Issues & Policies

TCA’s leadership and staff track numerous issues that are critical to the success of companies working in the truckload industry. In addition to keeping members informed on these issues, TCA collectively sets policies reflecting the members’ perspective to guide the association’s operating, outreach, and advocacy efforts.

Industry Issues

Get background information, updates, and sources for more details on important regulatory and legislative issues affecting the truckload industry.

Recent Activity

CSA Logo The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program that is in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is a safety enforcement system that has caused great concern to trucking carriers since its implementation in 2010. Since CSA has redefined the way every motor carrier performs its daily safety functions, questions continue to surround the accuracy of the measurement systems implemented for motor carriers.

In January 2015, the FMCSA concluded that including a “crash accountability” factor into its CSA program would not affect scores and would actually be too difficult, complicated, and costly. Truck carrier organizations like the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have released statements of disapproval with this decision. The stance of these organizations is that the CSA has a major fairness issue if crash fault assignment is not determined. Drivers should not be penalized or judged unfairly by reasonably unavoidable crashes, like when a drunk driver rear ends a truck or a motorist hits a carrier head on. Additionally, the CSA rankings are made public, so a biased report further ruins the reputation of a company and a driver. The OOIDA statement on the matter reads, “If the [FMCSA] agency is providing information to the public that is to be used to make safety decisions or conclusions, that information should be relevant, accurate and as complete as humanly possible.”

At the end of 2014, a coalition of transportation trade groups wrote to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting that the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores be made private instead of public. The reason given for this request was based on recent government research that found that the scores derived from the SMS are unreliable. The report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said, “FMCSA lacks sufficient safety performance information to reliably compare them with other carriers.” It went on to report that the lack of this crucial information “creates the likelihood that many SMS scores do not represent an accurate or precise safety assessment for a carrier.”

Revisions to the CSA have been ongoing, but most recently a major revision was submitted for review in October 2014. This revision seeks to correct the safety fitness determination process for trucking companies. The new rating process will no longer be based on relative comparisons or groupings, but instead it will focus on roadside inspection data and traditional compliance reviews, creating an “absolute” carrier score. This revision, or Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), is still being assessed, but if it passes scrutiny, it will be published in the 2015 Fiscal Year.

In 2015, FMSCA also plans to carry out “phase three” of the CSA program, or their final series of safety interventions, and they intend to review the severity ratings implemented within CSA.

Background

FMCSA developed its CSA program to replace SafeStat. The goal of CSA is to reduce crashes by increasing FMCSA contact with carriers and drivers, identifying driver and carrier high risk activities, and correcting such behaviors. FMCSA began evaluating carriers using CSA’s safety measurement system (SMS) in 2010. CSA scores (with the exception of those in the Cargo-Related and Crash Indicator BASICs) are now publicly available.

The effect of this rulemaking is to reduce crashes of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) that result in death, injuries, and property damage on U.S. highways, by more effectively using FMCSA data and resources to identify unfit motor carriers and remove them from the Nation’s roadways.

Many problems exist with this much maligned program, but the results are relevant. Driver and vehicle violation rates continue their downward trends and carriers are embracing the availability of their safety data and the opportunity to make their operations safer.

Additional Information

Recent Activity

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has found distracted drivers to be the 10th ranking critical concern for the trucking industry in 2014. This is the first time distracted driving has made the top industry issue prioritization list.

CSA Logo On December 2, 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a final rule banning the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The rule became effective January 3, 2012, and prohibits drivers from reaching for, holding, texting or dialing a mobile telephone while driving a CMV. The ban applies when the vehicle is in operation, is temporarily stopped on the highway for traffic, or is waiting at a stoplight, stop sign, or other traffic control device. Hands-free use of a mobile telephone is permitted with a wireless earpiece or through one-touch dialing and operation of the speakerphone function. The rule further states that motor carriers and employers are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to use hand-held mobile telephones while operating the vehicle. Motor carriers that do not adhere to this provision will be fined a maximum penalty of $11,000. Drivers who violate the restriction will face a fine of up to $2,750 per violation.

The final rule is available here.

Background

As technology use has increased, particularly text messaging, the issue of distracted driving has been pushed to the forefront of our industry. Research shows that CMV drivers that text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event, like a car crash, than those who do not text. The texting drivers, on average stopped looking at the road for 4.6 seconds, approximating the length of a football field when driving 55mph. Similarly, drivers dialing a mobile phone were six times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event. Due to this data and regulatory interpretation, the Department of Transportation and the FMCSA have been working since 2009 to eliminate cell phone use by commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Additional Information

The health and wellness of professional truck drivers is of supreme concern and was ranked as the 8th most important issue in the industry by contributors to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). In January 2014, a study was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine titled “Obesity and Other Risk Factors:

The National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury.” Over 1,600 long-haul drivers were surveyed and results indicated that 88% of drivers display at least one chronic disease risk factor such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, and/or poor sleep practices.

In a survey conducted by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) in 2014, 56% of its member companies reported that they currently do not have a driver-focused health-and-wellness program.

Studies

Recent Activity

CSA LogoThe trucking industry is down an estimated 35,000 drivers since the conclusion of the Great Recession and the steady recovery of the economy. According to a projection by the American Trucking Association (ATA), the industry could be short 240,000 qualified drivers by the year 2022. The rise of consumer demand in the last few years has effected an increase in freight production, but manpower has failed to match this positive trend.

The turnover rate for trucking companies has also risen to 97% as of February 2015. This means for every 100 people hired, 97 people quit. For some larger truckload carriers this rate is even higher, signifying that drivers are leaving and replacements are not available. Compounding the shortage of qualified drivers, this industry-wide turnover rate pressures shipping costs to rise and carriers to rejuvenate their hiring techniques.

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has taken serious note of this workforce void and hosted their 12th Annual Recruitment and Retention Conference February 4-6, 2015. This strategic meeting was designed for managers in the trucking industry to learn methods to increase their success finding and engaging the most valuable drivers. Tactics such as these are necessary in the current environment to increase driver numbers.

Background

A shortage of qualified truck drivers is debilitating the trucking industry and has been an issue of concern for years. In the last decade, 2009 was the only year where an overall demand for truckers was low and capacity rates were met. This corresponded with the recession and was an anomaly within the shortage trend.

With an aging workforce, a void in younger driver sign up, an increase of retiring drivers, long periods away from home, few pay incentives, and stricter driving laws, membership in the trucking industry is low. The average age of a truck driver is 55, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, a survey by the ATA found that 90% of carriers could not find enough drivers to meet the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) trucking criteria. The entry-level driver training requirements implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also restricts driver enrolment and maintenance. These mandates oblige employers to instruct drivers about: driver qualification requirements (medical exams, responsibilities, orders, loss of driving privileges), hours of service (HOS) rules, driver wellness (health maintenance, avoiding excessive use of alcohol), and finally whistleblower protection (the right of an employee to question the safety practices of an employer without reproof). These strict training dictates also make it difficult to retain and recruit drivers.

To combat this driver shortage, carrier companies have begun to offer incentives like signing bonuses and coverage of licensing costs. The aim of these schemes is to decrease vacancies and increase overall productivity within the industry. Yet, in spite of these measures, there are still not enough skilled new drivers signing up. In fact, Bob Costello, chief economist for the ATA, says, “As the industry starts to haul more because demand goes up, we’ll need to add more drivers – nearly 100,000 annually over the next decade – in order to keep pace.”

Shipping rate escalation and thus inflation is the anticipated result of this truck driver shortage. In August 2014, the shipping rate per mile on long-term contracts rose 8%. This increase is trickling down to the consumer, and making the demand to shore up the driver shortage even greater.

Additional Information

Recent Activity

economy LogoThe adage, “If you bought it, a truck brought it,” holds true. The economy is understandably a critical concern of the trucking industry because the flux of the market and the habits of consumers are heavily relied upon by truckers. Though the economy is recognized by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) as the 9th trucking industry issue of priority, this ranking has quickly fallen from the number one issue over the last couple years. Overall, the decrease in importance of this issue is a positive economic indicator and a display of the resiliency of the trucking industry.

Background

The Great Recession in America lasted 18 months, from December 2007 to June 2009, according to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research. During this time a subprime mortgage crisis as well as a financial crisis worked together to stymy consumer spending and consequentially freight transit. In 2009, the spending for logistics in the GDP plummeted to 7.7%, the lowest level on record. The trucking industry comprises 78% of the transportation section within logistic costs, and it felt a 20.3% decline in expenditure.

