Issues & Policies

TCA’s Regulatory Update: Industry Hot Topics in Washington, DC.

TCA’s leadership and staff track numerous issues that are critical to the success of companies working in the truckload industry. In addition to keeping members informed on these issues, TCA collectively sets policies reflecting the members’ perspective to guide the association’s operating, outreach, and advocacy efforts.

Industry Issues

Get background information, updates, and sources for more details on important regulatory and legislative issues affecting the truckload industry.

Recent Activity

The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program managed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a safety enforcement system that has caused great concern to trucking carriers since its implementation in 2010. Since CSA has redefined the way every motor carrier performs its daily safety functions, questions continue to surround the accuracy of the measurement systems implemented for motor carriers. Key criticisms of CSA are that crashes where the motor carrier is not at fault are included in the calculations, the “peer groups” into which carriers are grouped do not provide a fair assessment of their individual operations, and that the current model uses measures which are not reflective of a carrier’s efforts to improve safety or their likelihood of a future crash. Additionally, because different states have different enforcement standards, the data going into the CSA model is not uniform across the country, eliminating generalizability from one state to another.

As a result of these concerns, FMCSA has decided to act on the recommendation of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) to develop CSA 2.0, which incorporates an item response theory (IRT) statistical model into the formulation of the scores. IRT will help FMCSA better evaluate carriers by using roadside violations to assess the safety performance of each carrier. FMCSA will be able to determine the prevalence of each type of violation and assess that violation’s effectiveness in distinguishing between safe and unsafe behaviors. Using the IRT model will likely result in the end of Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) and peer group comparisons. It will also move away from the crash risk approach and toward a singular safety score for motor carriers. FMCSA is in the process of testing the IRT model with the goal of completing their evaluations by summer of 2019.



The goal of CSA is to reduce crashes by increasing FMCSA contact with carriers and drivers, identifying high risk activities and correcting such behaviors. While many problems exist with this much maligned program, the results are relevant. Driver and vehicle violation rates continue their downward trends and carriers are embracing the availability of their safety data and the opportunity to make their operations safer.

Requests for changes and revisions to CSA have been ongoing. In January 2015, the FMCSA concluded that including a “crash accountability” factor into its CSA program would not affect scores and would actually be too difficult, complicated, and costly. This raised the question of the fairness of the results if crash fault assignment is not determined. Drivers and carriers should not be penalized or judged unfairly by reasonably unavoidable crashes, like when a drunk driver rear ends a truck or a motorist hits a carrier head on. Additionally, the CSA rankings are used by shippers to select the carriers with which they will do business, so a biased report further ruins the reputation of a company and a driver.


Additional Information

Recent Activity

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found distracted drivers to be the 7th ranking critical concern for the trucking industry in 2018. According to, over 660,000 drivers are using an electronic device at any given daylight moment in America.

CSA Logo

In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a final rule banning the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The rule became effective January 3, 2012, and prohibits drivers from reaching for, holding, texting or dialing a mobile telephone while driving a CMV. The ban applies when the vehicle is in operation, is temporarily stopped on the highway for traffic, or is waiting at a stoplight, stop sign, or other traffic control device. Hands-free use of a mobile telephone is permitted with a wireless earpiece or through one-touch dialing and operation of the speakerphone function. The rule further states that motor carriers and employers are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to use hand-held mobile telephones while operating the vehicle. Motor carriers that do not adhere to this provision will be fined a maximum penalty of $11,000. Drivers who violate the restriction will face a fine of up to $2,750 per violation.


As technology use has increased, particularly text messaging, the issue of distracted driving has been pushed to the forefront of our industry. Research shows that CMV drivers that text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event, like a car crash, than those who do not text. The texting drivers, on average stopped looking at the road for 4.6 seconds, approximating the length of a football field when driving 55mph. Similarly, drivers dialing a mobile phone were six times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event. Due to this data and regulatory interpretation, the Department of Transportation and the FMCSA have been working since 2009 to eliminate cell phone use by commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Additional Information

Recent Activity

The health and wellness of truck drivers is of supreme concern and in 2018 was ranked as the 9th most important issue in the industry by contributors to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). In January 2014, a study was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine titled, “Obesity and Other Risk Factors: The National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury.” Over 1,600 long-haul drivers were surveyed and results indicated that 88% of drivers display at least one chronic disease risk factor such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, and/or poor sleep practices. The study found that 69% of the participating drivers were obese, which is double the rate of the U.S. adult working population. Additionally, the prevalence of cigarette smoking is over double in the trucking population (51%) than in the adult working population (19%). The study concluded with a call to action, suggesting, “a need for targeted interventions to meet the health needs of [long-haul drivers].”

In a membership survey conducted by TCA in 2014, 56% of our member companies reported that they currently do not have a driver-focused health-and-wellness program. After spending up to 11 hours on the road, sleeping in a truck, exercising minimally if at all, eating at gas stations, and smoking habitually, a driver is likely to have difficulty maintaining wellness. Recently, outreach efforts and resources have been put into place to encourage drivers to seek a healthier lifestyle. Rolling Strong, a health initiative program, provides a wellness curriculum targeted at drivers to educate, encourage, and coach healthy living while on the road.



On top of the difficult lifestyle that truckers lead, drivers are more likely to die on the job than the average worker as trucking ranks as one of the most dangerous jobs in America. The industry is concerned with the overall wellness of its employees, but the monetary benefits of focusing on health and wellbeing are also becoming increasingly more noticeable. With the shortage of drivers, aging work force, and the remarkably high turnover rate, the industry can’t afford to lose any more members of this community. The life expectancy for a truck driver is below the national average, and from a practical standpoint, it is more cost effective to encourage the health and wellbeing of an employee than to lose him or her to death or poor health. Additionally, employees who are valued and cared for are more likely to have better productivity outcomes. By focusing on health and wellness there is the potential to increase job satisfaction, recruitment possibilities, industry image, the longevity of employee service, and the overall efficiency and output of the company. Healthy happy employees make better businesses.


