SPECIAL REPORT: U.S. Congress backs OOIDA’s June safety initiative

| 5/13/2003

June Safety Month, an effort this year by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to call attention to truckdriver safety, has gained crucial congressional support from leaders who want to go the extra mile and establish a National Truck Safety Month each year.

The purpose of their congressional resolution would be to heighten awareness about the contributions, needs and safety-related issues of the nation’s truckdrivers.

"The pressure on truckdrivers is real and, at times, can be immense," OOIDA President Jim Johnston said. "We appreciate this effort by Congress, and encourage all truckers to contact their U.S. Representative and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 164."

The resolution, sponsored by Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, asks President George W. Bush to issue a proclamation commending all truckers for their extra effort this June to comply with truck safety regulations. Graves serves on the House Agriculture, Small Business and Transportation committees.

The resolution endorses OOIDA’s June Safety Month effort, where truckers across the country plan to operate their rigs in strict compliance with all federal and state trucking regulations, including speed limits.

Last week, the Trucker’s Voice, a Canadian trucking organization, endorsed the initiative. Several U.S.-based trucking businesses, such as Andy’s Transfer & Storage (North American Van Lines), Glendale, CA, have voiced support June Safety Month.

“The plan is to have all drivers operate strictly within the DOT and FMCSA rules and regulations,” Joe Kroening, general manager, said in a directive to drivers. “We fully support this. We would like to add that we think each and every month should be safety month.”

The resolution, meanwhile, calls on all highway users, shippers, receivers, motor carriers and federal and state regulatory and law-enforcement officials to support the efforts of truckdrivers to make the nation’s highways a safer place to travel and to work.

 Trucker recognition

The resolution cited several reasons behind the need for a National Truck Safety Month. They include:

More than 2 million long-haul trucks and 138 million cars share the nation’s highways each day.

The loss of more than 5,000 lives each year in accidents involving large trucks raises important safety issues.

Truckdrivers, who experience more workplace fatalities than any other single occupation, are acutely aware of their responsibility to contribute to highway safety.

The U.S. economy depends upon the nation’s long-haul truckers, who deliver 71 percent of the dollar value of freight hauled in the United States.

Truck safety has become the highest priority of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the federal government invests nearly $200 million in truck safety enforcement activities each year.

Truckdrivers have committed themselves to make June a model month for compliance with all truck safety rules.

Congressional Backers

Rep. Sam Graves, R-MO, introduced the resolution.

Cosponsors include Rep. Roy Blunt, R-MO, Rep. Danny Davis, D-IL, Rep. Dan Burton, R-IN, Rep. James Moran, D-VA, Rep. Lee Terry, R-NE, Rep. Mac Collins, R-GA, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX, Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-MN, Rep. Jerry Costello, D-IL, and Rep. Tom Osborne, R-NE.