In spite of this massive decline and knock to the industry, nearly 70% of all freight tonnage transported in the United States was moved by trucks in 2013. Projections estimate that this percentage will only increase within the next 10 years, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics likewise supports growth with the projection that consumer spending will steadily rise 2.6% every year through 2022.

This is great news for the economy as well as the trucking industry, but the new problem becomes: who is going to drive all of this freight. There is an extreme driver shortage within trucking, totaling an estimated 35,000 person deficit in 2014. According to a projection by the American Trucking Association (ATA), the industry could be short 240,000 qualified drivers by the year 2022. The rise of consumer demand in the last few years has effected an increase in freight production, but manpower has failed to match this positive trend. Ultimately, the improvement of the economy relies heavily on trucking and trucking relies heavily on the economy.

Additional Information

Recent Activity

ELD LogoThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a proposal on March 13, 2014, necessitating commercial trucking and busing companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). This Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) supersedes the 2011 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), incorporating and addressing concerns over the first ELD proposed rule in 2012’s highway reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21; H.R.4348). This SNPRM would improve the quality of logbook data and reduce the paper waste associated with HOS recordkeeping.

On the topic of this proposal, Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx said, “By leveraging innovative technology with Electronic Logging Devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors.” Due to the fact that ELDs make it more difficult for drivers to falsify their HOS, these devices will ultimately reduce the number of crashes by fatigued truck drivers. Analyses estimate that annually this electronic logging system will prevent 20 fatal accidents and 434 injuries, totaling a safety benefit of $394.8 million.

The SNPRM includes provisions to respect driver privacy, safeguard drivers from harassment, and increase the efficiency of law enforcement and inspectors reviewing driver logs. ELD records will be kept by motor carriers and drivers, and will only be made available to authorities during roadside inspections, compliance reviews, and post-crash investigations. The proposal explicitly prohibits carrier owners from using ELD data to harass drivers, or coerce drivers into violating HOS regulations by driving fatigued. Finally, ELDs make it extremely difficult to falsify records, so personnel that review this data are no longer tasked with fact checking, increasing the competence and productive time use of inspectors.

Background

On Tuesday, February 1, 2011, FMCSA issued through the Federal Register an NPRM mandating Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBR) for all commercial motor vehicles (CMV) that operate in interstate commerce. The proposal affected all motor carriers that previously used logbooks to comply with HOS regulations, and it provided relief from delivering certain HOS supporting documents to verify driving time. This was the second major EOBR rulemaking issued by FMCSA, behind the final rule issued in April 2010. The first ruling required carriers demonstrating a 10 percent or greater violation rate for certain HOS regulations during a compliance review to install EOBRs in all of their CMVs and use them for two years. This was voided with the 2011 NPRM.

The Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA’s) Board of Directors voted to adopt a policy supporting ELDs in March 2011. The Board used the term “ELDs” instead of “EOBRs” to differentiate between devices used solely for HOS logging purposes (ELDs) and those that can track hard braking, acceleration, and other safety-critical events (EOBRs).

On July 6, 2012, the most recent highway reauthorization bill, MAP-21; H.R.4348 was passed into law. Included in the new highway bill is a provision that mandates ELDs in CMVs. The provision tasks the Department of Transportation (DOT) with regulating the use of ELDs to record HOS in CMVs.

Additional Information

Recent Activity

The HOS rule under which the industry currently operates was first issued in 2005. It was reissued as an interim final rule in 2007, as a final rule in 2008, and after legal challenges, it was settled that a new final rule would be issued by July 26, 2011. The agency missed its deadline and did not produce the new final rule until December 22, 2011.

On December 16, 2014, President Obama enacted a $1 trillion “cromnibus” spending bill which included a suspension of certain Hours of Service (HOS) rules for truck drivers for one year. Truck drivers no longer need to take at least two nights’ rest from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. during their weekly work hours nor are they restricted to taking a 34 hour restart period within 7 days or 168 hours. This was a boon for industry lobbying organizations like the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).

Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has an ongoing study to investigate the effect of fatigue on safety performance levels of truck drivers. Truck drivers who take two nighttime rest periods during their 34-hour restart break are being compared to drivers who take less than two rest periods during their restart break. Drivers are recruited and paid to navigate their usual route while being assessed on their fatigue, level of alertness, safety during critical events, and overall health. Results from this study will improve knowledge and future legislation concerning rest periods and driver safety.

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) quantified the impacts of the FMCSA’s HOS rules in its 2013 article Operational and Economic Impacts of the New Hours of Service. The report indicated that 80% of motor carriers show a loss of productivity due to the new rules and driver pay impacts were estimated to vary from $1.6 billion to $3.9 billion annually. The ATRI also indicated that HOS issues ranked #1 in their data on industry issues prioritization.

Background

A summary of the long-anticipated new final rule on hours of service is as follows:

  • The final rule retained an 11-hour daily driving limit. Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window.
  • The HOS final rule reduced by 12 hours the maximum time a truck driver can work within a week. Previously, truck drivers could work up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new rule limits a driver’s work week to 60 hours after seven consecutive days and 70 hours after eight consecutive days.
  • To maximize their weekly work hours, truck drivers were required to take at least two nights’ rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most—from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. This rest requirement is part of a “34-hour restart” provision that mandated drivers restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. The final rule allowed drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.*
  • Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by three or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and drivers could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.
  • Commercial truck drivers and companies must comply with the HOS final rule by July 1, 2013.

*The enforcement of this requirement was suspended by The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, legislated on December 16, 2014.

A summary of the FMCSA’s HOS final rule is available here.
The FMCSA’s most recent HOS final rule as it appears in the Federal Register is available here.

Prior to the 2011 new HOS rule, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) governing driver HOS in December 2010. Under the proposal, drivers would have been limited to driving either 10 or 11 hours within a given window. The standard driving period would be 14 hours, but drivers were allowed to extend the window to 16 hours twice a week to accommodate additional rest or unanticipated driving conditions. Drivers would have been allowed to drive only if seven or fewer hours had passed since their last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. The 34-hour restart would be retained but had to include two periods between midnight and 6 a.m., to be used once every seven days or 168 hours.

Challenges to FMCSA’s new HOS rule have been ongoing. On March 15, 2012, ATA filed a statement of issues with the Court identifying the four “arbitrary and capricious” provisions in the HOS rule to be challenged. Those provisions included: the 34-hour restart requiring two consecutive rest periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.; the requirement that the restart be limited to one use per week; the specification that a mandatory 30-minute break from driving also exclude all other on-duty activity; and narrowing, without prior notice, certain exceptions to driver-time regulations for local delivery drivers.

Additional Information

Recent Activity

Infrastructure LogoThere are nearly 4 million miles of road throughout the United States that need to be maintained and developed to transport the goods to keep this nation running. On February 2, 2015, President Obama proposed a plan for $478 billion to go towards fixing the nation’s declining infrastructure. The breakdown of the plan suggests $317 billion would fund roads and bridges, $143 billion would endow federal transit projects, and $18 billion would cover freight improvements. This proposal would be executed over the next six years.

To pay for this $478 billion project, the current federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon has been suggested to increase. Additionally, money could be generated by a one-time tax holiday for companies with overseas investments. Taxing 14% on earnings brought into the U.S. would create an additional $238 billion in revenue.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is scheduled to run out of money in May of 2015, and the infrastructure improvement plan would support the continuation of this road project financing institution. Spending for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would also triple (from $11 billion to $31 billion), ensuring the safety of vehicles on the road. This department is in charge of recalling dangerous vehicles, and the proposed increase in funds would go towards significantly boosting this office’s personnel. The White House states, “The federal government plays a vital role in infrastructure investment, and the nation’s roads, bridges, and other surface transportation infrastructure systems are badly in need of upgrades and repairs.”

This plan prioritizes the transportation industry and its long-term funding, which hopefully circumvents problems down the road. Congestion is included in the scope of this matter. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reported that $9.2 billion is the estimated cost of congestion on the trucking industry. Ideally, the funds allocated towards infrastructure improvement will contribute to decreasing traffic and enhancing flow.

Background

The previous surface transportation authorization, SAFETEAU-LU expired in 2009. Three years and ten extensions later, a congressional conference committee presented Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21; H.R.4348), which was passed into law July 6, 2012. Map-21 was the final product of negotiations for a highway reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation programs through fiscal year 2014.

