CVSA President Sgt. John Samis Testifies on Behalf of CMV Law Enforcement at Senate Subcommittee Hearing

On Feb. 4, 2020, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) President Sgt. John Samis, of the Delaware State Police, testified before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety. The hearing was titled “Keep on Truckin’: Stakeholder Perspectives on Trucking in America” and it examined the state of the trucking industry, truck safety issues and the regulatory environment from the stakeholder perspective.

On behalf of CVSA and the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) law enforcement community, Sgt. Samis told the subcommittee about the challenges the enforcement community faces, citing limited resources to meet an ever-growing list of responsibilities, while trying to keep pace with a rapidly changing industry. Sgt. Samis encouraged the committee to provide states with the flexibly and resources needed to build strong, comprehensive safety programs that can evolve and respond to changes in the trucking industry.

During his remarks, Sgt. Samis also mentioned the regulatory inconsistencies caused by exceptions, exemptions and waivers, he discussed the need for additional flexibility with Motor Carrier Safety Administration Program (MCSAP) grants, and he reiterated the enforcement community’s strong support for technological advancements that improve safety and benefit society.

“The FAST Act included a number of changes that will have a positive impact on the nation’s roadway safety and work has been completed or is currently underway to implement a majority of those requirements,” said Sgt. Samis. “However, there is more work to be done, as recent traffic fatality data reflects an upward trend in crashes and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles.”

Sgt. Samis continued, “As this subcommittee considers the state of the trucking industry and begins development of the next surface transportation bill, we encourage [the subcommittee] to give strong consideration to the role the enforcement community will play in any policy changes or new programs, and to ensure that the states and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are given the resources and flexibility to maintain their core programs while also building upon them and keeping pace with industry.”

In addition to CVSA, the subcommittee also heard from the following witnesses:

  • Chris Spear, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Trucking Associations
  • Jake Parnell, Manager, Cattlemen’s Livestock Market; Director, Livestock Marketing Association
  • Lewie Pugh, Executive Vice President, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
  • Dawn King, President, Truck Safety Coalition

Other topics discussed during the hearing included allowing drivers age 18-20 to operate in interstate commerce, universal electronic vehicle identifiers, hours of service and electronic logging devices, clarity in the regulatory framework, detention time, truck parking and the 5.9 GHz spectrum.

“As we look ahead to the future of the commercial motor vehicle industry, states will need every resource available to keep pace with an ever-growing and ever-changing industry,” said Sgt. Samis.