Permanent hours-of-service fix, minimum driver age, highway funding top ATA agenda for 2015

Updated Mar 20, 2015
ATA’s Dave Osiecki said this week ATA’s 2015 lobbying agenda includes finding a long-term fix to the hours-of-service contention between FMCSA and the trucking industry.ATA’s Dave Osiecki said this week ATA’s 2015 lobbying agenda includes finding a long-term fix to the hours-of-service contention between FMCSA and the trucking industry.

Looking to build on the industry’s success in late 2014 in convincing Congress to suspend certain hours-of-service rules, American Trucking Associations’ Executive VP Dave Osiecki says his group hopes this year to find a permanent solution to the hours frustrations fleets and truck operators have faced in recent years.

Those unnecessary restrictions on fleets and drivers was creating safety risks and pushing more traffic onto the road in the morning hours,” Osiecki told attendees at the Technology Maintenance Council this week, where he laid out ATA’s 2015 lobbying agenda.

In addition to a more long-term hours-of-service fix, Osiecki says ATA will promote increasing fuel taxes to boost highway funding, building a national freight plan, lowering the legal age to obtain a CDL and dealing with federal emissions standards.

Here are quotes from Osiecki’s address on each topic:

Fuel tax increase: “[The Highway Trust Fund] has worked tremendously well for our industry and our country. We think it can continue to work well going forward but we have to find a funding mechanism that is long-term, sustainable. We are fighting an uphill battle, but we are going to continue to promote and increase in the fuel tax and other user fees as long as it is spread out among all highway users, not just the trucking industry.”

Strategic freight plan: “The plan that DOT is working on is somewhat meaningless unless there is funding behind it, We know the freight bottlenecks in this country and we want the freight program to focus highway dollars on those freight bottlenecks to keep our trucks moving and move freight in this country.”

Minimum age for drivers: “We all know the 18- to 21-year-old period is a time where we lose kids coming out of high school that don’t go to college but go to trade schools and into construction and other competing industries. Not every 18- or 19-year old should be behind the wheel of a truck, and we get that. We believe there is a way to lower the age conditionally as long as we have good training, oversight and monitoring of those folks.”

Emissions: “We are working with EPA and NHTSA to help shape this rule so the industry can live with it going forward. What we don’t want to see out of this is a technology-forcing standard for the engine given the changes we’ve already seen in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010.”

Safety Fitness Determination: “[A SFD rule] is not something we want to see happen fast because we think there are too many problems within the CSA program right now to wrap a rule around it that potentially affects the ability of carriers to operate.”

Speed limiters: “Seventy percent of the trucking industry currently governs their trucks. We want to require the use of a speed limiter against some top speed. I think we’ll see a proposed rule this year.”