MAP-21 consolidated two-thirds of the highway programs that existed under SAFETEA-LU, accelerated the project delivery process, and created performance measures to ensure states are using their federal dollars to improve road conditions, reduce congestion, increase system reliability, and improve freight movement. Additionally, the National Freight Strategic Plan established in the bill provided incentives for states to fund projects that will improve freight movement.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2012, within MAP-21, included registration requirements, provisions to better identify motor carriers that mask prior noncompliance and adverse safety history, an electronic logging device mandate to record hours-of-service, and the establishment of a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse.

MAP-21 called on DOT to conduct studies on the hours-of-service 34-hour restart provision, the effects of truck size and weight on highway safety and infrastructure, and the process of streamlining acquiring a a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) by military veterans who operated heavy trucks while serving in the armed forces. Furthermore, DOT was required to establish standards for training hazardous materials inspectors and investigators, and they conducted a new pilot program to improve and increase research and data collection on hazardous materials.

Additional Information

Obama’s $478 Billion Infrastructure Plan

TCA Policy Positions

Developed by the TCA policy committees and approved by the Board of Directors, TCA’s written policies govern TCA efforts to shape the industry.

Taxes are levied for the purpose of obtaining essential government revenues with the least detrimental effect on taxpayers and on economic growth. Government should avoid deficit spending. When deficits occur, every effort should be made to reduce or eliminate them through reduced spending, and not by increasing taxes. Tax collections should not surreptitiously benefit from inflation.

The tax system should encourage investment necessary for national industrial growth, production, employment and trade. The tax system should be neutral as to investment in different types of capital equipment. Business taxation should encourage reinvestment of earnings in sufficient amounts to promote healthy economic progress.

The tax system should be neutral among all types of legitimate employment and contractual arrangements and should specifically not discriminate against independent contractors. The federal and state governments should not require businesses to withhold taxes for the independent contractors that the businesses use.

A. Federal Income Taxes

The Federal tax system should be made as simple and equitable as possible for taxpayers. The tax code should not place an unreasonable administrative burden on the taxpayer. The government cost to collect and the taxpayers cost to comply should be nominal in relation to revenues generated.

Changes to the tax code should be made in a thorough, deliberate, and explicit manner.

In general, all business should be taxed at similar effective tax rates. In particular, the Code should be structured so that all modes of transportation are taxed at fair, equitable and comparable levels.

B. State & Local Income Taxes

States and local governments which impose income taxes should be encouraged to adopt the Federal Internal Revenue Code to minimize the unreasonable administrative burdens and inequities that separate state tax codes create.

C. State & Local Business Taxes

The U.S. Congress should grant the interstate trucking industry protection from state tax discrimination, including access to Federal district courts similar to that protection now afforded railroads, air carriers and electric utilities.

Cities, town, counties and other local political subdivisions should be precluded from levying taxes and fees on motor carriers, unless the motor carrier has a terminal location or other meaningful business presence within the city, town, county or local political subdivision.

A state or local political subdivision of a state should be precluded from levying a tax on a motor carrier which is measured by the gross receipts derived by the motor carrier from interstate transportation services.

Adopted February 10, 1991
Amended June 20, 1991
Amended October 25, 1992

Transportation is so essential to the basic economy of the nation and so imbued with the public interest that it should be regulated by the government. Economic regulation provides the shipping public with excellent motor carrier service at reasonable rates and without unjust discrimination preference or prejudice between persons or places.

A. Federal

TCA opposes any legislative proposal seeking to further deregulate it in conflict with this policy.

Concomitant to sound federal economic regulation are the following points:

  • Support of operating requirements based on safety fitness and financial responsibility for all carriers.
  • Regulation of motor carrier acquisitions and mergers by the Interstate Commerce Commission.
  • Conditions placed on all rail acquisitions of motor carriers which should require the acquiring rail carrier to offer intermodal service to independent motor carriers at rates and terms equal to those which it offers to motor carriers owned, controlled or affiliated with it.
  • Support of tariff filing requirements for motor common carriers, but not motor contract carriers.
  • Support of a uniform system of limited liability for motor common carriers; and legislative or administrative action enacting rules of conduct of property brokers to prevent broker abuses.

Amended June 22, 1994

B. State

Maintaining state regulation affords shipper protection and assures transportation service is adequate to meet the full needs of intrastate commerce economically and efficiently. TCA opposes federal legislation which would preempt the right of states to determine what regulation should be involved for intrastate motor carriers.

TCA does not believe it should become actively involved in this issue at the state level and recommends that each state review its economic regulation of trucking and determine if changes — less, more or different regulation — are necessary in the public interest.
TCA recognizes that states have a legitimate interest in maintaining safety and insurance information. TCA will work with states to place safety and insurance regulations in appropriate state agencies. Additional insurance and safety indicia are unnecessary. Existing documents associated with the issuance of license plates can be used for this purpose.

Adopted February 10, 1991
Amended June 22, 1994

Transportation in America depends almost exclusively on liquid petroleum fuels. The continued economic viability of the trucking industry is dependent on an adequate and reasonably priced fuel supply.

A. Pricing

TCA supports a free market approach to the pricing of petroleum products. Should the free market approach fail and price controls be established, those controls should apply to all petroleum products and all users.

B. Availability

An uninterrupted fuel supply is essential to meet the nation’s transportation needs. Should the free market approach fail to provide adequate allocation of fuel supplies to essential users such as trucking on a priority basis, the trucking industry supports the allocation of fuel supplies to bulk or wholesale purchasers with priority status. At a minimum, commercial vehicles should receive 100% of current requirements.

Forced contingency efforts of the government to reduce fuel consumption artificially must distinguish between commercial and discretionary users of fuel. TCA supports rationing only as an extreme measure provided a distinction between commercial and discretionary users is maintained.

TCA supports the goals of increased national energy self sufficiency and reduced vulnerability to future energy disruptions. Therefore, the industry supports offshore development of oil and natural gas on a timely basis.

C. Conservation

TCA supports setting technologically feasible national fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that reduce fuel consumption if they do not compromise the performance of the vehicles.

The price of fuel should not be increased artificially through government action to encourage conservation. Regressive, incentive-distorting taxes on energy production and use should be eliminated.

To conserve motor fuel and promote safety, TCA supports a national 65 mph speed limit.

D. Alternative Fuels

TCA supports a single national diesel fuel standard. The use of biodiesel, in blends of up to 5% (i.e., B5), is an appropriate means to increase the supply of diesel fuel, provided that the biodiesel blend meets the ASTM D975 standard for on-road diesel fuel. TCA supports voluntary research, investigation and demonstration projects that evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of using alternative fuels in commercial fleet vehicles. TCA does not support state or municipal government mandates to use alternative fuels.

Alternative fuel programs should be “fuel-neutral”, not recommending or mandating the use or favoritism of any specific alternative fuel. The marketplace and fuel consumers are best suited to make decisions regarding the use of new fuels. Reformulated or clean petroleum-based fuels – such as clean diesel and reformulated gasoline – should be included as eligible clean alternative fuels.

Alternative fuels should not be exempt from the payment of highway taxes or other fees to maintain the network of roads. An equitable taxation program is central to the most-effective use of alternative fuels on our nation’s highways. Federal and state tax incentives to encourage the use of alternative fuels, including biodiesel, are appropriate, provided, however, that no such incentives, at either the federal or state level, should be financed out of or reduce funds collected or otherwise designated for transportation funding.

E. Emission Regulations

The best way to reduce the contribution heavy-duty trucks make toward air pollution is to set emission standards in a manner that allows for, and encourages, improvements in productivity and fuel efficiency. The standards established for pollutant emission should be technically feasible.

TCA supports idling reduction efforts made through motor carrier anti-idling programs and self-governance.

Amended October 5, 2008

TCA is committed to the maximum practical reduction of detrimental pollutants, noise and wastes, resulting from its vehicles. TCA is equally committed to the control of terminal-oriented pollution.

The continued reduction of mobile source pollution of all kinds hinges upon successful development of equipment not now on the market. All truck owners and operators should observe operational practices that lead to the best environment possible with presently existing equipment.

Maintenance procedures should reflect a sincere determination to control emissions of smoke and gases. Practical, reliable and safe devices and equipment that will contribute to pollutant reduction should be accepted. Employee training to reflect environmentally considerate behavior should be emphasized.

TCA supports sound federal laws, regulation and enforcement directed to these objectives. TCA supports federal preemption to any state laws that are not consistent with Federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The cost of environmental actions, including the cleaning up of toxic dumps, should be linked as closely as possible to activities that give rise to them, and carriers should specifically be excluded from liability. Clean up costs to cover the share of bankrupted or unidentifiable contributors to a given site should be from general revenues rather than imposing special taxes on a select few.

