The American Trucking Associations (ATA) applauds the Obama administration for its efforts to make permanent two pilot programs that grant more productive trucks access to Interstate highways in Maine and Vermont.
“We greatly appreciate the president’s support for changes that will improve safety and economic productivity,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “Existing restrictions on truck weight limits constrain the trucking industry’s efforts to reduce crashes, help our customers to remain competitive in global markets, and lower our carbon footprint.”
Class of roadway is a leading indicator in truck-involved fatal crashes, and vehicle weight has not been shown to be a contributing crash factor. Allowing more productive trucks to use Interstates instead of forcing them to use more accident-prone secondary roads will improve safety. In 2009, the number of fatalities in truck-involved crashes reached a record low in a continuing trend that can be expected to accelerate if size and weight reform is accomplished. Safety would improve because truck miles traveled would grow more slowly, resulting in less crash exposure.
Operating more productive vehicles on Interstates also allows companies to deliver goods while making fewer trips, resulting in less costly freight transportation and greater economic productivity. With US freight tonnage expected to grow 25% by 2021, more productive trucks are needed to accommodate this increase. Truck is the dominant mode of transportation in the supply chain, hauling nearly 70% of freight tonnage in the United States, and nearly 100% of consumer products.
The US Environmental Protection Agency identified the use of more productive trucks as an effective strategy to reduce vehicle emissions as part of its SmartWay Transport Partnership Program. Truck size and weight reform will increase fuel efficiency by helping reduce traffic congestion and because fewer trips are needed to deliver the same amount of freight.
ATA urges Congress to support safer highways and a better environment in Maine and Vermont by agreeing to the president’s request to make the pilot programs permanent.