In testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Highway and Transit Subcommittee April 29, American Trucking Associations representatives said continued improvement in truck safety will need new strategies to better address the primary causes of highway crashes.
“The truck-involved fatality rate has decreased 74% since 1975 and in the last decade alone, it has dropped 38%,” Tom Kretsinger, president and CEO of American Central Transport, said in testimony on behalf of ATA. “But continued improvement will require an acknowledgement of the principal causes of truck crashes and appropriate countermeasures.”
Specifically, Kretsinger cited data that highlights the role of the driver in 87% of truck crashes and adds that addressing driver behavior and truck safety falls into three broad categories “rules, enforcement, and a partnership to promote voluntary initiatives.”
In looking at rules, Kretsinger mentions ATA’s support for an electronic logging device mandate (http://trck.ng/Tj63X), electronic stability control (http://trck.ng/Kp6i5) and mandatory speed limiters for large trucks set no higher than 65 miles per hour (http://trck.ng/SlowDown), among several proposals.
On enforcement, he urges the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to encourage more traffic enforcement coupled with a limited inspection, citing FMCSA data indicating that this highway enforcement approach is “at least four times more effective at preventing crashes and saving lives” than vehicle-based roadside inspections.
Finally, Kretsinger said FMCSA should partner with the trucking industry to develop a carrot approach in lieu of using only the “stick.” Kretsinger recommended a new partnership to “establish criteria for meeting a ‘Gold Standard’ and reward fleets that meet it,” adding that ATA supports the agency’s request for comment on such a program issued last week.
“The trucking industry is justifiably proud of its long-term safety record,” he said. “However, to continue this trend we will require more creative approaches and acknowledgment of the most common causes of truck crashes.”
To read Kretsinger’s full testimony, click here (http://trck.ng/KretzTestimony)