For the Record
Trucking groups find solidarity on truck weight
The American Trucking Associations board of directors Oct. 18 voted to expand ATA’s policy on truck productivity to endorse an option for an 88,000-pound five-axle combination with enhanced braking capability. ATA’s policy since 2006 has been to support 97,000-pound six-axle combinations, and the association also favors harmonization of regulations governing longer-combination vehicles.
In a directly related action, the Truckload Carriers Association’s board approved a two-tiered truck productivity policy that supports 88,000 pounds on five axles as well as 97,000 pounds on six axles.
“The trucking industry, like any family, sometimes takes awhile to reach a consensus, but we’re happy that we have been able to bring our respective policies on truck productivity in line,” said ATA President Bill Graves. “It is critical that we petition our elected leaders with one voice, and this brings us closer to our industry unity.”
“Considering all of the challenges we face as an industry, it should always be our priority to find common ground on as many issues as possible,” said TCA President Chris Burruss.
Studies have shown that more productive trucks are safer, more efficient and “greener” than conventional combinations without causing more wear and tear on roads, said new ATA Chairman Dan England. “Now that we and TCA have come together on this issue, we’re in a better position to continue to make that case to policymakers.”
Truckers urged to use social media to be heard
Truckers can use social media to have their voices heard in fighting federal regulations, said Trans Products/Trans Services Regulatory Manager Rich Wilson, at a panel discussion at the first annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention Oct. 15 in Tunica, Miss.
“Fight the bureaucrats with bureaucracy,” Wilson said in responding to driver frustration with numerous new rules from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and a feeling of powerlessness to do anything about them.
“There are 13 million voices in the United States with CDLs in their back pocket,” Wilson said. “Get enough people in there and start talking” and drivers could have a measurable effect on regulatory planning.
The convention, organized by Allen and Donna Smith of the Truth About Trucking organization, attracted approximately 200 drivers, owner-operators and industry participants.
Communication and networking tools can be effective in spreading a message, promoting a business and sharing information, said Landon Middleton, CEO of Ultimate Marketing Solutions, who manages social media campaigns for Truckers Matter advocacy group. “Facebook is where people are choosing to do life with each other,” he said, citing statistics that showed the online social site accounts for 15 percent of all world Internet traffic. “As a business owner, or someone with a passionate message, doesn’t it make sense that I take advantage of that?”