A. Clean Air

Health-based ambient air quality standards are necessary to provide a clean, healthful environment for all Americans. TCA supports the goal of clean air and calls for amendments in the Clean Air Act to achieve this national objective.

The best way to reduce the contribution heavy-duty trucks make toward air pollution is to set emission standards in a manner that allows for, and encourages, improvements in productivity and fuel efficiency. The standards established for pollutant emissions should be technologically feasible. TCA supports the consideration of legislation that would offer tax credits or other incentives to carrier companies who chose to adopt clean air technologies.

Any additional emission reductions required from heavy-duty vehicles must be established on an “as needed” basis and not through arbitrary and counterproductive specific emission standards within the Clean Air Act.

B. Noise

TCA supports efforts to control noise emissions from all forms of transportation. Federal preemption is the cost-effective means of controlling noise from mobile sources engaged in commerce. The industry supports national uniformity of treatment for the trucking industry in noise emissions standards and enforcement procedures.

Noise reduction requirements should be cost-effective and strike a balance between essential reductions in noise and operating efficiencies. Standards for in-use vehicles should be based on new vehicle standards, but should allow for normal wear.

C. Water

Pollution of our nation’s water system and supply should be controlled. TCA supports efforts to meet environmental goals without undue costs to the trucking industry.

TCA supports reasonable regulations to prevent and control leaking underground petroleum storage tanks. Reasonable regulations would be those that do not require exotic, expensive and/or unproven tank monitoring systems.

Input to legislative or regulatory bodies concerning the development of regulations for storage of fuel underground should stress that gasoline and diesel fuels are extremely valuable products to the trucking industry and are treated as such by careful monitoring of fuel and of the condition of tanks.

TCA opposes the imposition of fees on motor carriers for any special funding for clean-up of leaking storage tanks. The cost of clean-up should be imposed on the owner(s) (past or present) of any leaking underground storage tank and not on other parties who have not contributed to the problem. The majority of such tanks were never used by motor carriers.

Amended March 1, 2008

Motor carriers have the responsibility of operating safe and efficient equipment.

The federal government should set engineering (including reliability) performance standards for new truck equipment to ensure safe and efficient operations. Standards for new and in-service truck equipment should be based on sound economic and engineering principles that enhance safety.

Federal rulemakings on engineering standards for new truck equipment should address performance capability and not design technology.

Performance standards should be cost-effective. Standards for trucks in use must consider new vehicle standards, fair wear and tear, and the consumer’s ability to comply. The federal government, not state or local governments, should have exclusive jurisdiction over equipment performance standards.

TCA is eager to work with all parties in assuring that future equipment developments are safe, efficient, reliable, long-lived and easily maintained.

Adopted February 10, 1991

Background

The major part of the cost of building and maintaining bridges, highways, roads, and streets should be paid through highway user charges. User taxes and fees should be the primary but not the sole source of highway funds. Highway user fees and taxes should be placed in a Highway Trust Fund. The Highway Trust Fund should only be used for highway purposes and should continue as a source of funding for defined federal-aid highway system programs only. All highway user taxes should be dedicated to highway purposes. The Highway Trust Fund should be supplemented by appropriations from the general fund in order to recognize the non-highway user benefits of the highway program.

The level of highway user taxation should be based on a thorough analysis of highway conditions and proven needs. Each class of motor vehicle should pay its fair share of highway program costs based upon a traditional incremental highway cost allocation approach. No one group of highway users should be exempted from payment of highway user taxes or fees. No motor vehicle should be exempted from any highway user taxes by reason of ownership by or operation on behalf of the U.S. Government or any state or local government or political subdivision. Highway users should be involved in establishing funding levels for the highway program and setting the user charges needed to pay for them.

Highway user taxes should:

  1. Be reasonably uniform in application among classes of highway users;
  2. Be based chiefly on readily verifiable measures of highway and vehicle use;
  3. Not provide opportunities for evasion;
  4. Be inexpensive and simple for government to administer, collect, and enforce without imposing excessive administrative and record keeping burdens on highway users; and
  5. Not create impediments to interstate commerce.

Because weight-distance, ton-mile, axle-mile, and other similar third-structure taxes cannot meet the above criteria, they should be eliminated where they currently exist and not be imposed elsewhere.

TCA supports increases in fuel taxes, coupled with indexing to an appropriate annual cap as needed, provided the funds generated are dedicated to the Freight Corridors Initiative or other highway infrastructure improvements.

Amended March 3, 2013

State Highway Taxes

The U.S. Congress should establish and adopt a comprehensive framework for state taxation and regulation of the interstate trucking industry including access to the Federal courts to resolve disputes within that framework adopted by the Congress.

The framework for uniform state taxation and regulation of interstate trucking activity should not set limits on the amount of tax to be paid to a state but should clearly identify those taxes meeting principles of equity and administrative ease.

State highway taxes assessed directly or indirectly on motor carriers operating vehicles properly registered in another state should be based on the following principles of equity:

  1. The tax levy must relate to the extent of highway use within the taxing state;
  2. The tax, if assessed on vehicles, must be fairly apportioned;
  3. The tax must apply equally to both interstate and intrastate motor carrier activity; and
  4. The tax must not create an undue burden on interstate commerce.

State highway taxes assessed on motor carriers should be structured so that compliance by motor carriers and enforcement by states adheres to the following principles:

  1. Tax reporting requirements should be administratively and procedurally uniform among the states; and
  2. The administrative cost of a state’s tax collection, enforcement, and audit program should not be underwritten by additional administrative fees or charges on motor carries other than the basic highway taxes.

State highway taxes should be limited to vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes. Administrative per-vehicle and/or per carrier fees should not be imposed on interstate carriers for:

  1. Highway tax or other economic purposes; or
  2. Activities which are duplicative of existing State and/or local programs which have the effect or diverting traffic into other jurisdictions.

A single plate issued by a motor carrier’s base state should permit interstate and intrastate vehicle operations in all jurisdictions. All states should be required to be members of the International Registration Plan.

State highway tax revenues should be dedicated to highway programs through state constitutional amendments.
Adopted February 10, 1991
Amended March 8, 2009

A. Responsibility of the Federal Government

The federal government should continue to assume primary responsibility for financing, construction, and reconstruction of the National Highway System. Full federal-aid funding should be continued as authorized. After completion of the Interstate System, the National Highway System, consisting of the Interstate System, and important principal arterial highways, which are major connectors, must become the principal federal aid system. This system should be funded at a level to meet essential future needs of this system and at a higher federal aid-matching ratio than any other federal aid highways.

The National Highway System should be designated in its entirety for vehicles of the weight and length authorized by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA) and more productive combinations or trailer lengths subsequently approved by the states. Fund distribution should be by formula and not on a “cost-to-complete” basis.

Federal highway funds for lesser rural and urban connector routes and for major bridges on those routes should be continued. Increased federal highway spending should be sought for lower system routes. States should be allowed to add or delete miles on the National Highway System as trade and usage patterns change.

Federal highway programs to promote social and environmental goals should be supported by federal general fund revenues. Federal highway funds should be allocated to the states on the basis of specific, verifiable highway requirements and should be used only for highway safety and research and the construction, reconstruction, and rebuilding of roads and bridges on the National Highway System and on other federal aid highways providing connecting service. Federal highway funds must not be used for non-highway purposes.

Increased federal funding is needed for research and development designed to provide more economical and improved pavements, increase equipment productivity, study intelligent vehicle/highway systems, improve traffic flow, and relieve congestion to enhance highway efficiency, safety, and return on investment.

B. Responsibility of State & Local Governments

The states and local units of government should be accountable primarily responsible for the financing, program development and administration, and construction and maintenance of bridges, highways, roads, and streets within their territorial limits.

At a minimum, road and bridge design should safely and efficiently accommodate all current and anticipated future vehicle types in North America. States should implement proven technologies in a timely and efficient manner and should be partners in the testing of innovative technologies. States and local governments, in cooperation and partnership with the trucking industry and other road users, should form motor carrier and/or freight advisory groups to support the infrastructure planning process and the need to consider the efficient movement of freight with that process and develop incident management programs for urban areas.

To obtain maximum benefit from both state and federal highway user taxes, states should dedicate user revenues to the funding of highway maintenance and improvements with an appropriate level of funding for planning and research. States should encourage assistance from highway beneficiaries, such as developers and other non-toll private sector sources, to augment user revenues where feasible.

