by Bill Graves
For most Americans, including Kansans, our roads and highways are the space between our homes and the stores where we shop, the places we work or the friends and family we love. However, for America's 3.2 million professional truck drivers, the road is their office and for much of the time, their home.
Truck drivers, as much as anyone, appreciate the need to be safe on the road - to follow at safe distances and travel at safe speeds etc. - but our industry is aware of the need to do more.
We at the American Trucking Associations have led the charge for all trucks to be electronically governed at 65 miles per hour, and for there to be a national speed limit of 65 for all vehicles. We've asked the government to set crashworthiness standards for large trucks and we've supported efforts to require that driver's hours-of-service be monitored electronically to combat fatigued driving.
Beyond that, we spend a lot of our time trying to educate the public about how to share the road with large trucks. We understand that drivers of smaller vehicles may be intimidated by the tractor trailer in the next lane, so through our Share the Road and America's Road Team programs we try to put people at ease, telling them to avoid a truck's blind spots and how to responsibly pass a rig that takes a lot longer to stop than the car that just zipped in front of it.
The good news is, these efforts appear to be working. Based on the most recent federal statistics, truck-involved crashes and fatalities have fallen to historic lows. This is good news, not just for the industry, but for all motorists. This isn't to say that more can't be done - responsible members of the industry are pushing federal government to do more to keep unsafe drivers and companies off our roads, and every day, fleets are doing all they can to avoid crashes and improve their safety record.
Through those efforts, and the efforts of law enforcement at the state and federal level, we can all look forward to a day when we've put the brakes on fatalities and our roads are a safer place for all of us.
Bill Graves is the President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations