors.
Williams is also a former member of the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee, former chairman of the American Transportation Research Institute, three-time chairman of the Arkansas Trucking Association, and numerous other industry leadership positions.
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