In recognition of the growing interdependence and connectivity among states, state governments should be responsible for devising practical multi-state regional solutions to highway mobility problems in a spirit of cooperation with other states. Highway safety and productivity can be enhanced by eliminating unnecessary institutional barriers, inconsistencies, and preferences among states that constrain mobility and interstate commerce. Freedom of movement for all vehicles, regardless of state of registration or business incorporation, is essential to the nation’s continued prosperity, with due consideration to the evolving opportunities under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Amended March 1, 2008

Highway Grandfather Clause

The 1956 Highway Act provided that weights legally in excess of the Federal axle and gross weight limits on July 1, 1956 in any state were “grandfathered.” Similarly, the 1974 Highway Act provided that the bridge formula applied only to weights in excess of those legal in any state on January 5, 1975.

The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 changed this section to provide that the states shall determine “grandfathered” weight limits. The STAA established trailer length regulations and provided that trailer lengths in any states which exceeded the Federal length limits were “grandfathered.” State and Federal DOT actions to restrict or roll back “grandfathered” weight or length limits are opposed.

Privatization of Rest Stops

TCA policy is to urge the states and the federal government to use the increased federal aid funding in order to expand the size and number of selected rest areas around the country, along with the number of hours which truck drivers may use rest areas.

Size & Weight

The performance of the nation’s economy in increasingly competitive international markets depends in large measure upon an effective and efficient transportation system. To achieve efficiency, the trucking industry must be able to operate its most productive equipment to serve the facilities of shippers and receivers throughout the nation.

As the nation’s premier mover of freight, the American trucking industry has long recommended reasonable size and weight standards consistent with highway capability and the need for efficient, intelligent, and productive use of our country’s vital resources.

It is essential that all vehicle types approved by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 and longer vehicles grandfathered or subsequently approved be permitted to operate on a system of Highways of National Significance. In order to achieve necessary productivity, the trucking industry must be allowed access to the points of loading and unloading from the system of Highways of National Significance. States, counties, and cities cannot be allowed to thwart national productivity through ordinances or regulations restricting or banning trucks without evidence of specific safety problems.

TCA supports a policy of no increase in truck weight, however as an association, we will continue to examine components of increasing productivity as they arise. – Amended March 6, 2016

TCA supports allowing states to permit longer combination vehicles. Such operations should be allowed under divisible load permits which specify adequate driver, vehicle, and highway controls. Longer combination vehicle gross weight should be limited by the federal bridge formula or a modified bridge formula subsequently adopted.

TCA supports standardizing 53-foot trailer length. While national trailer uniformity is federally protected for 48’ trailers, 53’ trailers have become the industry standard. Federal law should be brought up to modern standards to ensure the continued protection of the flow of interstate commerce by changing minimum trailer length limits to 53’. In addition, TCA supports capping trailer length at 53’ except in states where longer trailers are currently allowed.

Amended March 8, 2009
Amended October 16, 2010
Amended October 15. 2011
Amended March 6, 2016

Tolls

TCA supports the objective of a toll-free National Highway System. Fuel taxes and other existing highway user fees are efficient, effective, and commonly accepted methods for collecting revenues for the maintenance and expansion of highways. If toll financing is determined to be inevitable, TCA will continue to oppose tolling and will advocate that the toll plan should incorporate the following attributes:

  • Toll collections should be limited to and fully cover only the debt-service related costs of construction, reconstruction, and maintaining the associated toll facility.
  • If tolls are imposed on an existing Interstate Highway, an amount of federal-aid highway revenue equivalent to the toll revenues collected on the highway should be withheld from the state where the toll revenue is collected and redistributed annually to the remainder of the states.
  • Toll financing should only be used for construction of new highways; upgrading of existing non-Interstate roads to highways with significantly greater capacity and safety benefits; construction of new lanes on existing highways, provided the existing lanes remain toll-free and open to all vehicles that were allowed to use the highway prior to the capacity expansion; or conversion of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.
  • Toll collections should not be used for the extension of bonded indebtedness or for the creation of new for other facilities.
  • Truck size and weight limits allowed on toll facilities should be grandfathered.
  • The use of toll roads should be voluntary. Trucks should not be restricted from operating on non-toll highways that could serve as alternative routes to toll roads.
  • The impacts on toll facility revenues should not be a factor when decisions are made with regard to improvements to alternative routes.
  • As quasi-private enterprises, toll facilities should be allowed to offer productivity improvements to attract commercial vehicle customers.
  • The payment of all highway user taxes, in addition to tolls on the toll highways, constitutes double payment for the use of these facilities. State highway user taxes should be eliminated on toll facilities.
  • Programs designed to reduce congestion through assessment of fees for use of roads during peak travel periods attempt to discourage travel rather than increase mobility. Weigh scale by-pass fees and congestion pricing are not acceptable alternatives to highway improvements that provide new capacity or increase productivity.
  • TCA strongly opposes the lease or sale of toll roads, bridges, or tunnels to private parties for the purpose of funding highway infrastructure. If such a facility is sold or leased to private investors, TCA recommends the following:
  • Proceeds derived by the government from the sale or lease of a toll facility should be used exclusively for highway investments on un-tolled facilities. Facility customers should not be required to subsidize unrelated government functions
  • Toll rates should be set at a level that covers only the costs of construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and operation of the associated toll facility, plus a reasonable return on investment and debt service costs. Any differences in toll rates among vehicle classes should be reasonable.
  • Lessees should provide adequate facilities for the trucking industry, including access to food, fuel, and safe parking accommodations for long-term rest.
  • A rebate of federal and state fuel taxes for users of the facility.
  • A prohibition on the private party imposing its own restrictions or special fees on vehicle configurations (e.g. oversize/over weight vehicles) and commodities (e.g. hazardous materials). It is anticipated that improved truck productivity will be part of any serious discussion of privatization benefits. Therefore, increases in vehicle size and weight limits above that allowed under applicable federal or state law is not opposed.
  • A sinking fund to ensure that sufficient revenues are available for continued maintenance and operation of the facility.
  • Non-compete clauses that prevent improvements to competing highways should not be included as part of a lease or sale agreement.
  • Open Road Tolling (ORT) technology that allows motorists to travel at highway speeds must be adopted, and transponder technology must be compatible with technology used on other Interstate toll roads.
  • Performance specifications which ensure that the facility is operated and maintained adequately, provides a level of safety that is comparable to similar facilities, and provides for acceptable traffic flows.
  • A clause that allows the responsible public agency to end the agreement if the public agency believes that continuing the agreement is not in the public’s best interest. In addition, a process should be established for amending the agreement. An oversight committee should be established by the responsible public agency to monitor the facility and make recommendations to the agency as to whether the agreement should be amended or terminated.This committee should include representatives of all major stakeholders, including the trucking industry.

Amended March 1, 2008

Independent contractors, in the form of owner-operators, are an integral part of the American trucking industry.

Status

Individuals who own motor carrier equipment or operate it under a bona fide lease and drive that equipment often choose to contract that equipment to for-hire and private motor carriers and operate independent businesses as independent contractors.

Their chosen status as independent contractors, not employees, should be honored in the enforcement of state and federal law. For example, as independent contractors, they should not be subject to mandatory coverage under state workers’ compensation or unemployment tax laws. Indeed, because such individuals have selected independent contractor status, such state laws should expressly recognize this status and specifically exclude them from coverage as employees.

Additionally, as independent contractors, these individuals should not be considered leased employees for the purposes of counting them for company-provided pension, health or insurance benefits.

Any attempt to categorize independent contractors as employees or leased employees by regulatory or legislative efforts should be challenged as erosion of the independent status. Legislation and regulations should preserve the independent contractor relationship between motor carriers and those individuals who choose to operate as independent contractors, and maintain their complementary roles in the trucking industry. Government agencies should recognize that the terms and rates of compensation between motor carriers and independent contractors are matters of private contract.

The continued availability of independent contractor status under state and federal law must remain a high priority concern for the trucking industry and those segments that utilize contractors.

Amended March 1, 2008

Lumping

“Lumping” is the unlawful coercion or attempt to coerce a truck owner or operator into paying someone else to load or unload his truck. Both civil and criminal penalties should be assessed for lumping violations.

Motor carriers should not be required to give owner-operators special notice of their loading and unloading responsibilities as that information is already contained in motor carrier tariffs. Any such agreement to load or unload should not interfere with the contractual agreement between owner-operators and motor carriers.

The responsibility for preventing lumping rests with the Interstate Commerce Commission.The Interstate Commerce Commission should implement and maintain an effective enforcement program to prevent lumping.

