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Lipinski, Hon. William O., a Representative in Congress from Illinois
president-elect and chairman, Governmental Relations Committee, National
Wyland, Darryl L., senior vice president, public and government relations,
American Automobile Association
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Byrne, Hon. Leslie L., of Virginia
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Lipinski, Hon. William O., a Representative in Congress from Ilinois:
List, Covered Load Regulations by State
Letters from constituents
School Transportation Association, letter, Cecil C. Dolin, state director,
School Transportation and Facilities, State of West Virginia, May 3, 1994
Administration, response to questions from Representative Petri
Inc., responses to post hearing questions from Representative Petri
MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY
TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 1994
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m., in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Nick Joe Rahall II (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. RAHALL. The subcommittee will come to order, please.
The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation is meeting today to conduct an oversight hearing on motor carrier safety issues.
As part of this oversight hearing, we will receive testimony on several legislative proposals, including the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act of 1994 introduced by our colleague Representative Jim Oberstar.
We will also receive testimony on the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1993, sponsored by another of our colleagues on the full committee, Representative Bill Lipinski.
In addition, we will hear about the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1993 being advanced by Representatives Connie Morella and Leslie Byrne, a longstanding legislative concern of our colleague Representative Jim Traficant.
It has been my intention to hold an oversight hearing on motor carrier safety since assuming the Chair of this subcommittee last year. And indeed, we have had it listed as a hearing candidate for some time.
Aside from those issues which are the subject of the pending legislation, there are a number of matters involving the implementation of the commercial driver's license program, the anti-lock braking system rulemaking, and the alcohol and drug testing initiatives, which should be reviewed by this panel.
More recently, concerns over issues relating to truck size and weight were raised as part of our consideration of the National Highway System bill. This issue will consume a considerable amount of the hearing, but again, I do not want the subcommittee to lose sight of the other matters that are just as deserving of our attention.
With respect to the proposal being advanced by our colleague and the distinguished Chairman of our Aviation Subcommittee, Mr. Oberstar, the problem I have had with it is that the subcommittee simply does not know what its full ramifications are in terms of safety, in terms of its effect on reducing congestion and improving
air quality, its impact on the economy, and its impact on our transportation infrastructure and the advancement of intermodalism.
Today's hearing, hopefully, will shed some light on these concerns and I look forward to the testimony of all of our witnesses.
I want to, before recognizing our full committee Chairman, recognize the Ranking Minority Member, Mr. Petri.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First, I would like to apologize for not being able to attend all of this hearing today. Our Education and Labor Committee is marking up health care reform legislation that has been sent to the Congress by the President and so my presence is required at that meeting as well.
As you have noted we are holding this hearing to examine various motor carrier safety issues, with a particular focus on truck size and weights. One of the proposals before the subcommittee would freeze current State weight limits and impose a 53-foot length limit on all trucks traveling on National Highway System routes.
This issue was first raised by our committee colleague Jim Oberstar in the context of the National Highway System bill which was recently passed by the House. While I definitely respect Mr. Oberstar's sincere safety and infrastructure concerns, I, like you, was very concerned at that time about adopting a comprehensive policy change without first examining the consequences and implications of that new policy.
Federal regulation of truck size and weights on roads off interstates is virtually unprecedented. The 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight limit now applies only to interstate routes, and a Federal freeze of current state laws would bring an additional 100,000 miles of roads under Federal regulation for the first time.
While there is a minimum Federal length limit on the national truck network, we have never placed restrictions on the maximum length of trucks. Proponents of National Highway System truck restrictions cite safety and pavement damage as the reasons for supporting these controls.
The hearing today will give us an opportunity to examine these argu Are longer and heavier trucks more unsafe than other trucks?
If the size and length of trucks are restricted, will the number of trucks on the road increase and thereby compromise safety more than if fewer larger trucks were on the road?
In addition, it is my understanding that the critical factor in pavement damage is not gross vehicle weight but rather the peraxle weight. Will the gross vehicle weight limit truly preserve our National Highway System infrastructure?
Beyond safety and infrastructure concerns, I also believe it is important to fully consider the impact on economic development and whether we may be limiting ourselves from further innovations in trucking in the shipping industry by imposing such sweeping restrictions.
Beyond truck size and weights, we will also investigate several other safety issues concerning cargo securement, truck driver fatigue, the new drug and alcohol testing regulations, and the unique challenges faced by the independent owners and operators.