House Committee Approves Truck Parking Bills
On May 24, 2023 it was announced that five transportation-related bills; The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, The LICENSE Act, The CARS Act, The Dry Bulk Weight Tolerance Act, and H.R. 3447, have all been passed by the House committee.
ATA President and CEO Chris Spear told HDT Trucking, “The comprehensive and bipartisan bills that advanced today would address some of the root causes of ongoing supply chain challenges and improve the overall safety, efficiency, and resiliency of freight transportation.”
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act
The TPSI Act is intended to create competitive grant programs specifically to fund truck parking projects in the United States.
ATA reports, there is only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road. They also report that on average, drivers spend 56 minutes per day looking for safe parking.
According to ATA, passing this bill and providing drivers with access to safe parking spots would increase highway safety and improve supply chain efficiency.
Dave Williams, Truckload Carriers Association chairman and senior vice president of Knight-Swift Transportation, said this action can have a positive impact on trucking.
“TCA applauds the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s approval of H.R. 2367, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, aimed at addressing the critical shortage of truck parking. This positive outcome represents a significant step forward in enhancing driver safety, ensuring compliance with federal regulations, and improving the operational efficiency of the trucking industry,” Williams said.
The LICENSE Act
The Licensing Individual Commercial Exam-takers Now Safely and Efficiently Act of 2022 (LICENSE Act), if made into law, will make two DOT waivers that make it easier for new drivers to get licensing permanent.
ATA said these waivers will improve the application process for individuals seeking a CDL.
The bill would allow examiners to administer a CDL knowledge and driving test to any applicant regardless of the applicant’s prior training.
The goal of this bill is to lessen the severe impact of the truck driver shortage.
The CARS Act
In a nutshell, the Carrying Automobiles Responsibly and Safely Act (CARS Act) will cap stinger-steered automobile transporters at 10% weight tolerance.
“A weight tolerance for automobile transporters, which are hauling heavier hybrid and electric passenger cars to market, would enable these vehicles to maximize the use of their equipment to get clean cars to auto dealers,” states the ATA.
“Without exceeding federal bridge weight limits, this bill would reduce the number of miles traveled by heavy-duty trucks that must now complete multiple trips because they are unable to fully load their equipment due to current weight limits.”
There has been some pushback on this bill, specifically from TCA and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Dave Williams, Truckload Carriers Association chairman and senior vice president of Knight-Swift Transportation, said this bill would increase the infrastructure and roadway safety concerns.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters rejected the notion of the bill for similar reasons.
“We reject the notion that the only way to determine if heavier trucks are safe is by unleashing them on our roads through the poorly designed, unrestricted pilot program that this legislation allows. The Department of Transportation, civil engineers, and drivers have long agreed that heavier trucks pose demonstrable risks to motorists and harm to infrastructure,” said John Murphy, Teamsters Freight Division director; and Avral Thompson, Teamsters Carhaul Division director, in a statement.
The Dry Bulk Weight Tolerance Act
Similar to the last bill, the Dry Bulk Weight Tolerance Act would allow for a 10% weight tolerance for dry bulk carriers to allow for shifting cargo exclusively in vehicles loaded at or below the federal weight limit.
This bill would allow for less penalties for shifting weight due to braking, and other standard highway events when hauling dry bulk goods.
This house bill would provide a 2,000-pound weight exemption to hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Currently, the exception applies to both battery-electric and natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.
ATA said this bill would ultimately reduce emissions while restoring technology and fuel neutrality in federal regulations.
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, The LICENSE Act, The CARS Act, The Dry Bulk Weight Tolerance Act, and H.R. 3447 all aim to improve the infrastructure and parking facilities available to truck drivers.
Now that these bills are on their way to the house floor and senate floor, we can expect these five bills to either be approved and made law, or rejected and revised.