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Recent Activity

CSA Logo

The truck driver shortage is the top concern of industry professionals. Today, the shortage is estimated to be around 80,000, with that number expected to grow to 160,000 by 2030 if we continue on the current trajectory. Furthermore, the turnover rate for trucking companies was 94% in the first quarter of 2018, a number that has risen steadily in recent years. This means that for every 100 people hired by a carrier, 94 of those employees end up leaving the company. For some larger truckload carriers this rate is even higher, signifying that replacements for these drivers are not available. Compounding the shortage of qualified drivers, this industry-wide turnover rate pressures shipping costs to rise and carriers to rejuvenate their hiring techniques.


The average age of a truck driver is 55, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With an aging workforce, a void in younger driver sign-up, an increase of retiring drivers, long periods away from home, few pay incentives, and stricter driving laws, the national workforce participation the trucking industry is low.

The shortage of qualified truck drivers is placing a strain on the trucking industry and has been an issue of concern for many years. In an effort to combat this driver shortage, carrier companies are offering incentives, including signing bonuses and coverage of licensing costs, to decrease vacancies and increase overall productivity within the industry. Yet, in spite of these measures, there are still not enough skilled new drivers signing up.

The entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2017 also restrict driver enrollment and maintenance. These new regulations will go into effect in February 2020, with school curriculum plans expected to be finalized before this deadline. According to FMCSA, new drivers must first successfully complete a mandatory theory (knowledge) training program before taking a CDL skills test, as opposed to an alternative hours-based training approach. It remains to be seen whether this new training requirement will even further exacerbate the driver shortage issue.

Additional Information

Recent Activity

Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse was mandated as a part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), a transportation spending bill which passed through Congress in 2012. The Clearinghouse final rule went into effect in January 2017, with full compliance effective in January 2020. The program has established new reporting requirements in terms of testing, with FMCSA-regulated employers and other drug testing authorities now mandated to report to the Clearinghouse any adverse drug and alcohol testing results.

Employers must “query” the Clearinghouse for covered drivers both for pre-employment screenings and for annual verifications. Additionally, state driver licensing agencies must query the Clearinghouse when a state-licensed driver obtains, renews, upgrades or transfers his/her commercial driver’s license (CDL). The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) can access the Clearinghouse when they are investigating a crash and need information on the driver involved. All employers of CDL drivers must purchase a query plan in the Clearinghouse. The flat per query rate is $1.25, with bundle plans available ranging from 1 to 7,500 queries. An unlimited query plan is also available for $24,500 per year.

Hair Testing

Section 5402 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the most recent highway funding reauthorization bill passed by Congress, directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue guidelines for hair testing as a method to detect drug abuse. After these guidelines are adopted, FMCSA can move forward with a notice and comment rulemaking period to permit hair testing as an acceptable alternative to urine testing.

In September 2020, the proposed HHS guidelines were published in the Federal Register. TCA and the broader trucking industry were disappointed in the guidelines, as they would require an alternative authorized specimen, either urine or oral fluid, to be collected, tested, and reported in the event of a positive hair test result with no legitimate medical explanation and no admission of guilt by the individual. This requirement is not only incredibly cost prohibitive, but it also completely invalidates the unique detection benefits that can be obtained through a hair test. We await further action by HHS on the finalization of these guidelines.

One of the major benefits to this development is that instead of simply showing an offender’s drug use over the previous two to three days like a typical urinalysis, testing hair follicles demonstrates drug use going back a full 90 days. Hair testing is also better at detecting lifestyle drug users and opioid addicts. Other countries already require hair testing for truck drivers. In 2016, Brazil implemented a law requiring all commercial truck drivers to pass a hair test before renewing their license. Since the law went into effect, more than 1 million drivers have either failed the test or decided not to renew their license.

Critics are quick to point out that there are several downsides, however, to conducting this more extensive test. These tests have been shown to occasionally produce false positive results because drug residue found on common items like dollar bills or second-hand marijuana smoke can be absorbed into the hair, even if the individual is not using these drugs. More than 90 strands of hair that are at least an inch-and-a-half long and cut as close to the roots as possible are needed to conduct the test. Additionally, these tests may lead to discriminatory results as thicker, darker hair retains a drug’s chemical markers for longer when compared to thinner, lighter hair. It remains to be seen whether hair testing will make its way into the formally approved drug testing process for the Clearinghouse.



In 1991, Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act to require Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies, including FMCSA, to implement drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees. FMCSA’s rules define the drug and alcohol regulations for employees who drive commercial trucks and buses that require a CDL. These rules identify who is subject to testing, when they are tested, and in what situations.

CDL drivers are subject to several types of tests, including pre-employment, post-accident, random testing, and reasonable suspicion. The regulation requires testing for the following controlled substances: marijuana, cocaine, opiates (opium and codeine derivatives), amphetamines and methamphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP). It is an employer’s responsibility to implement and conduct drug and alcohol testing programs.


Additional Information

TCA Informative 1-Pager on Drug Testing
FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Website
Overview of FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Rules
FMCSA Drug and Alcohol FAQs
FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Resources and Downloads for Employers
DriverFacts Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse White Paper

Recent Activity

In December 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released its final rule requiring commercial trucking and busing companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time for easier, more accurate hours-of-service (HOS) recording. This ELD regulation followed the release and consideration of two different Supplemental Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRMs), which both superseded the initial 2011 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on this issue. The goal of the regulation is to create a safer work environment for drivers and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.

