Thursday, November 08 2018
ORLANDO, Fla.—We understand the challenges of an industry with a tarnished reputation because of the risks that appear on a daily basis on the roads. Most Americans don’t realize the importance of truck driving in our lives until major disasters or weather events occur and suddenly we can’t receive essential foods, medicines and many other indispensables required on our day-to-day.
Trucks are of significant importance both globally and nationally. This is an industry that carries our families and our businesses when trucks don’t move — the whole country stops moving.
Every day, millions of truck and professional truck drivers take charge to move America forward.
Now, according to the American Trucking Associations President and CEO, Mr. Chris Spear—the United States is witnessing the fastest growth the trucking industry has experienced in 20 years. “Trucking is the driving force behind the world’s #1 economy, and we want to keep it that way.” Spear said. For the last two years, ATA has been educating negotiators on how 76% of NAFTA freight relies on trucking, supporting more than 47,000 US trucking employees, including more than 31,000 dedicated U.S. truck drivers.
In his remarks at the annual Management Conference and Exhibition in Austin, Texas—he mentioned that in construction and factory activity for-hire truck tonnage is up nearly 8% year-to-date. American Trucking Trends shows the U.S. trucking industry generated more than $700 billion in economic activity last year, a 3.5% increase year over year. That accounts for an impressive 79% of the nation’s freight bill.
The chronic driver and technician shortage, and what he calls “erroneous claims” that trucks will soon become driverless has taken prominence in negotiating tables. Both ATA and FMCSA are working together to further develop the Department of Transportation’s 3.0 Automated Vehicle guidance, released earlier this month. Commercial vehicles do have a say in this debate, where improvements in safety, efficiency, and productivity can accelerate the voluntary adoption of driver-assist technologies.
Other industry challenges continue to grow such as:
The Drive-Safe Act allows drivers in all 48 states in the Continental U.S., under the age of 21 to operate within state lines, but not cross state borders, and that the bipartisan legislative proposal would allow those same young people to drive across state lines provided they receive comprehensive additional training. This federal legislation would require 400 hours of on-duty, apprenticeship-based training, including 240 hours of drive-time with an accompanying experienced driver in the cabin order for an 18 to 21-year-old to operate across state lines. “Beyond the goodwill that comes from engaging our nation’s youth, the fact is, we also need to attract the next generation of drivers and technicians.”— he added.
This initiative has been backed by the American Trucking Associations, according to its President and CEO.
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