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Transportation


Transportation Policy

The economy and security of the nation require transportation services and facilities to provide for its need and growth.  These transportation services and facilities are best developed and maintained under private ownership with equality of treatment by government for all modes.

It is imperative that all transportation modes, particularly the essential common carriers, operate under laws, regulations, and policies fostering a healthy business climate and providing for competitive opportunities that preserve the advantages of each mode for the public good.  Such laws, regulations, and policies should assure adequate public protection against interruptions in transportation that impede the supply of products or services and affect the safety, health, and welfare of the public.

TCA wholeheartedly supports the National Transportation Policy (49 U.S.C. Section 10101) but insists that there be full enforcement and administration of all sections of the policy, as follows:

...to ensure the development, coordination, and preservation of a transportation system that meets the transportation needs of the United States, including the United States Postal Service and national defense, it is the policy of the United States Government to provide for the impartial regulation of the modes of transportation subject to this subtitle, and in regulating those modes:

  1. To recognize and preserve the inherent advantage of each mode of transportation;
  2. To promote safe, adequate, economical, and efficient transportation;
  3. To encourage sound economic conditions in transportation, including sound economic conditions among carriers;
  4. To encourage the establishment and maintenance of reasonable rates for transportation without unreasonable discrimination or unfair or destructive competitive practices;
  5. To cooperate with each state and the officials of each state on transportation matters;
  6. To encourage fair wages and working conditions in the transportation industry; and . . . 
  7. With respect to transportation of property by motor carrier, to promote competitive and efficient transportation services in order to:
  • Meet the needs of shippers, receivers, and consumers;
  • Allow a variety of quality and price options to meet changing market demands and the diverse requirements of the shipping public;
  • Allow the most productive use of equipment and energy resources;
  • Enable efficient and well-managed carriers to earn adequate profits, attract capital, and maintain fair wages and working conditions;
  • Provide and maintain service to small communities and small shippers;
  • Improve and maintain a sound, safe, and competitive privately-owned motor carrier system;
  • Promote greater participation by minorities in the motor carrier system; and
  • Promote intermodal transportation.

Government agencies should exercise all powers granted by Congress to bring about the development, coordination, and preservation of transportation in accordance with the national transportation policy.  Data collection and financial reporting should not be required by state or federal law, but carriers are encouraged to participate in voluntary data collection efforts for benchmarking purposes.

TCA will evaluate and monitor the official actions of ICC Commissioners and their staff and insure appropriate input into the nomination and appointment selection of qualified Commissioners and their staff who demonstrate the knowledge of and commitment to carrying out their responsibilities under the law.

Amended June 21, 1995

Conversion to Metric System

To make United States industries more compatible and competitive with international business, including our regional partners under the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement, TCA recognizes and supports the conversion of weights and measures to the internationally accepted metric system. In recognition of the cost and problems involved in converting an entire country to this system, TCA urges the federal, state, and local governments to proceed with such conversion in the most rational and efficient method, taking into consideration and minimizing the costs and effects of such a conversion on individual companies and persons.

Adopted February 10, 1991
Amended October 20, 1991

Government Traffic

Federal agencies, in procuring transportation services, should be required to use, at fair and reasonable rates, carriers subject to economic regulation by federal or state governments.  Federal agencies should require contractors needing to purchase transportation to use carrier services subject to economic regulation by government in carrying out their contractual obligations.  Federal agencies should be required to be fair, reasonable, and equitable when promulgating rules and regulations governing the use of carriers by the federal government.

Insurance

A sound transportation system requires adequate insurance to cover potential liability exposure risks. These include public liability and property damage, workman's compensation, cargo loss and damage, and umbrella or excess coverage above the retention sometimes used by self-insurers.

  • As national policy, motor carriers should be required to have liability coverage adequate to protect the public, at reasonable minimum limit levels.
  • Liability insurance should be available at reasonable and relatively stable rates.  Those rates should be reflective of the claims and safety experience of the motor carrier.  Policies should not be cancelled without adequate notice to the insured.  Unusual and arbitrary exclusions should be discouraged.  State assigned risk pools should at least provide coverage to meet Federally-imposed minimums.  Assigned risk pools should be self-supporting for the claims of its policyholders.
  • Congress should clarify the legal definition of “sudden and accidental” environmental damage, to permit insurance companies to assess the risk and provide adequate insurance.
  • The insurance industry must avoid unreasonable increases in premiums or arbitrary cancellations if such actions threaten to disrupt interstate commerce.
  • Cooperation between the insurance and trucking industries is based upon mutual trust.  Financial and operating data of both industries must be mutually shared.
  • A motor carrier should be allowed to self-insure under certain controlled conditions if it can show an ability to meet its obligations.  Regulations and procedures for self-insurance should be uniform among the various controlling agencies.
  • Carriers should be permitted to use surcharges to recoup their insurance costs.  Carriers should be permitted to exclude from the computation of their gross revenues, the revenues they derive from their surcharges.  The revenues received from the surcharges should inure to the benefit of the person actually incurring the expense.
  • Motor carriers should not be required to purchase or maintain insurance coverage, such as uninsured motorist coverage, that is unnecessary or duplicative.

Research & Development

Our nation's ability to compete in the world market and to defend our interests at home and abroad is contingent upon a modern efficient national transportation system.  This depends upon a coordinated, comprehensive transportation research and development program.

The trucking industry has a crucial role in establishing the research agenda, goals, and priorities.  TCA supports government and industry initiatives, such as those aimed at enhancing cooperative research and development efforts among government and industry bodies.

Tort Reform

TCA supports reasonable tort reform measures on both the federal and state levels. The injured party should not be compensated beyond the level of his or her injuries; nor should the party causing the injury be punished beyond the portion of the plaintiff's injuries and losses for which he or she is responsible.

Excessive litigation costs and court awards increase the costs of essential products and services for all American businesses and consumers. In recent years, the transportation industry has been made aware of the effects of these factors through the cost to trucking companies of federally mandated insurance. While litigation costs are not the only reason for the unjustified increase in insurance premiums, they have been a major factor.

A party's liability should be based on its comparative responsibility for the injury suffered. The concept of joint and several liability should be eliminated.

There are other principles of tort reform which ITCC should also support and seek to have enacted:

  • A ceiling should be placed on awards for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, and on awards of punitive damages. Further, awards of punitive damages should be limited to instances where the defendant's actions are shown to be reckless or involve gross misconduct;
  • Federal and state laws should be revised to encourage the use of alternative dispute settlement procedures. These procedures may include arbitration or other expedited settlement procedures. The use of these procedures reduces the litigation costs of all parties and is more likely to result in dispute settlements that are rationally related to the injury of the plaintiff and the responsibility of the defendant;
  • Federal and state laws should be revised to allow for periodic payment of awards of non-economic or future losses above a certain level;
  • Any money received by a plaintiff for the loss or injury complained of, from any collateral source, shall be admissible before a jury in any action seeking compensation for that loss or injury. Awards to plaintiffs for loss or injury should be reduced by the amount of any payment to plaintiff from any other source intended to compensate him or her for the same loss or injury;
  • Courts should be able to impose sanctions against attorneys who bring frivolous suits, offer frivolous defenses, or take any other unwarranted action intended to unnecessarily delay the legal proceedings or increase litigation costs; and
  • Principles of comparative fault should be adopted that bar a plaintiff's case if that plaintiff is substantially negligent or at fault.

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