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Wrapping up ATA's MC&E 2015

Wrapping up ATA's MC&E 2015

The trade group’s CEO plans to step down in 2016 and a new chairman comes aboard.

A few final news notes emerged from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) annual Management Conference & Exhibition (MC&E), which wrapped up this week in Philadelphia.

Bill Graves, ATA’s president and CEO, said in an interview at the show that he plans to step down after a 13 year stint as the trade group’s chief executive when his current contract expires at the end of 2016.

The ATA also elected Pat Thomas, senior VP of state government affairs for UPS, to be its 71st chairman; replacing Duane Long, chairman of Longistics, Raleigh, N.C.

The trade group’s board of directors voted to call upon truck manufacturers to make automatic emergency braking systems a standard feature on commercial vehicles as well as offering support for potential regulation to achieve that end.

“Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it had reached an agreement with 10 leading automakers to make these systems standard on new cars,” noted Pat Thomas, the group’s new chairman. “We believe our friends in the truck manufacturing community and the rest of the automakers should join them in putting automatic emergency braking systems on all new vehicles sold in the U.S.”

The trade group also released the results of a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes about politics, the trucking industry and the state of infrastructure.

The findings from that poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies between August 30 and September 1, covered a wide gamut of issues:

  • Some 60% of those interviewed believe the country should be spending more money on infrastructure; rivaling support for increased spending on K-12 spending;
  • The challenge is how to pay for the repairs and modernization needed. First most of those polled believe that state governments should be responsible for the funding of infrastructure improvement, rather than the federal government. Second, while a majority of Americans believe that taxes will have to be raised to pay for infrastructure improvements, none of the four proposals offered within the survey garnered more that 37% support.
  • Some 63% of those polled believe trucks move most of the nation’s goods – a three-point increase from 2014 – while 60% said they have a “favorable view” of the trucking industry.
  • Some 57% of those surveyed said trucking’s safety record was “excellent or good” with 91% saying car drivers are more likely to engage in risky behavior on the highways than truck drivers.
  • Some 69% of those surveyed oppose reducing highway speeds to improve safety and reduce pollution, with 63% opposed the installation of speed limiting devices on passenger vehicles. Yet more than half – 56% –favored mandating speed limiters for large trucks.
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