Testifying before a Senate subcommittee yesterday, Dan England, chairman & president of C.R. England Inc., and vice chairman of the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) stated that Congress should “raise the bar” for new companies entering trucking by requiring them to successfully complete training and an examination before being permitted to operate.
He also said new entrants should undergo an initial safety audit within six months of commencing operations - not 18 months, which is the current standard.
England also testified that improvements should be made to the federal government’s safety monitoring and measurement system, Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA).
“ATA has supported CSA from the outset,” said England. “However, the integrity of the system is hindered by underlying data quality and methodology issues. As such, its use as a system to reliably identify unsafe carriers and drivers is somewhat limited.”
In addition, he urged Congress to look beyond the current enforcement and compliance system as the primary means to improve truck safety. He specifically argued for the creation of a national system to provide employers with timely notification of drivers’ moving violations and a drug and alcohol test result clearinghouse. England said these tools would help “leverage the size and power of the industry to achieve the mutual objective of improving highway safety.”
England also reiterated ATA’s support of a federal mandate for electronic logging devices (ELDs). However, he said such a mandate should be coupled with retention of the current hours-of-service (HOS) rules. He said the industry’s safety record has improved “dramatically” since the current HOS regs were put in place in 2004. Given that progress, according to England, the most appropriate course of action is to improve compliance with the current rules, rather than change them, by mandating electronic logging devices.
Lastly, England pointed out the need to broaden the focus of truck safety initiatives to get at the most prevalent causes of truck crashes, stating that “the single largest factor impacting truck safety is the behavior of other motorists, hence, focusing almost exclusively on motor carriers and their drivers directs attention to a small part of the equation.”
To read England’s full testimony, click here.