I just read with great interest Trucks.com report on the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo at the Long Beach, Calif., convention center this week , where “major industry players pledged to stay the course on advancements in fuel economy and alternative technologies despite regulatory uncertainty.”
Here’s hoping that they will do the same regarding advances in truck safety issues — in particular, underride protection. In fact, several of the comments which I read in that article indicate that our Comprehensive Underride Protection bill is right in line with industry thinking:
- . . . if there’s a technological path to improve fuel economy, manufacturers are going to pursue it, because those with better fuel economy are going to have a better advantage in the economy,” said Steve Gilligan, vice president of product and vocational marketing of the North American business unit at Navistar International Corp.
- . . . speakers returned repeatedly to the tangle of regulations governing emissions, innovations and infrastructure. . . “Ten years ago, things were pretty static, but now it’s almost like the automobile industry was back in 1900, when people didn’t know if the vehicles were going to run on steam, whale oil or something else,” said Brian Lindgren, research and development director at Kenworth Truck Co. “If you were a young engineer, this would be an exciting time to be in the truck industry.”
- Panelists said that coordinating their vehicle development strategy across the various regulations is a priority.
- Most panelists said they were pushing ahead anyway with fuel-efficient truck designs to satisfy customer demand.
- But some said they would welcome some streamlining of more complicated, conflicting regulations – if the administration communicated its plans.
“We’re trying to separate the noise from the facts – clarity is probably the biggest need we have so we can plan accordingly,” Gilligan said.
- And as tests of platooning and driverless technologies progress and other breakthroughs loom, panelists urged the government to develop cohesive rules that apply nationwide, not just in a patchwork of states.
“We can demonstrate that technology on the road, but we need a regulatory framework, testing validation and eventually deployment too,” Schaefer said.
That preference for a coordinated, comprehensive technological game plan is what was communicated by a trucking industry representative at the Underride Roundtable one year ago on May 5, 2016. And it is what we have worked tirelessly to develop since that time — leading up to the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 (RAMCUP).
We are giving them what they asked for — a comprehensive regulatory and technological framework for achieving SAFER trucks — a way to ensure that travelers will no longer be vulnerable victims of Death by Underride.