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ATA to NHTSA: Highway Safety Resources Should Focus on Driver Behavior

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) encouraged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to focus on driver behavior as a top safety priority in its 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. Most of ATA’s recommendations are part of the progressive safety agenda it adopted in 2008.

In comments filed Jan. 5, 2010, ATA told NHTSA that distracted driving, speeding and aggressive driving are all dangerous behaviors, particularly as highway congestion worsens as a result of U.S. freight volume growing faster than highway capacity. Congestion is a major factor in highway safety because it is particularly difficult for on-board safety systems to function properly at low speeds and in close-following conditions.

To combat driver-related safety risks, ATA expressed support of more consistent and uniform requirements from state to state on driver licensing and graduated driver licensing for non-commercial teen drivers, as recommended in ATA’s 18-point safety agenda. ATA supports education and enforcement programs, such as Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) that targets the problem behaviors of both passenger and commercial motor vehicle drivers.

ATA also voiced support for legislation to improve traffic safety through safer driving speeds. The ATA recommended reinstating a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles and electronically governing the speed of all Class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 to 65 mph or less. ATA recommended that states should also consider the use of speed limiters on the passenger vehicles of drivers with certain driving convictions.

In addition to the recommendations above, “in the future, NHTSA should ensure that all regulatory activities are harmonized with other government agencies so that they do not combine with other regulatory initiatives to create standards that are technologically infeasible or economically impractical,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA Senior Vice President for Policy & Regulatory Affairs.

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