Arkansas Trucking Association

You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Making it Count

Up Front- Making it Count

 shannonnewton2Shannon Newton
 President, ATA

Progress can be hard to measure. Bringing about change is often a slow process. However, this year has produced several notable pieces of legislation and regulation that have been a long time coming, bringing with them meaningful change for the industry in Arkansas and across the nation.

As 2015 began our association had a lofty agenda including relationship building, legislation passing and regulation monitoring. Our top legislative priority last January was to pass anti-indemnification legislation. Arkansas was one of very few states that still allowed shippers to force liability onto carriers no matter the circumstances. With the help of our members, the bill halting this practice passed through both chambers in March and was signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson. A win three years in the making.

We doubled down on our mission to promote the industrys commitment to safety. In July, we secured funding to hire a director of safety services to teach carriers and motorists alike what safe, regulation-compliant driving looks like. This fall, we selected an Arkansas Road Team to enhance the image of the industry and spread our message of safe driving to the public. These programs were merely ideas three years ago.

At the federal level, finally, we passed a long-term highway bill. For the first time in over a decade, we have fully funded legislation that includes critical highway safety policies and dedicated funding for freight specific corridors.

The most recent, most anticipated, and arguably the most impactful change to our industry since deregulation is the newly published Final Rule on Electronic Logging Devices. Our association has supported adoption of this technology since 1999. Ten years later, we began lobbying for federal legislation mandating its use. We were successful doing so in 2010 and five years later, the 2-year countdown to compliance has finally begun.

The past year has been packed with visits, meetings and projects. The overarching goal of connecting with the membership, increased engagement, visibility to the members, legislators, other elected officials and the general public was sought in every opportunity.

As we look to 2016, theres no time for resting on our laurels. There are initiatives still in progress. Hours-of-service, driver health and wellness, the driver shortage and a fragile economy are well-known, recurring foes of our industry. We will continue to strive to make it easier for our members to do business in Arkansas. Improving government services like IRP registration, commercial truck licensing and registration and CDL testing are some of the projects on our plate. Such things take time.

The need to increase transportation funding at the state level will predictably grab headlines in 2016. With a current shortfall and additional money needed in order to match new federal dollars, sticking our head in the sand is no longer an option. It is likely well see a special session on highway funding next year.

Unlike personal resolutions to hit the gym and quit all our bad habits, we didnt temper expectations or abandon truckings goals by mid-February. In 12 months, weve made real strides to leave this industry better than we found it and improve the safety of our highways for our drivers and fellow citizens. We made 2015 count.

When the clock strikes twelve, well celebrate the opportunity to do it all again. Bring on 2016!

 

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Making it Count