The rule includes provisions to respect driver privacy, safeguard drivers from harassment, and increase the efficiency of law enforcement and inspectors reviewing driver logs. ELD records will be kept by motor carriers and drivers, and will only be made available to authorities during roadside inspections, compliance reviews, and post-crash investigations. The rule explicitly prohibits carrier owners from using ELD data to harass drivers, or coerce drivers into violating HOS regulations by driving fatigued. Finally, ELDs make it extremely difficult to falsify records, so personnel who review this data are no longer tasked with fact checking, increasing the competence and productive time use of inspectors. According to FMCSA, the agency has already seen a decrease in HOS violations since enforcement of the ELD mandate began.

Four of the biggest cellular service companies plan to sunset 3G wireless connectivity in early 2022. This upcoming transition has the potential to disrupt ELD communications for many devices which currently rely on 3G and are incompatible with 4G or 5G service. TCA urges all carriers to contact their ELD provider to ensure that their ELDs will remain fully functional past the 3G sunset.


Canada’s ELD mandate was scheduled to go into effect in June 2021, but due to a lengthy 3rd party certification process, which differs from the self-certification allowed in the United States, very few devices have been certified to date and so enforcement of the mandate has been delayed until June 12, 2022. The devices certified for use in Canada is tracked on Transport Canada’s website. When Canada begins enforcing its ELD regulation, any truck operating in Canada must use one of these Canadian certified certified devices regardless of the truck’s origin, including those which cross the land border from the United States.

Additional Information

TCA Informative 1-Pager on ELDs
December 2015 Final Rule

TCA Policy: Electronic Logging Devices

Recent Activity

TCA has actively fought to federally preempt state meal and rest break requirements. Twenty-six states have adopted separate and disparate rules which are more stringent than the federal safety standards enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Of these states, California has presented the biggest threat to the trucking industry. California’s Wage Order 9 holds that drivers must take a 30-minute meal break every 5 hours and a 10-minute rest break every 4 hours, as well as additional meal and rest breaks for longer shifts. If an employer does not authorize and permit employees to take these breaks, the employers must pay the employees a “premium” equal to one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay. Under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), civil penalties can be recovered by an “aggrieved employee” on behalf of all other current and former employees who experienced these violations of the Labor Code. Aggressive attorneys have gone after California carriers for violations of this rule, resulting in millions of dollars of penalties to those carriers.

TCA and our partners in the trucking industry believe California’s meal and rest break laws impose substantive standards related to the price, route or service of a motor carrier, and therefore should be preempted under the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (F4A). Language affirming this preemption, while initially included, was not a part of the finalized Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, which passed through Congress in October 2018. As a result, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), petitioned FMCSA to preempt the California law due to its hindering of interstate commerce. TCA filed public comments in support of ATA’s petition, and on December 21, 2018, FMCSA granted the petition in a win for our industry.

On November 17, 2020, FMCSA granted a petition to preempt similar meal and rest break laws in Washington, representing another successful challenge to state regulations that conflict with the federal standards.


Congress enacted F4A to prevent states from undermining federal deregulation of interstate commerce through a patchwork of state regulations. However, California’s Wage Order 9 and the regulations of various other states have prompted TCA and other industry groups to call on Congress to formally preempt these states.

After California enacted Wage Order 9, resource-consuming litigation began taking advantage of carriers that were complying with federal standards but not those specifically for California. Aggressive plaintiff’s attorneys capitalize on the confusion between federal and state laws and aim to catch carriers off guard in order to retain large settlements. In response, a group of motor carriers petitioned FMCSA for preemption of the California statute. FMCSA rejected this petition, contending that the Order regulates employment rather than motor carrier safety and therefore is not eligible for federal preemption under F4A.

Trucking interests also challenged the regulation in the courts, and won the case (Penske Logistics, LLC v. Dilts) in favor of federal preemption at the District Court level. But in 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s decision. The Department of Transportation (DOT) filed an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief in support of maintaining the Order. In January 2015, Penske Logistics petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case, however this petition was denied and the Ninth Circuit’s ruling stands today.

The Ninth Circuit has defined the law in a way that is irreconcilable with F4A’s broad deregulatory purpose. If not addressed, the result will be further reregulation of the motor carrier industry using state employment laws. If this state-level regulation continues to grow, the impact on competitive forces would multiply exponentially, undoing the very positive impacts of competition that have been fostered by F4A.

Recent Activity

The Hours of Service (HOS) rule under which the truckload industry previously operated was published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in December 2011. This rule proved to be overly restrictive for the industry, and as such, FMCSA has moved forward with a new Final Rule. The new Rule was announced by FMCSA on May 14, 2020 and was implemented on September 29, 2020.

TCA applauded FMCSA for moving forward with the HOS changes, particularly the adjustments to the split-sleeper berth provision and the added flexibility to the 30-minute rest break. TCA affirms that highway safety is incredibly important, and we support HOS regulations that are practical and promote operational flexibility. Motor carriers must not be subject to citations or penalties for violations of HOS requirements that result from activities over which they have no control. Also, with the ongoing data collection from electronic logging devices, future analysis will likely show that regulatory flexibility will have an undeniably positive impact on roadway safety.


TCA has been in communication with FMCSA regarding ambiguities to the new 30-minute break requirements. As a point of clarification, under the newly released Final Rule on HOS, drivers will be required to take a 30-minute break after 8 cumulative hours of driving, provided the driver has not already taken a consecutive 30-minute break prior to reaching the 8-hour mark. This break can now be satisfied either by off-duty, sleeper berth, or on-duty not driving time or by a combination of off-duty, sleeper berth, and on-duty not driving time.

If taking a break prior to reaching 8 hours of driving, the driver must record a consecutive 30-minute interruption of driving status in order to satisfy the requirement. The break cannot be broken into to smaller segments, such as two breaks of 15 minutes or three breaks of 10 minutes. For example, while a flatbed driver is required to stop regularly to conduct load securement checks, these routine stops would not count toward the 30-minute break unless the driver records a change of driving status to either off-duty, sleeper berth, and on-duty not driving time or a combination of those for at least 30 consecutive minutes.

