US fleet exec takes safety message to Congress

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ARLINGTON, Va. — Jim Mullen, executive vice-president and general counsel of Werner Enterprises, addressed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation’s subcommittee on surface transportation, to highlight some of the industry’s safety initiatives.

“The trucking industry is justifiably proud of its commitment to safety,” Mullen said on behalf of the American Trucking Associations. “These investments in safety have yielded impressive dividends for the industry. Over the past decade, the number of large truck-related fatalities has dropped 21% and the large truck fatality rate has dropped 37%.”

Mullen said Werner itself has seen its preventable crashes reduced by 22% between 2007 and 2014.

“The trucking industry has a strong commitment to safety and an impressive record to show for it,” Mullen said. “Continued improvement will require a focus on the primary causes of crashes, especially driver behavior, and incentives for the voluntary adoption of progressive safety programs.”

He called on Congress to consider the following:

  • Advancing a long awaited rule requiring the use of speed limiters on large trucks;
  • Shifting from a vehicle-centric roadside inspection enforcement model to a more effective model centered on on-road traffic enforcement and driver behavior;
  • Incentives for the use of crash avoidance technology like lane departure warning systems and forward collision warning systems;
  • Timely publication of a strong and appropriate mandate for electronic logging devices;
  • Developing robust driver training rules focusing on performance and comprehension, not hours of education;
  • Reworking the Compliance, Safety, Accountability system to better focus on truly high-risk carriers, specifically by re-examining the role of crash data in CSA scores;
  • And finally, Congress must carefully monitor the ongoing studies of the suspended changes to the hours-of-service restart rules.


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