ATA sets sights on speeding crackdown

The head of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) challenged federal and state motor vehicle safety officials to support his call for a nationwide crackdown on speeding cars and trucks.

“Speeding is, by everyone's account, one of the most prevalent contributing factors in traffic crashes on our nation's highways,” said William Canary, ATA president and chief executive officer. “Knowing this, why wouldn't we want to slow everyone down on our highways? It's simple: safe speeds save lives.”

In keynote remarks to the International Truck and Bus Safety Symposium at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Canary said that in nearly 30% of all fatal crashes in 2000, drivers were either exceeding posted speed limits or driving toofast for conditions. The speed-related crashes, according to federal highway safety reports, claimed more than 12,000 lives.

Canary called for increased funding and better targeting of federal safety programs, including the Highway Safety Grant program of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While the current NHTSA Section 402 program encourages occupant protection devices and reduces impaired driving, he said, “The trucking industry is concerned that strong, visible speed enforcement for cars and trucks may not be getting the focus and attention it deserves by NHTSA.”

He also said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP), though a generally successful truck and bus safety inspection program, is not putting enough emphasis on traffic safety efforts, particularly strong speed enforcement.

“More must be done to address the toll exacted by speeding drivers,” said ATA's Chairman David G McCorkle. In joining the challenge to federal and state motor vehicles officials to increase their enforcement of traffic laws, McCorkle also called for more attention to drivers following too closely, the most-often-cited unsafe driving act according to federal statistics.

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