To read the direct language surrounding the 30-minute break in the Final Rule, please view pages 169 and 232.


A summary of the changes in the new FMCSA Final Rule on hours of service is as follows:

  • Increased safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of cumulative driving and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status. If taking a break prior to reaching 8 hours of driving, the driver must record a consecutive 30-minute interruption of driving status in order to satisfy the requirement.
  • Modified sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods of either an 8/2 split or a 7/3 split with neither period counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
  • Modified adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • Updated short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

Additional Information

Recent Activity

Infrastructure Logo

There are nearly 4 million miles of road throughout the United States that need to be maintained and developed to transport the goods which keep this nation running. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law by President Biden in November 2021, is the largest infrastructure investment in this nation’s history. This legislation authorized the spending of $1.2 trillion over five years (2022 – 2026) for use on hundreds of long and short-term projects across the nation, including a large injection of funds into the Highway Trust Fund, a $1 billion per year funding of nationally significant freight and highway projects, regional transportation grants, and several long-term Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outreach programs. The IIJA includes $550 billion of new spending. Additionally, $110 billion has been set aside specifically to repair the nations aging roads, highways, and bridges.

Many programs concerning the trucking industry are also included in the IIJA, spanning over a wide variety of topics.

  • A study into the effectiveness, development, and implementation of side underride guards is included in the IIJA. This study will shed light on the contentious issue of side underride guards and better illustrate their effect on the industry.
  • An automatic emergency breaking mandate is also included in the IIJA, requiring each new passenger vehicle and truck to be equipped with an automatic emergency braking system.
  • FMCSA has been directed to conduct a New Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which is meant to gain insights into the causes of collisions involving large trucks.
  • FMCSA will also move forward with an apprenticeship program for commercial driver’s license holders aged 18-20.
  • An electronic logging device (ELD) oversight study will be performed to learn exactly how FMCSA utilizes user data, especially personally identifiable data and if these practices need to be amended.
  • A “Truck Leasing Task Force” will study the current state of leasing practices in the industry and determine their effect on safety, maintenance, and drivers.
  • Broker guidance is also included in the IIJA and will clarify the definitions of the terms “broker” and “bona fide agents” to create firm categories and eliminate the conflation between brokerages and dispatch services. Penalties for unauthorized brokerage activities will also be reviewed and clarified.
  • There will also be a nationwide vehicle miles traveled tax study aimed at learning more about how transitioning from the traditional fuel tax to a VMT tax would affect both everyday citizens and private transportation industries.

The new IIJA is effectively replacing the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act after this former authorization program was extended an extra year. The FAST Act was up again for reauthorization in the fall of 2021, but the broader IIJA will serve as the new highway authorization program for the next five years.


The Highway Trust Fund is the main source of financing for government expenditures on highways and mass transit. Taxes on fuels, heavy trucks, and tires supply revenues to the Fund. However, spending on these infrastructure projects exceeds revenues, leading to yearly Highway Trust Fund shortfalls. Over the past decade, $144 billion in extra deposits from the general fund of the Treasury have been transferred into the Fund in order to keep it solvent. The Highway Trust Fund is now expected to run out of money in 2021 unless Congress acts.

Currently, the tax rate on gasoline and ethanol-blended fuels is 18.4 cents per gallon and for diesel fuel is 24.4 cents per gallon. These rates have neither kept pace with inflation nor the baseline cost of maintaining the nation’s roads and bridges, contributing to the annual shortfalls.

The simplest solution to ensure the Highway Trust Fund’s solvency is to raise the federal fuel tax, which has not been done at the national level for over two decades. The fuel tax consistently presents a problem for our nation’s lawmakers. Even though an increase in the tax, or simply tying the rate to inflation, is desperately needed, voters do not like to see increased taxes. This makes lawmakers reluctant to touch the fuel tax for fear of being voted out of office. TCA supports increases in fuel taxes, coupled with indexing to an appropriate annual cap as needed, provided the funds generated are designated to highway projects.

It is important to note that, while the federal fuel tax rate has not been raised, many individual states have raised their own fuel taxes without major electoral repercussions. According to the Tax Foundation, California has the highest rate of 62.47 cents per gallon of gasoline while Alaska has the lowest at 13.77 cents per gallon. In all, 37 different states have raised or reformed their fuel tax rates since 2010, with most states seeing little to no public outrage over the increases. This shows that raising the federal fuel tax is a realistic option for lawmakers who want to increase funding to the Highway Trust Fund and still remain in office.

A highly discussed alternative to the fuel tax is the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax. The VMT is a tax on all drivers for the distance that they drive on the nation’s roadways. While this notion has been discussed for many years, Chairman Shuster’s infrastructure proposal was the first to seriously suggest implementing it at the federal level. The VMT does have the ability to collect more revenue than the fuel tax, especially in light of the national shift toward hybrid and electric vehicles. However, the trucking community is concerned with many aspects of a VMT. This type of tax would be much more difficult for the government to administer and enforce than the current fuel tax and would also require a method to accurately log miles traveled along the nation’s roadways, which is not currently available. TCA is also concerned that a VMT would disproportionately target long-haul truckload carriers, effectively disincentivizing interstate commerce and penalizing carriers that are working to improve fuel efficiency.

