A group of 31 trucking and trade associations penned a letter to Congress asking for lawmakers to put a stop to four controversial bills.
The September 16 letter was spearheaded by Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and industry trade groups including the United States Cattlemen’s Association, the Mid-West Truckers Association, and the Towing and Recovery Association of America.
The letter calls on lawmakers to oppose four pending trucking bills while they draft surface transportation reauthorization legislation. The letter argues that the group of bills would harm the trucking industry while having no positive impact on safety:
“…we write to express our opposition to a series of bills would impose tens-of-billions of dollars in unfunded mandates on American businesses engaged in trucking. Collectively, these proposals neglect the diverse operations and working conditions of our members and would mandate extremely costly and excessively burdensome one-size-fits-all requirements. Perhaps most concerning, these bills would do nothing to improve highway safety.”
The letter asks Congress to oppose the following four bills:
H.R. 1511/S. 665, the Stop Underrides Act — If passed, this bill would “require the installation of front, side, and rear underride guards on all trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) that exceeds 10,000 pounds and all single unit trucks with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds and a carriage that is more than 22 inches above the ground.” The letter argues that the measure is “simply unworkable”: “Certain trailers, including low boys and auto transporters, aren’t capable of being fitted with side or rear underride guards. The bill mandates front underride guards on single unit trucks, yet no front underride equipment is currently available on the market because the concept lacks any practicality. And the installation of side underride guards strong enough to achieve their supposed safety value would create serious operational challenges for drivers, and displace a significant amount of payload.”
S. 2033, the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019 — This bill would require commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) over 26,000 pounds be equipped with speed limiters set to 65 m.p.h. The letter points out that this “would effectively create dangerous speed differentials on roadways in 35 states” and “would do nothing to prevent 77% of all crashes involving heavy vehicles, because data reveals these incidents occur when the truck is traveling below 65 mph.”
H.R. 3773, the Safe Roads Act — This bill would mandate that all new CMVs be equipped with and utilize an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system. The letter writers say that the technology needs improvement and can create dangers for drivers. Additionally, because the legislation would require the systems on all commercial vehicles with a GVWR of at least 10,001 pounds, some pickup trucks or other heavy-duty vehicles could fall under the scope of the law.
H.R. 3781, the INSURANCE Act — This pending legislation would raise minimum liability coverage for motor carriers from $750,000 to over $4.9 million. The letter suggests that the current insurance requirements are already sufficient in almost all cases: “Studies have indicated the current minimum insurance level adequately covers damages in all but 0.06% of crashes. This is a clear sign today’s level of coverage is adequate.”
The letter concludes:
As has been made clear by the problematic implementation and roll-out of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, one-size-fits-all regulations inevitably give rise to expected and unforeseen challenges across a range of industries. Like the ELD mandate, we are concerned these four proposals will do nothing to improve highway safety, while forcing countless American businesses to spend billions-upon-billions of dollars on unproven technologies and exorbitant insurance premiums.
We encourage you to reject these proposals when developing the next surface transportation reauthorization.