DAILY NEWS Jan 8, 2013 2:16 PM - 0 comments

ATA's safety agenda seeing 'substantive progress' since release: report

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ARLINGTON, Va. -- More than half of the 20 steps the American Trucking Associations deemed critical for reducing highway crashes on its previously-released Safety Agenda have seen “substantive progress,” according to a progress report released by the ATA today.

The report comes four years after ATA released its list of safety priorities and called on policymakers to do more to make trucks and roadways safer. The Safety Agenda was developed by ATA’s Safety Task Force and adopted by ATA’s board of directors to improve the performance of both commercial and non-commercial drivers, and to make vehicles and motor carriers safer.  

“ATA has been a vocal advocate for making common sense, data-supported, regulatory and legislative changes to improve the safety of our nation’s highways,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. “Regulators and lawmakers at the state and federal level have answered ATA’s calls in several areas, but there is still much more work to be done. For instance, though Congress has taken positive steps on electronic logging devices and on hair testing for drugs, ATA will continue to press for progress on these issues until meaningful changes are finally implemented.”

Through the end of 2012, several areas identified by ATA such as the safe use of technology, establishment of a national registry for certified medical examiners, and a system to pre-screen potential truck drivers have been the subject of “positive, substantial change,” according to the ATA.

Nine other areas – including improving truck parking, enactment of primary seat belt laws, establishment of programs to target aggressive driving behaviours, development of crashworthiness standards for large trucks, and the creation of a clearinghouse for driver drug and alcohol test results – “have seen some favourable progress, but still substantive changes have not yet been fully implemented,” the ATA said in a release.

The ATA maintains that there are still several areas where no meaningful headway has been made, including implementation of a national speed limit of 65 mph and speed limiters for all commercial vehicles and for passenger vehicles for drivers with certain traffic convictions. The ATA also attested that the federal truck safety program, along with many states, is moving in the wrong direction on truck-involved traffic enforcement interventions.

“We’re pleased that our state and federal safety partners have addressed or begun to address more than half of these actions to make commercial motor vehicles and their workplace safer, and remain committed to addressing all of these issues, and reversing negative trends, to further reduce highway crashes,” said ATA chairman Mike Card. “We hope our federal and state partners will continue to work with us to this end.”

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