Additional Information

Recent Activity


In September 2015, then-Congressman Reid Ribble introduced H.R. 3488, the Safe Flexible, and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act of 2015. This bill would have enabled individual states to allow freight shipping trucks to carry a maximum of 91,000 pounds with the addition of a sixth axle, an increase from the current 80,000-pound standard. TCA’s Highway Policy Committee developed a policy to oppose any increases in truck weight, and this position was approved by the Board of Directors. In response, TCA wrote to Rep. Ribble and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to convey our opposition. TCA also actively conveyed our position by meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and through communications in industry trade publications and radio shows. After it became clear that H.R. 3488 was not going to move through committee, supporters attached this language to the 2015 Highway Reauthorization bill as an amendment. Because of TCA’s strong opposition, the amendment failed by a vote of 187-236.

Even though TCA secured this victory in 2015, the issue is still being discussed and we are constantly on alert to act if and when the legislation is introduced again.


MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, required the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study on truck size and weight limits. DOT’s 2016 study addressed, among other things, the differences in safety risks and infrastructure impacts of various types of trucks. As a result of this analysis, the Department recommended that no changes in truck size and weight laws be considered until data limitations are overcome. Additional research by Mingo and Burton shows that new configurations, specifically Twin 33-foot trailers, would inflict an additional estimated cost of $5.5-$10.5 billion annually to roads and bridges.


TCA recognizes the benefits that would be bestowed upon our Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) counterparts by adding additional cubic feet of freight space and we acknowledge that those benefits may contribute to productivity. However, the truckload segment would yield little to no advantage of the added cubic space that larger trailers would bring to the industry. When the industry experienced previous trailer specification adjustments from 48-foot trailers to 53-foot trailers, the financial burden was dramatic and any change from the current standard of 28- or 53-foot trailers would be no different.

Intermodal truckload carriers would be put at a disproportionate disadvantage if Congress mandated longer, heavier trailers. Our nation’s railroad container cars have been developed to accommodate the most prominent trailer configurations that exist in trucking today. Any change to these trailer configurations will render obsolete not only the existing fleet tractor trailers across our nation, but also the corresponding counterparts in the rail industry.

Additional Information

TCA Informative 1-Pager on Truck Size & Weight

Recent Activity

While autonomous vehicles and associated technological breakthroughs are currently the hot topic around the country, TCA continues to emphasize the need for “driver assist” technology over “driver replace” technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 94% of serious motor vehicle crashes are due to human error. Driver assist technology will significantly aide in reducing that number.

Many different types of advanced driver assistance systems are already being adopted by TCA members and the trucking industry at large, producing safer trucks and highways. These include technologies such as electronic stability control (ESC) and forward collision avoidance mitigation (FCAM) systems, which combine forward collision warning signals with collision mitigation braking. For passenger vehicles alone, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) research suggests that automatic braking and forward-collision warnings reduced front-to-rear crash rates by 50%.

Adding these types of advanced technology systems into commercial motor vehicles continues to be viewed by industry and the federal government as a meaningful way to improve safety. In December 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that a new technology, the MirrorEye Camera Monitor System (CMS), could be installed on CMVs as an alternative to the two rear-view mirrors required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The Agency found that the MirrorEye system, which replaces a truck’s mirrors with external wide angle, narrow angle, and look-down cameras, produces a level of safety equivalent to or greater than that provided by the regulation by expanding the field of view by as much as 25%. This decision paves the way for other federal activity, not only to approve advanced driver-assist technologies as add-ons, but also to potentially move forward with mandates to include these parts on the factory floor by commercial vehicle OEMs.



TCA believes that federal policy on autonomous vehicles which addresses strictly automobiles and not trucks needs to be changed. The lack of inclusion of CMVs in federal policy is concerning, particularly because industry needs ample time to analyze and respond to any policy changes that could be detrimental to the effective development of these technologies. However, there is much opposition to moving forward in this area, particularly due to labor and safety concerns.

The Department of Transportation recently released Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0 (AV 4.0), a report aimed at kick-starting the national discussion about the future of the on-road surface transportation system. It seeks to identify existing regulations that impede testing, highlight concerns with vehicles that provide no means for human driving, and examine the path ahead for driver assist technology.


Additional Information

TCA Policy Positions

Developed by the TCA policy committees and approved by the Board of Directors, TCA’s written policies govern TCA efforts to shape the industry.

Taxes are levied for the purpose of obtaining essential government revenues with the least detrimental effect on taxpayers and on economic growth. Government should avoid deficit spending. When deficits occur, every effort should be made to reduce or eliminate them through reduced spending, and not by increasing taxes. Tax collections should not surreptitiously benefit from inflation.

The tax system should encourage investment necessary for national industrial growth, production, employment and trade. The tax system should be neutral as to investment in different types of capital equipment. Business taxation should encourage reinvestment of earnings in sufficient amounts to promote healthy economic progress.

The tax system should be neutral among all types of legitimate employment and contractual arrangements and should specifically not discriminate against independent contractors. The federal and state governments should not require businesses to withhold taxes for the independent contractors that the businesses use.

A. Federal Income Taxes

The Federal tax system should be made as simple and equitable as possible for taxpayers. The tax code should not place an unreasonable administrative burden on the taxpayer. The government cost to collect and the taxpayers cost to comply should be nominal in relation to revenues generated.

Changes to the tax code should be made in a thorough, deliberate, and explicit manner.

In general, all business should be taxed at similar effective tax rates. In particular, the Code should be structured so that all modes of transportation are taxed at fair, equitable and comparable levels.

B. State & Local Income Taxes

States and local governments which impose income taxes should be encouraged to adopt the Federal Internal Revenue Code to minimize the unreasonable administrative burdens and inequities that separate state tax codes create.

C. State & Local Business Taxes

The U.S. Congress should grant the interstate trucking industry protection from state tax discrimination, including access to Federal district courts similar to that protection now afforded railroads, air carriers and electric utilities.

Cities, town, counties and other local political subdivisions should be precluded from levying taxes and fees on motor carriers, unless the motor carrier has a terminal location or other meaningful business presence within the city, town, county or local political subdivision.

