WASHINGTON, D.C. — Independent truckers in the US say they won’t support the trucking industry’s call for longer, heavier trucks and the mandatory use of speed limiters.
The statement was in response to an American Trucking Associations (ATA) presentation in favour of heavier and longer combination vehicles as well as speed limiter legislation. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) accused the ATA of “greenwashing” members of a US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, by touting the environmental benefits of longer/heavier vehicles and mandatory speed limiters.
“Upping truck weights and mandating speed limiters in the name of sustainability is irresponsible and ridiculous,” said OOIDA executive vice-president, Todd Spencer. “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 said a more effective strategy would be to target inefficiencies in the supply chain, particularly wait times at customer facilities and the amount of empty miles truckers must currently drive. According to OOIDA, those two items alone cost the US trucking industry US$5.7 billion per year.
“We support efforts to clean up our environment, but not at the expense of highway safety or crippling competition. Those factors more than offset any theoretical productivity or environmental gains,” said Spencer. “The air isn’t made cleaner by fouling it with the smoke of powerful economic interests.”
For its part, the ATA says its recommendations will reduce the industry’s fuel consumption by 86 billion gallons per year, all while reducing the industry’s carbon footprint by a billion tonnes over the next decade.
Other recommendations included: a 65 mph national speed limit; increased funding for the EPA SmartWay program; new fuel economy standards for trucks; rebates for anti-idling systems; infrastructure improvements where bottlenecks occur; and funding research and development into fuel-saving devices and equipment.
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