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Trucking groups call for Congress to limit redundant security rules

The American Trucking Associations and National Tank Truck Carriers are asking Congress to direct the Transportation Security Administration to work with industry rather than issuing excessive, burdensome, and duplicative security rules.

“The private sector is an essential partner and part of the solution for combating terrorism,” ATA Vice-President of Security and Operations Martin Rojas told the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security during a July 12 hearing. “We don’t need more regulation, we need more cooperation.”

Rojas pointed to the apprehension by federal authorities of Khalid Ali-M Aldawasri following tips from ATA-member company Con-way Inc as a model for future private sector-public sector partnerships.

Rojas told the subcommittee that in the decade since the September 11 terrorist attacks there have been a number of programs initiated to minimize the risk of another attack on US soil that while “well intended . . . have resulted in a multiplicity of overlapping and burdensome security requirements on trucking companies.”

“Unfortunately,” he testified, “rather than augmenting the security of the transportation sector, the focus has been more on regulatory compliance than evaluating the impact of existing security requirements.”

In addition to limiting future security mandates, Rojas recommended that as Congress looks to reauthorize TSA they encourage information sharing between the public and private sectors; improve coordination between federal agencies, many of whom already play a role in transportation security; and ensure that the roll out of readers for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) moves forward promptly.

Discussing the Congressional hearings with Bulk Transporter, NTTC President John Conley said: “I think it is fair to say that everyone from the professionals at TSA to the trucking industry is frustrated with the conditions that now exist. We have the First Observer program that most trucking companies do not want to be part of because of the Teamsters (Union) involvement and that will not change. We have a ridiculous system where the same driver might have to give two sets of fingerprints on the same day to get two security credentials. We have carriers being cited because someone forgot to lock the doors on a tractor. Everyone seems to agree that the system needs to be overhauled to focus on what is really important and everyone also seems to agree that it is someone else’s responsibility to fix the problems.”

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