The trucker-Driven safety agenda

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OOIDA’s membership is made up of some of the safest career truck drivers on our nation’s highways. Our average member has more than a quarter-century of trucking under his or her belt and more than two million miles (equivalent to 80 times around the Earth) without a reportable accident. They understand the importance of highway safety because they are on the highways every day.

Career truckers have seen the changes the industry has experienced over the past few decades. They are concerned about the future of trucking and its ability to be a place where men and women can build a career. This concern is borne out in the numbers. Every few months, 20 percent of the drivers working in the industry either leave their jobs and move to a different trucking company or leave the industry altogether. Unlike decades past, new truck drivers are not entering the industry to build a long-term career, but are simply entering the industry for a short time until something better comes along.

quoteSafety is not technology, it’s who is behind the wheel of the truck. It’s time to take safety seriously and put in place standards for training truck drivers.

This situation is having and will continue to have a significant negative impact on highway safety.  More experienced career truckers with safe driving records are often being replaced by new drivers with no experience – who are then in turn replaced by new drivers with no experience just a few months later when they leave the industry. This churn will result in more accidents, which in turn will lead to greater congestion, more fuel use, lost cargoes, and greater inefficiency in our nation’s freight transportation network. We can and must do better to make trucking once again a career that Americans want to join and stay in as a way to provide for their families. If we do not, the consequences will mean lower economic prosperity, reduced highway safety, and negative impacts for all Americans.

The same holds true for other needs across the highway safety spectrum. Vast improvements have been made in our nation’s highway safety infrastructure, but there is still more that can be done. Truckers see first-hand the shortage of truck parking across the country. They also encounter many passenger car drivers are not focused on driving safely around trucks, which leads to more accidents with deadly results.

Our motor carrier safety enforcement and regulatory system is structured in a way that does nothing to incentivize safe driving, missing a major opportunity to improve safety. Finally, the crashworthiness improvements in cars that have been so critical to saving lives have not made their way to the design of most trucks, leaving truckers vulnerable in accidents that they should survive.

The Four Major Building Blocks

Training New Truckers & Building Experience for Safety

Highway Safety Infrastructure, Truck Parking & Driver Education

Enforcement Efforts that Encourage Safe Driving

Addressing Crashworthiness