Archive March 2023
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TRAA Endorses & Secures Inclusion in National Work Zone Awareness Week Resolution
A bipartisan Senate resolution introduced by Senators Braun and Blumenthal to recognize April 17-21, 2023, as National Work Zone Awareness Week (S.Res.130) has been agreed in the Senate. The goal of the resolution is to raise awareness and educate motorist on how to safely move through and operate in work zones and decrease the risk to those working on the nation's roadways. Thanks to TRAA's efforts towing and recovery professionals are specifically included in the resolution under Section (3) – Subsection (G) which states, "providing towing and recovery professionals room to facilitate the process of clearing crashes."
While the proposal is specific to work zones or “road construction sites", the dangers posed are not limited to highway or construction workers. Traffic incident management (TIM) partner disciplines, including towing and recovery professionals, are called to address and clear these crashes in work zones when they occur thereby also putting themselves in danger of being struck. Additionally, TIM partner disciplines are also roadway users in the execution of their duties which puts us at risk for being involved in a crash ourselves.
In addition to TRAA, the resolution is endorsed by 12 other national groups including AAA National, American Traffic Safety Services Association, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Organization, Governors Highway Safety Association, National Safety Council, and more.
TRAA Continues Opposing FMCSA Proposed Rulemaking on Speed Limiters
Despite receiving nearly 16,000 comments last year (primarily against), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is moving forward with their rulemaking on speed limiting heavy vehicles. The agency is expected to take their next step, a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), in June 2023. The proposal would require that "(CMVs) in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, that are equipped with an electronic engine control unit (ECU) capable of governing the maximum speed be required to limit the CMV to a speed to be determined by the rulemaking and to maintain that ECU setting for the service life of the vehicle." A speed has not been determined, but previous proposals mentioned rates of 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.
TRAA understands the intention of FMCSA, NHTSA, and other groups to improve roadway safety and reduce roadside fatalities. However, TRAA opposes the proposal based on our belief that CMV speed limiters would in fact have the opposite effect. While there are several problems with the proposal, our primary concerns are the following:
- Increased Risk of Traffic Incidents: Speed limiters prevent operators from changing speeds as necessary to move with traffic flow. Variations in speed increase the rate of interactions between vehicles which in turn increases the rate of incidents. Operators must be able to slow down or speed up based on the traffic conditions, location, and environment to limit interactions with other vehicles.
- Increased Danger to Responders: Commercial vehicle operators must be able to move with the flow of traffic and change lanes as needed. Any efforts that prevent an operator's ability to do so increases the risk of death or injury to any responder or motorist along the roadside. Nothing should prevent an operator's ability to Move Over.
TRAA is again joining forces with other organizations that are also in opposition to the proposal including OOIDA and others. While we don't agree on everything, we do agree that this proposal is bad news and TRAA's participation on similar coalitions for the insurance mandate, Dr. Weil's nomination, etc. have yielded the desired outcomes. The coalition will be meeting with members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees over the next several weeks to increase awareness of and opposition to the mandate. We'll keep the membership posted on the coalition's progress.
As your voice on Capitol Hill, TRAA is proud to be advocating on behalf of the industry and our members. We appreciate the support of each and every member; we couldn’t do this critical work without you!
TRAA Submits Comment to Federal Register on the Safe Integration of Automated Driving Systems (ADS)-Equipped CMVs
On February 1st, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a supplemental advance notice of proposed rulemaking (SANPRM) and request for comments on the Safe Integration of Automated Driving Systems (ADS)-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) [Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0037]
. FMCSA is requesting comments on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) "that may need to be amended, revised, or eliminated to facilitate the safe introduction of ADS-equipped CMVs onto the Nation's roadways. FMCSA continues to consider amendments to the FMCSRs to ensure the safe integration of ADS-equipped CMVs into interstate motor carriers' operations.
While ADS-equipped CMVs are a promising technology, they also pose a number of safety and logistical challenges to traffic incident management responders, including the towing industry, that should be addressed by FMCSA as it considers prudent regulation on their introduction into interstate commerce. Fully automated SAE Level 5 CMVs have no human operators to consent to a tow, to secure a disabled vehicle, or to cooperate with the tow truck operator’s instructions. Without uniform standards for deactivating automated driving systems, ADS-equipped CMVs could pose a hazard to towers responding, and without a system for receiving consent, towers could be exposed to legal liability. While these concerns are currently hypothetical, the future of ADS-equipped CMVs is coming quickly, and federal regulations must be ready to respond. We are requesting that the needs of the towing and recovery industry and other on-scene traffic incident management responders be included in future deliberations about regulating this emerging technology.
As your voice on Capitol Hill, TRAA is proud to be advocating for the industry and our members. We appreciate the support of each and every member; we couldn’t do this critical work without you!