The American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association came together at the conclusion of ATA's Management Conference & Exhibition to call on policy makers to allow for increased truck productivity.

“The trucking industry, like any family, sometimes takes a while to reach a consensus, but we're happy that we have been able to bring our respective policies on truck productivity in line,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “It is critical that we petition our elected leaders with one voice and this brings us closer to our industry unity.”

The ATA board of directors voted to add 88,000-pound, five-axle combinations with enhanced braking capability, to its list of preferred productivity improvements. This new component joins 97,000-pound, six-axle combinations and harmonization of longer-combination vehicles on the menu of productivity improvements ATA will advocate for in Washington and state capitals across the country. ATA endorsed increasing truck weight limits to 97,000 pounds in 2006.

Also this week, TCA voted to approve a two-tiered productivity policy of supporting combinations of 88,000 pounds on five axles as well as 97,000 pounds on six axles.

“With possible hours-of-service changes threatening to limit capacity, congestion choking our highways and the driver shortage worsening, we need to find ways to improve our industry's productivity in order to continue delivering the nation's essential goods,” ATA Chairman Dan England, chairman C.R. England, said. “Studies have shown that more productive trucks are safer, more efficient and greener than conventional combinations without causing more wear and tear on our roads, and now that we and TCA have come together on this issue, we’re in a better position to continue to make that case to policymakers.”

“Given the advances in brake technology, an 88,000-pound, five axle truck using enhanced brakes will meet federal rules limiting commercial vehicle stopping distance,” said TCA Chairman Gary Salisbury, President and CEO of Fikes Truck Line, Hope, Ark. “By amending our policies and compromising, TCA and ATA have set the trucking industry on the road to success.”