A state or local political subdivision of a state should be precluded from levying a tax on a motor carrier which is measured by the gross receipts derived by the motor carrier from interstate transportation services.

Adopted February 10, 1991

Amended June 20, 1991

Amended October 25, 1992

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Transportation is so essential to the basic economy of the nation and so imbued with the public interest that it should be regulated by the government. Economic regulation provides the shipping public with excellent motor carrier service at reasonable rates and without unjust discrimination preference or prejudice between persons or places.

A. Federal

TCA opposes any legislative proposal seeking to further deregulate it in conflict with this policy.

Concomitant to sound federal economic regulation are the following points:

  • Support of operating requirements based on safety fitness and financial responsibility for all carriers.
  • Regulation of motor carrier acquisitions and mergers by the Surface Transportation Board.
  • Conditions placed on all rail acquisitions of motor carriers which should require the acquiring rail carrier to offer intermodal service to independent motor carriers at rates and terms equal to those which it offers to motor carriers owned, controlled or affiliated with it.
  • Support of tariff filing requirements for motor common carriers, but not motor contract carriers.
  • Support of a uniform system of limited liability for motor common carriers; and legislative or administrative action enacting rules of conduct of property brokers to prevent broker abuses.

Amended March 10, 2019

Reviewed March 26,2024

B. State

Maintaining state regulation affords shipper protection and assures transportation service is adequate to meet the full needs of intrastate commerce economically and efficiently.

TCA advocates for the preservation of states’ rights to regulate intrastate motor carriers, emphasizing the importance of allowing individual states to determine their specific regulations.

TCA does not believe it should become actively involved in this issue at the state level and recommends that each state review its economic regulation of trucking and determine if changes — less, more, or different regulation — are necessary in the public interest.

TCA recognizes that states have a legitimate interest in maintaining safety and insurance information. TCA will work with states to place safety and insurance regulations in appropriate state agencies. Additional insurance and safety indicia are unnecessary. Existing documents associated with the issuance of license plates can be used for this purpose.

Adopted February 10, 1991

Amended June 22, 1994

Amended March 26, 2024


Transportation in America depends almost exclusively on liquid petroleum fuels. The continued economic viability of the trucking industry is dependent on an adequate and reasonably priced fuel supply.

A. Pricing

TCA supports a free market approach to the pricing of petroleum products. Should the free market approach fail and price controls be established, those controls should apply to all petroleum products and all users.

B. Availability

An uninterrupted fuel supply is essential to meet the nation’s transportation needs. Should the free market approach fail to provide adequate allocation of fuel supplies to essential users such as trucking on a priority basis, the trucking industry supports the allocation of fuel supplies to bulk or wholesale purchasers with priority status. At a minimum, commercial vehicles should receive 100% of current requirements.

Forced contingency efforts of the government to reduce fuel consumption artificially must distinguish between commercial and discretionary users of fuel. TCA supports rationing only as an extreme measure provided a distinction between commercial and discretionary users is maintained.

TCA supports the goals of increased national energy self sufficiency and reduced vulnerability to future energy disruptions. Therefore, the industry supports offshore development of oil and natural gas on a timely basis.

C. Conservation

TCA supports setting technologically feasible national fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that reduce fuel consumption if they do not compromise the performance of the vehicles.

The price of fuel should not be increased artificially through government action to encourage conservation. Regressive, incentive-distorting taxes on energy production and use should be eliminated.

To conserve motor fuel and promote safety, TCA supports a national 65 mph speed limit.

D. Alternative Fuels

TCA supports a single national diesel fuel standard. The use of biodiesel, in blends of up to 5% (i.e., B5), is an appropriate means to increase the supply of diesel fuel, provided that the biodiesel blend meets the ASTM D975 standard for on-road diesel fuel. TCA supports voluntary research, investigation and demonstration projects that evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of using alternative fuels in commercial fleet vehicles. TCA does not support state or municipal government mandates to use alternative fuels.

Alternative fuel programs should be “fuel-neutral”, not recommending or mandating the use or favoritism of any specific alternative fuel. The marketplace and fuel consumers are best suited to make decisions regarding the use of new fuels. Reformulated or clean petroleum-based fuels – such as clean diesel and reformulated gasoline – should be included as eligible clean alternative fuels.

Alternative fuels should not be exempt from the payment of highway taxes or other fees to maintain the network of roads. An equitable taxation program is central to the most-effective use of alternative fuels on our nation’s highways. Federal and state tax incentives to encourage the use of alternative fuels, including biodiesel, are appropriate, provided, however, that no such incentives, at either the federal or state level, should be financed out of or reduce funds collected or otherwise designated for transportation funding.

E. Emission Regulations

TCA supports lower emissions and as an association we believe the best way to reduce the contribution heavy-duty trucks make toward air pollution is to set emission standards in a manner that allows for, and encourages, improvements in productivity and fuel efficiency. The standards established for pollutant emissions can be developed by working with industry stakeholders to incorporate realistic, technically achievable timeframes.

TCA supports idling reduction efforts made through motor carrier anti-idling programs and self-governance.

Amended October 5, 2008

Amended March 26, 2024

TCA is committed to the maximum practical reduction of detrimental pollutants, noise and wastes, resulting from its vehicles. TCA is equally committed to the control of terminal-oriented pollution.

The continued reduction of mobile source pollution of all kinds hinges upon successful development of equipment not now on the market. All truck owners and operators should observe operational practices that lead to the best environment possible with presently existing equipment.

Maintenance procedures should reflect a sincere determination to control emissions of smoke and gases. Practical, reliable and safe devices and equipment that will contribute to pollutant reduction should be accepted. Employee training to reflect environmentally considerate behavior should be emphasized.