Adopted February 10, 1991

The transportation system in the United States is diverse. Transportation services are provided by a variety of modes including air, highway, rail, pipeline, inland and coastal water, with ownership under the private enterprise system. The preservation and expansion of this diversity offers the benefits of freedom of choice, service alternatives, competitive innovations and economic efficiency.

TCA supports cooperative and effective intermodal transportation, achieved through interchange agreements, joint rates and through routesamong independently-owned and operated carriers.

A highly-effective and integrated intermodal system does not require common ownership of transportation modes. Effective intermodal transportation yields economic efficiencies only when each of the transportation modes is self-supporting and does not rely on government subsidies or cross subsidization of any sort to underwrite operating costs.

All carriers participating in an intermodal movement have a right to a fair and equitable share of the transportation charges assessed for the movement and to prompt and full payment of their lawful transportation and drayage charges. TCA supports administrative, legislative or other action which will ensure that motor carriers are promptly paid their lawful rates and charges.

Intermodal Infrastructure

An integrated and productive intermodal infrastructure is dependent upon effective and timely interchange between modes. In the furtherance of intermodal growth and efficiency of motor carriers involved in intermodal transportation, TCA supports legislative, administrative and other efforts to improve highway access to intermodal freight transfer facilities.

Adopted February 10, 1992

Sound and expanding international commerce is essential to the continued expansion of the economy of the United States and to the greater prosperity and strength of all nations. Mutually beneficial trade raises standards of living by providing people with more goods at less real cost, by raising productivity, and by increasing economic efficiency through competition.

The United States has a vital stake in promoting measures to achieve the greatest possible relaxation of discriminatory and restrictive trade and investment practices. These discriminatory and restrictive practices reduce the flow of goods and services, reduce the volume of international payments and obstruct optimal efficiency in production, distribution and economic growth.

The United States government should promote these goals, consistent with the national interest, to maintain a strong, healthy, competitive, free market economy at home.

The transportation of goods in international commerce should not be hampered by regressive or discriminatory laws, regulations or policies in the areas of licensing, entry, taxation, equipment utilization and labor.

Equality of treatment and opportunity for United States motor carriers should be maintained in the international freight market. The U.S. government should maintain a policy of requiring foreign countries to provide U.S. motor carriers opportunity and treatment equivalent to that treatment received by carriers from a foreign country operating in the United States.

The U.S. government should also insure that U.S. motor carriers operating in a foreign country have the same opportunity and treatment enjoyed by domestic carriers of that country, or national treatment. Foreign carriers operating on U.S. roads should be subject to the same regulations and responsibilities by which U.S. carriers are expected to abide.

All laws and regulations affecting the trucking industry should address the impact that these rules will have on the United States and on the standing U.S. motor carriers and allied industries will have in the international marketplace.

NAFTA

In recent years, an increasing number of TCA members have been affected by government policies concerning international transportation and trade policy. The TCA general policy on international issues is “reciprocity”. The following applies this principle to specific issues as they relate to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and adopts new policy in the area of equipment imports and immigration:

  1. Ownership: Eliminate Mexican and U.S. restrictions immediately, or in the interim, provide U.S. citizens with the reciprocal rights Mexican citizens enjoy in the U.S., i.e., minority ownership.
  2. Access: Immediate reciprocity for U.S. on Mexican frontier zone access; and phase in of interior access based on infrastructure development in Mexico. Progress should be measured by the bilateral transportation working group and access granted based on further infrastructure development.
  3. Economic Regulation: The NAFTA cannot be used to revise economic regulation on the Federal or State level.
  4. Immigration: Permit the use of non-national drivers for international freight movements, not for domestic movements. Qualified aliens should be permitted to immigrate into the U.S. for the purpose of taking permanent driver positions during times of driver shortages.
  5. Customs: Increase border inspection facilities; expand and harmonize hours of operation; dedicate existing commercial user fees to improvements in Customs facilities; and establish uniform electronic filing systems.

Containers

TCA supports the use and development of intermodal freight containers and seeks to be included in the full utilization of this modern tool of international trade. In order to fully participate in the international movement of containers, the following goals must be realized:

  1. External dimensions must be compatible with U.S. highway size regulations;
  2. Gross and axle weight limits must be compatible with U.S. weight regulations;
  3. Codes and their applications must be compatible with general trucking practices;
  4. Markings must be clearly recognizable and in harmony with U.S. practices;
  5. Work rules and practices must be compatible with normal trucking operations;
  6. Liability for containers and their contents should be on parity with that of other transport modes;
  7. Safety requirements should not discriminate against trucks;
  8. Security requirements should conform to trucking industry standards and practices;
  9. Equal treatment with other transport modes vis-à-vis all applicable customs, duties, and importation rules and regulations;
  10. Inspection and certification should be reasonable, non-conflicting and modally non-discriminatory; and
  11. Cost for repairs and maintenance should be fair and reasonably allocated among the modes.

Workers' Health

The trucking industry shall conduct its business in a manner that preserves and promotes the health and safety of its workers. TCA supports voluntary and coordinated actions among visual display terminal manufacturers and users to assure safe and operator-supportive installation and use of such terminals and to oppose the imposition of arbitrary restrictions and work rules affecting VDT installation and use by legislation and/or regulation by government agencies at any level. In addition, manufacturers, rather than the purchaser, should warrant and assume liability for the equipment to ensure that it is safe to users.

Employee Screening

TCA recognizes proper prescreening of new or re-certified drivers, as defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, as a means to establish competency and qualifications and reduce safety hazards and cargo thefts. To meet these means, TCA supports the establishment of a national clearinghouse of convictions of drivers.

Furthermore, TCA supports:

  • The identification of conviction of drug and alcohol abuse as a means to reduce safety hazards.
  • The certifying provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • The verification of a prospective driver’s background through references, previous motor carriers, and other appropriate sources.
  • The consideration of criminal conviction data to the extent that such data is accurate and reasonably and expeditiously available.
  • The consideration of legal work status.
  • The consideration of a prospective driver’s MVR as well as any private property incidents.

Amended October 5, 2008

Employment of the Disabled

TCA supports employment of the disabled. This support includes job offers to qualified individuals and training programs designed by employers for jobs the disabled person is capable of performing well.

Amended March 1, 2008

Entry Level Driver Training

Entry-level driver training should be focused on minimum, competency-based requirements. These requirements should apply to all prospective drivers who have not yet obtained and are required to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate in interstate commerce.

The training curriculum should focus on the core elements of classroom and behind-the-wheel training.

Under any federal regulation, all training programs (motor carrier-based and non-carrier-based training institutions) should be provided with the ability to self-certify that their training meets the minimum federal requirements. All training programs should also be able to certify that a driver has completed the required training. All training programs should be subject to a random selection federal audit program to assure curriculum requirements are met.

Qualification requirements of driver-instructors should be similar in design and intent to existing federal training regulations (e.g., current CDL holder, no serious traffic violations on driving record, etc.) with the exception of skill instructors having a minimum of one year of driving experience.

Commercial learner’s permits should continue to be issued by states as currently practiced, and no provisional CDL requirements should be imposed upon entry-level drivers.

To further ensure that entry-level drivers meet the competency-based standards, the federal government should require state adoption of stronger CDL skills testing standards that reflect actual on-road driving requirements of the motor carrier industry.

Due Process in Labor Disputes

TCA favors due process in all proceedings involving labor disputes and deferral to binding arbitration.

Apprentice Programs

TCA endorses the concept of apprenticeship programs developed and adopted by individual motor carriers, or representative groups, that will best serve the needs of such carriers and their prospective employees.

Corporate Campaigns

TCA supports legislative, administrative agency, and other government action opposing coercive and harassing tactics used in corporate campaigns. These tactics include repeated complaints to governmental agencies, frivolous and numerous court complaints, shareholder actions, boycotts, and personal attacks that target customers, corporate officers, and lending institutions.

Dual Shop Facilities

TCA opposes any legislative attempt to restrict the rights of employers in maintaining dual-shop facilities or organizational structures (sometimes referred to as “double-breasted” operations).

Equal Employment Opportunity

The prevention of arbitrary and discriminatory practices in employment should be a vital concern to every citizen. TCA reaffirms its support of all reasonable and necessary steps to achieve the goal of equal employment opportunity for all.

Private, federal, and state government action should be designed to achieve this end. Government action should be carefully guided by basic Constitutional concepts to preserve fairness and due process of law for all parties.

To ensure a competent work force, employers should have the right to employ or to promote the best qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, sex, religion, color, or national origin.

