ATA asks Congress for speed limiters, other enviro initiatives

WASHINGTON — For once, U.S. truckers are asking federal politicians to follow in Canada’s treadprints.

The American Trucking Associations Tuesday asked Congress to support an itinerary of the trucking industry’s proposed environmental initiatives to reduce the nation’s fuel consumption, including mandatory speed limiters on all trucks.

To bolster that plan, the ATA also wants a national speed limit of 65 mph.

Mandatory speed limiters have already been legislated in Ontario and Quebec — to the delight of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and chagrin of many independent owner-operators.

Testifying on behalf of ATA before the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, ATA First Vice Chairman Tommy Hodges, Chairman of Shelbyville, Tenn.-based truckload carrier Titan Transfer, Inc. said its complete set of initiatives would "reduce fuel consumption by 86 billion gallons and reduce the carbon footprint of all vehicles by nearly a billion tons over the next 10 years."

Another controversial request is the approval of "more productive" long combination units, which would result in fewer truck miles traveled and save, according to ATA estimates, more than 20.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel.

US carriers look to Canada for leadership on fuel
saving initiatives like speed limiters and long combination vehicles.

The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, however, issued a release attacking ATA’s testimony, saying it "believes recommendations made under the guise of environmental sustainability at a hearing before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are meant to eliminate competition, not emissions."

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer says that "upping truck weights and mandating speed limiters in the name of sustainability is irresponsible and ridiculous.

"Those things have nothing to do with making trucking more ‘green’ and everything to do with adding more ‘green’ to the pockets of large corporations."

OOIDA contends effective environmental solutions begin with addressing inefficiencies in the supply chain such as time and fuel wasted by truckers waiting to be loaded or unloaded and the amount of empty miles truckers must drive.

Other highlights of the ATA’s enviro blueprint include:

Increase funding for the EPA’s SmartWay program; Support for national fuel economy standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks; financial incentives in the way of tax credits or grants to expedite the introduction of idling reduction equipment; invest in infrastructure improvements to fix the nation’s most critical bottlenecks, easing congestion and saving billions of gallons of fuel; and funds for research and development in new fuel-saving technologies.

On this side of the border, the Canadian Trucking Alliance has for years been pushing for similar measures under a strategy it cleverly calls, enviroTruck.


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