TCA supports sound federal laws, regulation and enforcement directed to these objectives. TCA supports federal preemption to any state laws that are not consistent with Federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The cost of environmental actions, including the cleaning up of toxic dumps, should be linked as closely as possible to activities that give rise to them, and carriers should specifically be excluded from liability. Clean up costs to cover the share of bankrupted or unidentifiable contributors to a given site should be from general revenues rather than imposing special taxes on a select few.

A. Clean Air

Health-based ambient air quality standards are necessary to provide a clean, healthful environment for all Americans. TCA supports the goal of clean air and calls for amendments in the Clean Air Act to achieve this national objective.

The best way to reduce the contribution heavy-duty trucks make toward air pollution is to set emission standards in a manner that allows for, and encourages, improvements in productivity and fuel efficiency. The standards established for pollutant emissions should be technologically feasible. TCA supports the consideration of legislation that would offer tax credits or other incentives to carrier companies who chose to adopt clean air technologies.

Any additional emission reductions required from heavy-duty vehicles must be established on an “as needed” basis and not through arbitrary and counterproductive specific emission standards within the Clean Air Act.

B. Noise

TCA supports efforts to control noise emissions from all forms of transportation. Federal preemption is the cost-effective means of controlling noise from mobile sources engaged in commerce. The industry supports national uniformity of treatment for the trucking industry in noise emissions standards and enforcement procedures.

Noise reduction requirements should be cost-effective and strike a balance between essential reductions in noise and operating efficiencies. Standards for in-use vehicles should be based on new vehicle standards, but should allow for normal wear.

C. Water

Pollution of our nation’s water system and supply should be controlled. TCA supports efforts to meet environmental goals without undue costs to the trucking industry.

TCA supports reasonable regulations to prevent and control leaking underground petroleum storage tanks. Reasonable regulations would be those that do not require exotic, expensive and/or unproven tank monitoring systems.

Input to legislative or regulatory bodies concerning the development of regulations for storage of fuel underground should stress that gasoline and diesel fuels are extremely valuable products to the trucking industry and are treated as such by careful monitoring of fuel and of the condition of tanks.

TCA opposes the imposition of fees on motor carriers for any special funding for clean-up of leaking storage tanks. The cost of clean-up should be imposed on the owner(s) (past or present) of any leaking underground storage tank and not on other parties who have not contributed to the problem. The majority of such tanks were never used by motor carriers.

Amended March 1, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Motor carriers have the responsibility of operating safe and efficient equipment.

Standards for new and in-service truck equipment should be based on sound economic and engineering principles that enhance safety.

Federal rulemakings on engineering standards for new truck equipment should address performance capability and not design technology.

Performance standards should be cost-effective. Standards for trucks in use must consider new vehicle standards, fair wear and tear, and the consumer’s ability to comply. The federal government, not state or local governments, should have exclusive jurisdiction over equipment performance standards.

TCA is eager to work with all parties in assuring that future equipment developments are safe, efficient, reliable, long-lived, and easily maintained.

Adopted February 10, 1991

Amended March 26, 2024


Driver and Vehicle Data Privacy

Data Security

Commercial vehicles and drivers generate data from onboard and off-board systems regarding information that may involve vehicle performance, cargo status, and navigation connectivity that can be used for system diagnostics, identifying freight, and an intelligent transportation network. TCA supports government and industry initiatives to ensure that vehicle ownership conveys the following rights of access and control to the vehicle owner, and owner’s designees:

  1. Direct access to data collected, generated, recorded or stored by the vehicle.
  2. Access to and use of operator data which may be personally attributable or identifiable, including driver behavior data and geolocation data, and right to grant or limit access to this data by other parties.
  3. A dependable, low risk means of interfacing with the vehicle to retrieve data.
  4. Any Data collected, recorded, or stored should be protected by industry standard data security measures protecting all stakeholders involved.

Adopted September 24, 2019

Amended March 26, 2024


The major part of the cost of building and maintaining bridges, highways, roads, and streets should be paid through highway user charges. User taxes and fees should be the primary but not the sole source of highway funds. Highway user fees and taxes should be placed in a Highway Trust Fund. The Highway Trust Fund should only be used for highway purposes and should continue as a source of funding for defined federal-aid highway system programs only. All highway user taxes should be dedicated to highway purposes. The Highway Trust Fund should be supplemented by appropriations from the general fund in order to recognize the non-highway user benefits of the highway program.

The level of highway user taxation should be based on a thorough analysis of highway conditions and proven needs. Each class of motor vehicle should pay its fair share of highway program costs based upon a traditional incremental highway cost allocation approach. No one group of highway users should be exempted from payment of highway user taxes or fees. No motor vehicle should be exempted from any highway user taxes by reason of ownership by or operation on behalf of the U.S. Government or any state or local government or political subdivision. Highway users should be involved in establishing funding levels for the highway program and setting the user charges needed to pay for them.

Highway user taxes should:

  1. Be reasonably uniform in application among classes of highway users;
  2. Be based chiefly on readily verifiable measures of highway and vehicle use;
  3. Not provide opportunities for evasion;
  4. Be inexpensive and simple for government to administer, collect, and enforce without imposing excessive administrative and record keeping burdens on highway users; and
  5. Not create impediments to interstate commerce.

Because weight-distance, ton-mile, axle-mile, and other similar third-structure taxes cannot meet the above criteria, they should be eliminated where they currently exist and not be imposed elsewhere.

TCA supports increases in fuel taxes, coupled with indexing to an appropriate annual cap as needed, provided the funds generated are dedicated to the Freight Corridors Initiative or other highway infrastructure improvements.

Amended March 3, 2013

Reviewed March 26, 2024


Federal Excise Tax

TCA supports the repeal of the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on trucking equipment, on condition that the revenue it generates for the highway trust fund is replaced by either general revenue transfers or an appropriate increase in federal fuel tax, or a combination of both. Fuel taxes for consideration should include diesel, electric, hydrogen, or other emerging types of fuel.

