FMCSA’s Darling: I want to work with truckers; ATA’s Graves: Trucking to stay strong in ’16

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The American Trucking Associations’ annual Management Conference and Exhibition is taking place this week in Philadelphia. In addition to the bevy of news items stemming from the show this week, attendees also heard a state of the industry address from ATA President and CEO Bill Graves, along with an address from the head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Scott Darling.

Here’s a summary of both speakers’ remarks, with links to full coverage on Overdrive sister site CCJ:

Darling: FMCSA wants 2016 to be ‘a year of partnerships’ for agency, industry

Scott Darling, acting and presidentially nominated administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, told ATA attendees he’s looking for 2016 to be a “year of partnerships” between FMCSA and the carriers and drivers it regulates.

He cited the agency’s five-month hours-of-service restart study mandated by Congress as an example of such a partnership. The results of the study, he said, should be released in the coming months.

Darling also cited several other examples of regulator-industry partnerships:

  • A negotiated rulemaking for entry level driver training that is on schedule to be published by the end of the year.
  • A notice that will be published in the Federal Register this week to allow new compliance effective dates for the unified registration system.
  • A final rule to be published on electronic logging devices. The rule is designed to improve compliance which will save an estimated 20 lives and prevent 400 injuries due to crashes each year.
  • A safety and fitness notice of proposed rulemaking that will incorporate ongoing safety performance data and grading carriers based on their own performance. The agency will be seeking public input on this rule, he said.

Click here to read more coverage of Darling’s address. 

Graves: 2016 should be good to trucking, unless Washington interferes

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said that while 2015 was an OK year for carriers and owner-operators, 2016 should be better. But, he said, uncertainty in Washington could create turbulence for the industry.

“If there’s a boogeyman we need to be concerned about, look no farther than Washington,” said Graves. “Disarray within the House of Representatives could lead to all sorts of negative outcomes and unintended consequences for our economy. Government is not the enemy. Unfocused, unresponsive and overreaching government is the enemy.”

Graves pointed to the current political uncertainty as a potential reason for softer freight volumes in recent weeks and months, but said the United States is a growing nation in terms of people and products they consume and produce. “While other freight modal partners will continue to play supporting roles in moving this economy, the star of this show has been, is and will be the truck,” he said.

Click here to read more from Graves’ industry update 

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