ATA Executive Voices Support for Congress Safety Initiatives

Dan England, owner of the trucking company C.R. England Inc. and vice chairman of the American Trucking Association (ATA), spoke with Congress about some ATA-suggested initiatives regarding highway safety. Mr. England encouraged Congress in several measures.

Stricter Regulation of New Carriers

Mr. England asked Congress to “raise the bar” for new trucking companies by requiring them to successfully complete training and an examination before being permitted to operate. He, on behalf of ATA, also suggested that new carriers undergo their initial audit within six months of beginning operations. This examination normally takes place after 18 months.

Improvements to the CSA

He suggested improvements be made to the new safety monitoring and measurement system, the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA). Mr. England stated that the system used by CSA is hindered by underlying data quality and methodology issues and suggested that the use of CSA to monitor unsafe carriers and drivers is not successful.

National Driver Monitoring System

Implementation of a national system for carriers to monitor drivers’ moving violations and drug/alcohol tests results in a timely manner was another strategy recommended by Mr. England.

Electronic Monitoring Devices vs. Hours of Service Changes

Federal mandation of electronic logging devices to monitor drivers’ hours was urged by the ATA vice chairman. However, Mr. England spoke out against the planned changes to current hours of service.

Hours of service set the legal limits for how many hours a driver can operate a commercial truck. Mr. England voiced the ATA’s support for the monitoring devices for ensuring better and continued compliance with the new hours of service that were put in place in 2004. However, he suggested that before changing the hours of service again, Congress allow electronic logging devices to determine if the current hours are sufficient.

Responsibility of Non-commercial Drivers

Lastly, Mr. England called attention to what many consider the root of the problem: non-commercial drivers. The majority of accidents involving a commercial truck are not the fault of the truck driver, yet the legislation is almost always aimed at trucking carriers and drivers. He said focus needs to be placed on the majority causing the accidents to see where safety measures related to non-commercial drivers can be implemented.

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