American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear testified this morning at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, outlining the industry’s top priorities and identifying concrete steps Congress can take to enhance highway safety, expand job opportunities in trucking and revitalize America’s sagging infrastructure.
On safety, Spear emphasized the dangers of speeding and distracted driving among the motoring public, highlighting that “72% of large truck crashes had no truck driver-related factors recorded, fueled largely by the growing addiction to speeding and texting.”
He decried FCC’s proposal to slash the Safety Spectrum for transportation safety purposes and reallocate it for unlicensed WiFi, and urged the committee to end HHS’s unacceptable delays in producing a rule—as required by law now for many years—for hair-testing for controlled substances.
Spear also touted the heavily-bipartisan DRIVE-Safe Act and called on the committee’s members to support it:
“Forty-eight states currently allow an 18-year-old to drive a Class 8 commercial vehicle, making it legal to drive an 850 mile stretch of California. Yet, it is federally illegal driving from Providence, Rhode Island to Rehoboth, Massachusetts – a mere 10 miles. The heavily bipartisan DRIVE Safe Act would require 400 hours of apprenticeship training and safety technology. 48 states require none of this, making the DRIVE Safe Act a leap toward safety, and ATA recommends its immediate passage.”
Finally, Spear called for federal investment in infrastructure, touting ATA’s proposal – the Build America Fund – as the most viable, cost-effective and fiscally conservative funding mechanism available in the near-term:
“Trucking now loses $70 billion each year sitting in congestion. That’s 425,000 drivers sitting idle for an entire year. Sixty-seven million tons of CO2 being emitted. Passenger vehicle drivers now lose $1,600 a year due to traffic and repairs. These are the mounting costs of doing nothing.”
Full written testimony is available here.