For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. – Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, has released the following statement, reaffirming the Trucking Alliance priority objectives for 2019. Williams serves as president of the Trucking Alliance Board of Directors.
“The US trucking industry is indispensable to our economy and the standard of living we enjoy as Americans. Yet, tragically, our industry has too many large truck crashes; accidents that in the last reportable year, killed 4,761 people and injured another 145,000 on our roadways. Tragically, the number of truck drivers who lost their lives was the highest in 10 years.
“For an industry that wants to improve its image…look no further than these statistics. We must aggressively address these tragic figures. But how can we when the trucking industry will deliver even more freight in 2019 over highways that are even more congested?
“A first step is to reverse our priorities. Support progressive safety reforms that make sense for our country and citizens first, our industry second, and our companies third. Second, safety groups, legislators, regulators and all segments of our diverse industry should leave their respective corners, meet in the middle, and responsibly deal with the unprecedented challenges we face.
“For years Americans have received a great deal for what they pay to deliver goods. I am very proud of the millions of hardworking commercial truck drivers who make that happen. But we must adopt initiatives to improve the truck driver’s lifestyle. We must eliminate the chance that truck drivers and their exemplary work ethic will be used against them. For example, truck drivers shouldn’t carry the burden to make up for an inefficient supply chain. Too often, giving truck drivers more “flexibility” in their work day is simply code for “just get it there”.
“The Trucking Alliance was out front in 2011, supporting legislation to require electronic logging devices, or ELDs in all commercial trucks. In the year since the ELD Law finally took effect, the devices are already
improving a truck driver’s work environment. ELDs are making the supply chain more efficient. Most importantly, ELDs can help reverse the disturbing trend of large truck fatalities and save lives.
“In fact, ELDs should be required in all large trucks, regardless of commodity, length of haul or whether they operate in interstate or intrastate commerce. Anything short of mandatory use of ELDs is purely political, unfair and frankly, unsafe.
Improve Drug Testing
“Contrary to what you may think, like our Nation, our industry has a drug abuse problem. In fact, the Department of Transportation’s only required drug test for truck driver applicants is actually missing as many as nine of every 10 lifestyle drug users. We should utilize drug tests that verify an applicant has been drug free for at least 60 days. And we need a long awaited database to identify who has previously failed these drug tests. We must be able to assure the motoring public that our commercial drivers are properly rested, properly trained and drug and alcohol free.
Limit Truck Speeds
“Excessive truck speeds increase fatalities and the severity of injuries in large truck accidents. That’s why we must require large trucks to maintain reasonable speeds on all highways.
Adopt Truck Safety Technologies
“Forward collision warning systems are available on new trucks now. These systems can assist our drivers to avoid accidents, which is especially critical since distracted driving is so prevalent among the motoring public.
Compensate Truck Accident Victims
“Finally, we must meet our promise to the victims of large truck accidents. In 1980, Congress rightfully decided that a “commercial” motor carrier has a moral and ethical responsibility to compensate the victims of large truck crashes. Congress set the minimum motor carrier insurance limits almost 40 years ago. But those insurance limits remain the same today and they should be dramatically increased.
Eliminate All Large Truck Fatalities
“In summary, owning a trucking company or driving a piece of equipment for a living is not an entitlement. It is a privilege. With privileges come responsibilities. What we do is important. But how we do it is much more important. No longer should anybody defend the actions of those who don’t deserve to be on the road.
“That’s why it should be difficult for people to get into this industry. It will be increasingly hard to stay in this industry, as it should be. In so doing, we will have much safer highways for all and an economic opportunity to build a safe and efficient supply chain for the future.
“For that reason, the Trucking Alliance will continue to work with those stakeholders who believe that we can fully eliminate large truck fatalities. Our goal should be to achieve safety performance levels that are comparable with the US airline industry.
“Achieving that objective will require changes, and change is difficult. But let’s stop reminiscing about the way things used to be in trucking. Because, frankly, it hasn’t always been good. We have an opportunity to create a new paradigm. We must continue to build sustainable companies that can safely serve our Nation. By embracing the changes that are required of all of us…we will finally get the chance to properly compensate, respect and defend the work ethic of the American truck driver.”
About Steve Williams: Steve Williams is Chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. Maverick USA provides transportation solutions throughout the United States for customers in steel, building materials, flat glass as well as temperature controlled products throughout the United States, Canada, and to Mexico.
Steve is a founder of the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, also known as The Trucking Alliance, for which he serves as President of the Board of Directors. Williams is a former chairman of the American Trucking Associations, a former member of the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee, former chairman of the American Transportation Research Institute, three-time chairman of the Arkansas Trucking Association, and numerous other industry leadership positions.