Training & Career Development

Proper training and career education is essential for the trucking industry. TCA supports training for all employees within the industry, as well as preparatory training for those that want to enter the industry. Additionally, TCA promotes career paths for all industry employees including, but not limited to: Drivers, Fleet Managers/Dispatchers, Safety Directors, Planners, and Sales People, and stresses the career growth potential of the trucking industry.

To recruit and train people to enter the industry, TCA supports the development of partnerships with Federal Departments and Associations, e.g., Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, American Association of Retired Persons, National Association of Workforce Boards, Veterans’ Administration. These partnerships should facilitate federal funding for any private, public, or motor carrier in-house educational or training program directed at the current or potential trucking industry workforce. Eligibility for federal funding should be based solely on the program’s ability to properly educate its intended audience.

Adopted March 1, 2008

Workers' Compensation

TCA pledges to conduct its business in a manner that preserves and promotes the health and safety of its workers by supporting:

  • State workers’ compensation systems that promote programs developed by free enterprise, be it through insurance carriers or self-insured programs.
  • The use of incentives to help states make their benefit systems fair, equitable, and cost effective, as well as programs to reduce industrial accidents and lost time.
  • The concept that any federal role should be limited to offering technical assistance to the states or conducting research.
  • Enactment of state laws that provide trucking-beneficial uniformity and fairness, including legislation that allows motor carriers and their workers to agree that the law of a particular state shall govern any workers’ compensation claim.

Amended March 1, 2008

Younger Drivers

TCA supports, in principle, the authorization by the Federal Highway Administration of carefully structured experimental programs for use of younger drivers (18-20), in transportation other than bulk transportation of hazardous materials as defined in the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, provided that such drivers have been carefully screened, received quality training from a school or training program certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute of America, and will be closely supervised and monitored by a motor carrier which has a “satisfactory” safety rating and such other approvals and requirements deemed essential by FHWA.

Adopted October 10, 2008

Replacement Workers

The National Labor Relations Board and the courts have painstakingly crafted a delicate balance between the rights of workers to withhold their labor to secure economic demands and the rights of employers to permanently replace them in order to continue business. TCA supports this neutrality in labor law and opposes any change in the law that would give either management or labor the economic edge in disagreements.

ERISA

TCA supports stabilization of both single- and multi-employer pension plans. Standards for such stabilization should ensure that:

  • Future benefits are properly funded.
  • Restrictions are placed on trustees in order to maintain sound financial ratios before the benefit levels can be increased.
  • Any additional administration costs are kept to a minimum and
  • Changes do not impinge on normal business decisions, the movement of capital, or the ability of companies to borrow money.

Amended March 1, 2008

Fringe Benefits

Matters of fringe benefits, including parental and medical leave and health care, should be left to individual company policy and not be mandated by the government.

Plant Relocation & Work Preservation

TCA supports technological developments that encourage and promote labor efficiency and productivity and oppose regressive and inefficient work preservation rules.

TCA supports government’s non-intervention in opening, closing, or relocating company facilities or the reduction or expansion of the work force and any regulation proposing pre-notification, interplant transfers, and mandatory extensions of benefits.

Antilock Brake Systems

TCA supports federal regulations to require that all new trucks and tractors manufactured after December 1999 be equipped with antilock braking systems (ABS) and that all new dollies and trailers manufactured after December, 2001 be equipped with ABS.

Prior to the dates that ABS would be mandated, TCA encourages all carriers to voluntarily equip an ever-increasing portion of their new vehicles with ABS. The voluntary phase-in period will provide the necessary time for manufacturers to engineer ABS for all vehicles and assure acceptable levels of durability, reliability, and maintainability.This time frame will also allow carriers to become familiar with ABS and establish mechanic and driver training systems that ensure safe and effective operation.

  • Adopted February 10, 1991
  • Amended June 20, 1991
  • Amended February 21, 1993

Applicability of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

The provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations should be applicable to the operation of all commercial vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more; to the operation of all vehicles transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding of the vehicle; and to the drivers of all such vehicles.Under provisions of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Acts of 1982 and 1984, the applicability of these regulations should be extended to the operations of such vehicles and drivers operating in intrastate commerce and enforced through the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP).

Rather than proposing changes in the applicability of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations which would create a potential degradation of safety, FMCSA is urged to direct its attention to affording relief from paperwork burdens and any another specific requirements which do not demonstrably improve safety.

Brake Adjusting Responsibilities

Written policies should be developed by each motor carrier fleet delineating responsibility for performing brake adjustments. When drivers are held responsible for making brake adjustments, motor carriers should assure that those drivers are properly trained to do such work.

Drugs & Alcohol

TCA supports federal requirements for all interstate and intrastate truck drivers to undergo tests for drug and alcohol use, as follows:

A. Pre-Employment Testing

TCA supports pre-employment drug testing of truck driver job applicants.It also supports the requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that physicians should conduct tests of a driver applicant for alcoholism or for being under the influence of alcohol if the need for such testing is indicated during the pre-employment physical examination.

B. Testing for Reasonable Cause
TCA supports testing for drug or alcohol use if there is reasonable cause to believe that a truck driver is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Reasonable cause testing should be the responsibility of motor carriers, police officers, or other officials authorized to perform inspections of drivers and vehicles.

C. Post-Accident Testing
TCA supports post-accident drug and alcohol tests of all drivers involved in DOT recordable accidents. Additionally, TCA supports a requirement to test any driver following the occurrence of a non-DOT recordable accident provided a police officer at the scene has determined there is reasonable cause to believe the driver is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Post-accident testing should be the responsibility of law enforcement agencies.

D. Random Testing
TCA supports random testing for drug or alcohol use that places all drivers at equal risk of being selected for such testing, regardless of whether the driver is self-employed, employed by a motor carrier, or an intrastate driver.

TCA supports random roadside testing without the need for probable cause for drug or alcohol use conducted by the federal or state government to determine if random roadside testing is practical and effective. It also supports testing by police officials at roadblocks established to detect drivers of motor vehicles who are under the influence of alcohol.

E. Optional Testing
TCA supports optional drug and alcohol testing by motor carriers of their employees, in addition to truck drivers, that are directly responsible for the safe condition and safe operation of trucks.

TCA would support the development of additional federal requirements for all interstate and intrastate truck driver drug and alcohol testing as follows:

A. Driver Training School Testing
TCA supports a federal requirement for pre-admission testing by driver training schools of all applicants for evidence of drug use. The tests should be consistent with applicable state law requirements and should adopt standards and procedures identical to those employed by motor carriers for pre-employment drug testing. An applicant who tests positive should not be admitted to training until another test is performed with negative results.

B. National Drug Clearinghouse
TCA supports the development of a national drug clearinghouse that would provide information on a driver’s positive drug or alcohol test results.

C. National Driver Register
TCA supports improvement of the National Driver Register.Improvements to the Register should include stricter use requirements by motor carriers as a means of determining the driving records of present and future drivers.

D. Alternative Specimens
Pursue regulatory and/or legislative changes to the FMCSA and/or DOT regulations to permit alternative specimens, such as hair, to be used to comply with federal drug testing requirements.

Adopted March 3. 2013

TCA would not support implementation of federal drug and alcohol regulations that would:

  • Require advance notification of drug or alcohol testing, for periodic testing more frequently than atthe time of physical examination, or for motor carrier testing following an accident.
  • Require motor carriers to conduct or sponsor rehabilitation programs.

Drivers who, as a result of testing, show evidence of drug use should be medically unqualified, and should be disqualified for a specified period of time. They should be retested and found free of drugs prior to being found qualified. If a driver tests positive for alcohol or drugs, an individual should be further evaluated to determine if a problem exists and the individual is disqualified.

Amended October 5, 2008

Electronic Logging Devices

TCA supports federal laws and regulations requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) for documenting compliance with hours of service (HOS) rules. In developing such a law or regulation, TCA believes the following issues should be addressed:

  • ELDs requirements should be based on the minimal, functional, and performance specifications necessary to accurately record and report HOS compliance and assure reliability and utility of operation.
  • Except for HOS compliance data, statutory protections should be afforded to motor carriers pertaining to the control, ownership, and admissibility/discoverability of data generated and derived from ELDs, and to assure the privacy rights of drivers.
  • Drivers shall be responsible for operating ELDs in full compliance with all applicable regulations.
  • Any ELD regulation must address the operational diversity of the trucking industry, continue existing exceptions to the record of duty status, and consider additional exemptions that balance compliance and the evolving industry diversity.
  • Motor carriers using compliant ELDs should be relieved of the burden of retaining supporting documents for verification of driving time.
  • Any ELD mandate, if instituted, should be made simultaneously applicable to all vehicles of the affected population of motor carriers. It should avoid any implementation inequities identified and take measures to eliminate them. Tax incentives should be pursued as a means to facilitate adoption of ELD systems.

