ARLINGTON, VA (March 23, 2018) – The United States Congress recently released an omnibus spending bill that includes several unsafe riders that only serve to exacerbate the worsening trends in trucking. With truck crashes continuing to rise, and more and more people incurring injuries and dying because of truck crashes, we urge lawmakers to do the right thing: promote data-driven policies that will actually improve truck safety.
Unfortunately, the legislation includes language that grants New Hampshire a 99,000-lb weight exemption and North Dakota a 129,000-lb weight exemptions – both far in excess of the federal weight limit of 80,000lbs. These state exemptions will not lead to fewer trucks on those states’ roads but rather more states asking for weight-based exemptions in the future and more funding required to repair our crumbling infrastructure. Most importantly, these heavier trucks will greatly increase the crash severity of any potential collision.
The Truck Safety Coalition is also disappointed that the omnibus legislation includes a section that exempts operators of commercial motor vehicles hauling livestock or insects from a rule requiring the use of an Electronic Logging Device. Considering that livestock haulers are already included in the FMCSA’s interpretation of the 150-air mile exemption to Hours of Service rules for agricultural commodities, there is no justification for even more flexibility to a life-saving rule that underwent extensive study and review. This new exemption will further complicate enforcement efforts, and it is as unnecessary as it is unsafe. Those pushing for this ELD exemption have failed to provide any data to back up their claim that ELD’s adversely affect their operations or that the two years of notice for this rule was insufficient for them to be in compliance by December of 2017.
We hope that Members of Congress will stop trying to use the appropriations process as a back door to include unpopular and unsafe proposals that jeopardize public safety. Such policies, like changes to truck size and weight limits and alterations to HOS regulations, should be subject to open debate, research, and analysis.