I’m not sure what world I woke up in today, but it’s not one where truckers have open, equal access to representation before the Senate. It was clearly a hearing that catered to the anti-trucking agenda.
Today, in short, was a very sad day. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation among other modes held a hearing on improving truck safety. From the time the hearing was gaveled open, it was less about open, honest dialogue and was more of a hatchet job.
I mean seriously. Let’s look at the panel of witnesses.
The National Transportation Safety Board was there. That’s the quasi-government agency that likes to armchair quarterback the safety agenda of trucking. They are really big on technology, too.
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance had a seat at the table. So, the cops sure had their voice. We heard out of them a lot about how they need more money for enforcement.
There was a professor from Penn State who is on the Transportation Research Board. He said at one point the hardest thing about trucking is drilling down into the data. (I don’t know. I thought driving a truck safely was the toughest part.)
There was also a rep from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Suffice it to say they rarely, if ever, give truckers a fair shake.
And, finally, the lone “trucking” voice on the panel was Jerry Moyes. Yes, that Jerry Moyes. The chairman emeritus of Swift Transportation. A company that was referred to at one point as the “pioneer of safety.”
Do what? Pioneer of what? Are you even kidding me?
Who put this panel together? Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., I have to think you had a heavy hand in this makeup and your anti-trucking agenda was showing.
It was nothing but a sales call for more technology. Which I found comical. Jerry Moyes likes to brag about all the technology on his trucks at Swift, but couldn’t remember to turn on his microphone. Jerry? Technology is only as good as the person using it.
Fortunately, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., brought up the need for more safe truck parking. That was a bright spot. There wasn’t a lot of love for twin 33-foot trailers either.
But, beyond any of that, this was a hearing that railroaded truckers. It railroaded them without an opportunity to refute a word of it.
When our Senate thinks it is OK to let Jerry Moyes speak for truckers, we have a serious problem on our hands. This is a man who, and I quote, says “safety has to have a payoff.” Saving lives isn’t enough for Mr. Moyes. It’s paying dividends to the shareholders that matters.
Truckers have to call both of their senators today, right now. This was wholly unacceptable and should not be tolerated one bit. Truckers must have a seat at the table.
Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor, has been in journalism for more than 25 years – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging SuperRigs or researching hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.