Amended March 14, 2011

Hazardous Materials

Laws, rules, regulations, orders, and standards relating to the safety of highway transportation of hazardous materials should be nationally uniform. There are certain areas where the federal government should have exclusive jurisdiction of regulations governing hazardous materials transportation. State governments should share concurrent jurisdiction with the federal government in regulating the routing of hazardous materials.

States or localities that believe federal standards are deficient should be encouraged to petition to revise such federal standards rather than acting unilaterally to regulate hazardous materials in transportation. There may be instances when a state or locality should be allowed to adopt or continue to enforce a law, rule, regulation, order, or standard until such time as the federal government adopts a rule, regulation, order, or standard covering the same subject matter, and when the state or local requirement:

  • Is necessary to reduce or eliminate a local safety hazard.
  • Is not incompatible with any federal law, rule, regulation, order, or standard and
  • Does not create an undue burden on interstate commerce.

All motor carriers should be required to register with the federal government as a prerequisite to transporting hazardous materials. There should be a federal requirement that motor carriers train, test, and certify drivers of hazardous materials vehicles, for safety and to forestall state and local requirements for testing and licensing of such drivers.

TCA supports the creation of a federal fund to address the needs of state and local personnel who respond to hazardous materials accidents and incidents. Fees established would be broad-based and funded by all carrier modes, manufacturers, and shippers of hazardous materials. The fees shall be reasonable and graduated to reflect the differing risks among hazardous materials. All monies collected from these fees would be used solely for the training and equipping of hazardous materials response personnel and would be specifically directed to replace state and local hazardous materials fees, permits, and registrations. State and/or local acceptance of Federal funds would preclude those jurisdictions from assessing like fees.

A driver of hazardous materials vehicles should be considered qualified based on knowledge, training, and experience. There should not be a special age requirement for such drivers in less-than-truck-load service. Any experience requirement should be based on a time period. Reports of accidents involving such drivers should not require detailed background information about the driver on a routine basis. Such details should be requested by government as needed.

Efforts to control pollution resulting from hazardous wastes should not be detrimental to the trucking industry.

TCA supports regulations to encourage re-use and recycling of hazardous wastes generated by the trucking industry.

Criteria for placing hazardous materials vehicles out of service should be applicable only to motor vehicles that are subject to placarding, and only if there is a violation of hazardous materials requirements that would result in an imminently hazardous situation in the event of spill or leakage of the hazardous materials.

Amended June 21, 1995

Hours of Service

Highway safety is of the utmost importance to TCA. TCA supports hours of service regulations that are practical and effective and that promote operational flexibility. Motor carriers must not be subject to citations or penalties for violations of hours of service requirements that result from activities over which they have no control.

In addition, any DOT rulemaking proposal on hours of service should address the following facets of hours of service:

  1. 24-hour cycle
  2. 10 hours off (allow split sleeper berths)
  3. 14 hours on-duty
  4. No distinction between on duty-driving & on duty-not driving
  5. Cumulative 70 hours on-duty in eight days, with a restart
  6. 36-hour restart provision (allows two sleep cycles)
  7. Oppose requiring driver pay by the hour
  8. Address waiting time; loading & unloading; driver load & count
  • Amended October 25, 1998
  • Amended March 17, 1999
  • Amended February 28, 2010

Identification & Markings on Trucks

For safety purposes, there should be permanent identification on all vehicles operating in interstate and intrastate commerce. Identification for vehicles operating under authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission or of state commissions shall be in compliance with requirements of such commissions. Identification of other vehicles shall consist of the name, city, and state of the vehicle owner or long-term lessee. Size and location of such identification should be comparable to that required for authorized carriers.

Limiting Speeds on Trucks

The speed of all electronically governed class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 should be governed at a maximum speed not to exceed 65 miles per hour.

Adopted March 4, 2012

On Board Technology

TCA supports the development, testing and use of cost-effective on-board technologies that improve vehicle safety, driver performance, productivity, vehicle maintenance, and management. TCA supports Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for those technologies which have a proven significant safety benefit and a reasonable cost.

Adopted March 3, 2013

Penalties

Civil penalties for violations other than record-keeping violations should be eliminated. The general criteria for determining if penalties should be imposed should be the same for employers and employees.

Vehicles should not be impounded. Vehicles should be placed out-of-service only because of imminently hazardous conditions.

Safe Use of Technology

TCA supports the safe use of technologies and encourages drivers and/or motor carriers to consider a range of policies and safeguards intended to reduce, minimize, and/or eliminate driver distractions that may be caused by the increased use of electronic technologies (e.g. global positioning systems, cellular phones, etc.) during the operation of all types of motor vehicles. TCA strongly encourages and recommends that manufacturers of these devices, vehicle manufacturers, policy makers, motor carriers, and organizations representing motor carriers and the motoring public promote and adopt awareness, training, and safety policies on the use of such technologies – unless required by current laws and regulations – during the operation of a motor vehicle on our nation’s highways.

Adopted March 8, 2009

Safety Fitness

A certificate of safety fitness should be required for all motor carriers, both private and for-hire.

Sale of Alcohol at Truckstops

In an effort to create a safer driver environment for truck drivers and independent contractors, the trucking industry recognizes its obligation to place drivers and independent contractors on the nation’s highways. Inasmuch as the nation’s truckstops are the home away from home of most truck drivers and independent contractors, it is imperative that truckstops likewise do not sell alcohol to ensure the safest possible working environment for the industry’s drivers and independent contractors. Therefore, TCA supports all legal efforts to eliminate the sale of alcohol in any form at all of the nation’s truckstops.

Seat Belts

TCA supports the adoption of primary seat belt laws for all motor vehicles by all states. TCA supports state laws that permit the admissibility of seat belt usage or non-usage as evidence in litigation.

Adopted March 1, 2008

Sleep Disorders

If FMCSA develops screening and testing standards for sleep disorders, the agency should do so only through rulemaking and not through the publication of regulatory guidance. The development of any future regulation on establishing objective standards for sleep disorder screening, testing and treatment should be focused on conditions that pose a substantially elevated crash risk based on sound data and analysis, be cost-beneficial, and promote effective treatments that minimize the impact to motor carriers and commercial vehicle operators.

Adopted March 3, 2013

Speed Limits

TCA urges states to adopt a uniform speed limit for all vehicles at a maximum speed of 65 mph. TCA opposes the use of any mechanical or electrical devices which enable drivers to exceed the speed limit without being detected.

Amended October 5, 2008

Vehicle Inspections

Roadside inspections are more effective than state inspections conducted annually or semiannually because they focus on the condition of drivers and loads as well as the condition of vehicles and equipment.

Vehicles should be placed out of service only because of imminently hazardous conditions. Vehicles should not be impounded.

Security

Losses from pilferage, theft, and hijacking of cargo shipped by truck in interstate commerce continue to be substantial. Cargo theft losses have a severe economic impact on the trucking industry, the shipping public, small businessmen, and consumers.

Means for reducing and controlling losses from pilferage, theft, and hijacking of cargo in the trucking industry should be developed and maintained.

Department of Defense

TCA is highly concerned over the security of shipments for the Department of Defense of sensitive items. However, if DOD believes a load requires armed security, the government should be responsible for providing:

  • Security personnel.
  • Required arms.
  • Indemnification of motor carriers for all liabilities resulting from incidents involving said security personnel or use of arms by motor carrier employees.

Adopted February 10, 1991

Prevention

Motor carrier security personnel should be provided with detailed instructions on how to establish, implement, and maintain an effective motor carrier security program.

Prosecution

Motor carriers are the victims and not the perpetrators of cargo and vehicle theft. No punitive measures should be taken or civil penalties assessed against motor carriers.

It is the responsibility of both local and federal officials to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of motor carrier cargo and vehicle thefts.

State and local law enforcement officials should continue to share concurrent jurisdiction with federal officials in cases involving theft of cargo from interstate shipments. Local officials should not defer their responsibility to the FBI or other federal agencies. Both local and federal officials should actively pursue and prosecute perpetrators of motor carrier cargo and vehicle thefts through the criminal justice system.

While individual thefts of cargo can be of relatively low dollar value, cumulative amounts are substantial. State, local, or federal involvement in cases concerning theft from interstate shipments should not depend on a dollar value threshold for investigation and prosecution.

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.