Editorial: A Call to Arms for Trucking

There’s no shortage of issues that will shape the future of trucking.

And in his state of the industry address, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear outlined a plan of attack.

First up is California where prescriptive regulations on when truck drivers must take meal and rest breaks has created confusion and unnecessary litigation on an issue that should be the purview of laws regulating interstate commerce.

“This is an issue we have to win, and we will,” Spear said.

Next up is infrastructure and the need for a dedicated, sustainable source of funding.

Tax reform is also taking the spotlight with President Donald Trump using trucking as a backdrop in Harrisburg, Pa., for the introduction of a proposal that would slash the corporate tax rate and eliminate the estate tax.

“That’s your money,” Spear said. “And with it, you will be empowered to invest more in your employees, your equipment and the future growth of your businesses.”

On the issue of trade, ATA joined counterparts in Canada and Mexico to underscore the importance of preserving key provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The development of new autonomous vehicle technologies is creating opportunities for ATA and its member companies to help shape federal policies and also to implement systems.

“Innovation is happening whether we like it or not,” Spear said.

A mandate requiring most truck drivers to use electronic logging devices is slated to take effect on Dec. 18 despite attempts by opponents to delay implementation of the long-debated measure.

“It is now time to move forward,” Spear said. “ELD technology removes one’s ability to exceed the legal hours of service, ushering in a safe, efficient and fair playing field for the nation’s trucking industry.”

While ATA supports policies that clearly have benefits for trucking, such as universal recognition of security credentials, lowering carbon emissions, improving drug testing and screening processes, reducing highway congestion, and making roadways safer, Spear said the federation will “call out federal policies that fall short of their intended goals,” including a proposal to require speed limiters on commercial vehicles only and inflexible test standards for sleep apnea.

At the state level, ATA is tackling other important issues, including protecting the status of independent contractors and fighting against the use of tolls on existing roads and bridges.

“We have a lot of roadwork ahead,” Spear concluded and issued a call to arms. “To build trucking’s future, we need to stop talking about problems and start addressing them.”