U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, crucial issues concerning highway safety were discussed, with a particular focus on truck parking and speed limiters.

Senate Hearing on Truck Parking and Speed Limiters

In a recent hearing of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, crucial issues concerning highway safety were discussed, with a particular focus on truck parking and speed limiters. The hearing aimed to shed light on the challenges faced by the transportation industry regarding road safety and explore potential solutions to address these issues.

The witnesses who testified during the hearing included experts and industry leaders who provided valuable insights into the safety concerns and possible measures to improve highway safety. Among the witnesses were Karina Ricks, a partner with the city planning organization Cityfi; Brenda Neville, president and CEO of the Iowa Motor Truck Association and co-chair of the American Trucking Associations’ Women in Motion Advisory Council; and Karin Mongeon, NDDOT Highway Safety Division Director.

During the hearing, one of the most contentious topics of discussion was the proposal to mandate speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) expressed his reservations about this idea, particularly in a state where the speed limit on interstate highways is set at 75 mph. He raised concerns that a speed limiter mandate could lead to trucks traveling up to 10 mph slower than the posted speed limit, potentially disrupting traffic flows.

Karin Mongeon, representing NDDOT, acknowledged these concerns and highlighted that North Dakota’s economy heavily relies on efficient transportation of industrial products. She worries about the potential adverse safety impacts of creating speed differentials between heavy trucks and passenger vehicles. Mongeon also mentioned that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was considering issuing a proposed rule to require speed limiters on Class 7 and higher trucks in December. NDDOT pledged to review this proposed rule and provide comments.

Regarding the truck parking shortage, Brenda Neville addressed the issue, emphasizing its severe impact on the trucking industry. Neville revealed that only 313,000 truck parking spaces are available in the United States, while the country boasts approximately 3.5 million truck drivers. This shortage forces truck drivers to park on road shoulders, on- or off-ramps, or outside their planned routes when their hours of service expire for the day. Additionally, valuable time is lost as drivers search for parking, negatively impacting their productivity.

In a significant move of support for addressing the truck parking issue, several trucking associations and trade organizations came together to endorse the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. Introduced by Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) in March, this bipartisan bill aims to tackle the truck parking problem. The letter penned by these organizations expressed their collective support for the legislation and highlighted its potential benefits, including improved driver well-being, enhanced recruitment and retention of drivers, optimal utilization of federal funding, boosted highway safety and economic prosperity, and reduced roadway congestion.

The groups called upon the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to prioritize the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, emphasizing the importance of addressing this safety concern for the trucking industry, the American public, and the national supply chain. They cited the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s approval of companion legislation earlier in the year as a positive precedent.

The recent Senate hearing on transportation and infrastructure brought critical safety issues to the forefront, particularly on truck parking and speed limiters. The ongoing discussion and support for legislative measures like the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act signify a collective effort to address these challenges and enhance the safety and efficiency of America’s highways.




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