Technology on trucks and financial benefits dominated the discussion at the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. Following the lopsided handling of trucking issues, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association struck back, calling on members to call their senators in disapproval.
The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security hosted a hearing on improving truck safety. The panel testifying before the committee included:
- Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board;
- Capt. Chris Turner with the Kansas Highway Patrol representing the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance;
- Dr. Paul Jovanis, a Pennsylvania State University professor emeritus and chairman of the Transportation Research Board;
- Jerry Moyes, chairman emeritus of Swift Transportation; and
- Dr. Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The panelists representing NTSB, CVSA, TRB and IIHS stayed true to their long-standing, critical positions on trucking.
Hart and Lund both touted the safety benefits of more technology on trucks. Turner stuck with company line of needing more money for more enforcement. Jovanis preached data.
OOIDA’s ultimate criticism lies with the committee’s selection of Moyes to represent the trucking interest in the hearing. His testimony frequently centered on or circled back to a financial bottom line.
“We really try to keep on the edge of technology because it’s good for the public and it’s good for the shareholders,” he told the committee.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., even questioned if Swift was at a competitive disadvantage because of the investment in technology.
“These investments in safety have to have a payoff. I mean, it’s not only the safety to the motoring public, but it’s also to our shareholders,” he told Booker. “We have to watch that very closely.”
Wednesday morning following the hearing, OOIDA issued a Call To Action. It read, in part:
This was a hearing that simply ignored real truckers. It railroaded them without an opportunity to refute a word of it. So now’s our chance. Yesterday’s hearing clearly showed that some of the Senate is out-of-touch with how to actually improve trucking safety and we need you to set them straight. Please call both your Senators today and tell them your thoughts on the Senate Transportation Committee’s hearing. While you’re at it, let them know that Congress should be working to eliminate costly regulations like ELDs and speed limiters rather than adding even more rules and red tape. It’s time to knock out regulations!
Visit FightingForTruckers.com for more information.