The ATA, American Trucking Association, At It Again. This Time They're Green.

The ATA is well known for being against truckers. Their name is an oxymoron. It should be the American Trucking Company Owner Association. Nothing they do is for the driver, and very little they do is for the industry. They’re name makes them sound as if they speak for the entire industry. Now, they’ve decided to go green.

If you are a driver and/or owner-operator, I’m preaching to the choir. If you are not, hopefully you will understand that the ATA does not want fair competition among large company and small company trucking. They want to narrow the shipping industry down to a few tightly controlled large companies. This unfair competition will raise the overall costs of shipping, therefore hurting the economy in the process.

I found this article about how they are going green. Many of these points make sense and sound great for our world, but there are big problems for small and independent companies. They are problems the ATA will exploit to ensure a better marketplace for the companies that support them. “Green” technologies overall are not proven, and when you narrow the science down to the transportation industry, the theories gain even less credibility. If you look into the reasons that these “green” practices target the small company while leaving large companies open to do as they wish, you understand the motivation is not for ecological benefits. Lets look at these “green” practices and you decide.

  1. Governers – setting the max speed for all trucks.
    • Not the gain for safety you would think. Truck that are governed tend to cling to tightly and create gridlock on the highway system.
    • Speed is an owner-operator’s edge and the ATA is very well aware of this. While speed can be abused, an experienced owner-operator knows how and when to use it in his favor. Large fleets cannot allow thier inexperienced drivers to utilize higher speeds for a business edge.
    • The mechanics and gearing of specialized owner-operator trucks can allow them to run more efficiently at higher speeds while these configurations are to costly to apply to a large fleet of trucks.
  2.  Idle Reduction
    • Owner Operators and small companies know how to manage this without regulation. Their tight profit margins do not allow for wasted fuel. They do need to idle for certain circumstances and laws preventing it create an unsafe situation for everone as the drivers can lose rest without the comfort an idled truck provides.
    • The alternatives for idling can be restrictive and a small operator can make adjustments. Large companies want an across-the-board solution to ease the management in large fleet.
  3. Removing Older Vehicles From Operation
    • This would put many small operations under. They’re prime investment is their equipment and they’ve taken care of it to make it last. Buying new equipment just for the sake of ecological reasons would ruin their business. Large fleets can afford to take the hit and they would reap the rewards by removing competition.
  4. Fuel Tax Hike
    • Small increases can put small operations out of business. Large companies plan on using other tax shelters to make up for this loss, where small operations do not have the same tax relief.
  5. More Productive Truck Combinations
    • They are trying to force drivers into areas where it is not legal or safe to operate these combinations. Otherwise, this would be a good idea. The drivers pick up the slack here and take the blame for the accidents that this can cause.
  6. National Fuel Economy Standards
    • Another method to outlaw specialized configurations of  equipment, therefore taking the edge off of the small operator.

The biggest lie in the article, “Sometimes it’s about more than the bottom line.” That’s a big whopper of a lie from the ATA! It is always about the bottom line with the corporations they represent, always. It is actually illegal for a corporation to not operate in the interest of the bottom line. It is their duty to their shareholders to do everything possible to increase the bottom line. That’s fine and fair, we’re supposed to be in a capitalist society. There is no need to lie about it, unless you are trying to hoodwink the government and population.

If these “green” policies were fair and based on proven science, it would be self-evident. However they are biased and motivated by greed to eliminate fair competition and place an even larger burden on the individual driver. Yes, we need to be good stewards of the environment, but looking out for your neighbor is important too. The nation’s truck drivers work some of the longest hours in the harshest of conditions of any occupation in the United States. In the end, these policies reduce the chances of individual success of a driver and increase a driver’s safety and health risk’s.

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