The FET is an antiquated and discriminatory tax, initially adopted over 100 years ago to help pay for World War I, wherein it first applied to all vehicles but today is only imposed on heavy-duty trucks. Since its initial implementation, the tax burden has steadily risen and now increases the cost of new heavy-duty trucks and trailers by $22,000 on average. By driving up the cost of equipment, the tax hinders fleet investment and delays the purchase of safer and more fuel-efficient trucks.

Adopted March 7, 2023

Reviewed March 26, 2024

State Highway Taxes

The U.S. Congress should establish and adopt a comprehensive framework for state taxation and regulation of the interstate trucking industry including access to the Federal courts to resolve disputes within that framework adopted by the Congress.

The framework for uniform state taxation and regulation of interstate trucking activity should not set limits on the amount of tax to be paid to a state but should clearly identify those taxes meeting principles of equity and administrative ease.

State highway taxes assessed directly or indirectly on motor carriers operating vehicles properly registered in another state should be based on the following principles of equity:

  1. The tax levy must relate to the extent of highway use within the taxing state;
  2. The tax, if assessed on vehicles, must be fairly apportioned;
  3. The tax must apply equally to both interstate and intrastate motor carrier activity; and
  4. The tax must not create an undue burden on interstate commerce.

State highway taxes assessed on motor carriers should be structured so that compliance by motor carriers and enforcement by states adheres to the following principles:

  1. Tax reporting requirements should be administratively and procedurally uniform among the states; and
  2. The administrative cost of a state’s tax collection, enforcement, and audit program should not be underwritten by additional administrative fees or charges on motor carries other than the basic highway taxes.

State highway taxes should be limited to vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes. Administrative per-vehicle and/or per carrier fees should not be imposed on interstate carriers for:

  1. Highway tax or other economic purposes; or
  2. Activities which are duplicative of existing State and/or local programs which have the effect or diverting traffic into other jurisdictions.

A single plate issued by a motor carrier’s base state should permit interstate and intrastate vehicle operations in all jurisdictions. All states should be required to be members of the International Registration Plan.

State highway tax revenues should be dedicated to highway programs through state constitutional amendments.

Adopted February 10, 1991

Amended March 8, 2009

Reviewed March 26, 2024

A. Responsibility of the Federal Government

The federal government should continue to assume primary responsibility for financing, construction, and reconstruction of the National Highway System. Full federal-aid funding should be continued as authorized. After completion of the Interstate System, the National Highway System, consisting of the Interstate System, and important principal arterial highways, which are major connectors, must become the principal federal aid system. This system should be funded at a level to meet essential future needs of this system and at a higher federal aid-matching ratio than any other federal aid highways.

The National Highway System should be designated in its entirety for vehicles of the weight and length authorized by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA) and more productive combinations or trailer lengths subsequently approved by the states. Fund distribution should be by formula and not on a “cost-to-complete” basis.

Federal highway funds for lesser rural and urban connector routes and for major bridges on those routes should be continued. Increased federal highway spending should be sought for lower system routes. States should be allowed to add or delete miles on the National Highway System as trade and usage patterns change.

Federal highway programs to promote social and environmental goals should be supported by federal general fund revenues. Federal highway funds should be allocated to the states on the basis of specific, verifiable highway requirements and should be used only for highway safety and research and the construction, reconstruction, and rebuilding of roads and bridges on the National Highway System and on other federal aid highways providing connecting service. Federal highway funds must not be used for non-highway purposes.

Increased federal funding is needed for research and development designed to provide more economical and improved pavements, increase equipment productivity, study intelligent vehicle/highway systems, improve traffic flow, and relieve congestion to enhance highway efficiency, safety, and return on investment.

B. Responsibility of State & Local Governments

The states and local units of government should be accountable primarily responsible for the financing, program development and administration, and construction and maintenance of bridges, highways, roads, and streets within their territorial limits.

At a minimum, road and bridge design should safely and efficiently accommodate all current and anticipated future vehicle types in North America. States should implement proven technologies in a timely and efficient manner and should be partners in the testing of innovative technologies. States and local governments, in cooperation and partnership with the trucking industry and other road users, should form motor carrier and/or freight advisory groups to support the infrastructure planning process and the need to consider the efficient movement of freight with that process and develop incident management programs for urban areas.

To obtain maximum benefit from both state and federal highway user taxes, states should dedicate user revenues to the funding of highway maintenance and improvements with an appropriate level of funding for planning and research. States should encourage assistance from highway beneficiaries, such as developers and other non-toll private sector sources, to augment user revenues where feasible.

In recognition of the growing interdependence and connectivity among states, state governments should be responsible for devising practical multi-state regional solutions to highway mobility problems in a spirit of cooperation with other states. Highway safety and productivity can be enhanced by eliminating unnecessary institutional barriers, inconsistencies, and preferences among states that constrain mobility and interstate commerce. Freedom of movement for all vehicles, regardless of state of registration or business incorporation, is essential to the nation’s continued prosperity, with due consideration to the evolving opportunities under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Amended March 1, 2008


Highway Grandfather Clause

The 1956 Highway Act provided that weights legally in excess of the Federal axle and gross weight limits on July 1, 1956 in any state were “grandfathered.” Similarly, the 1974 Highway Act provided that the bridge formula applied only to weights in excess of those legal in any state on January 5, 1975.

The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 changed this section to provide that the states shall determine “grandfathered” weight limits. The STAA established trailer length regulations and provided that trailer lengths in any states which exceeded the Federal length limits were “grandfathered.” State and Federal DOT actions to restrict or roll back “grandfathered” weight or length limits are opposed.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Privatization of Rest Stops

TCA policy is to urge the states and the federal government to use the increased federal aid funding in order to expand the size and number of selected rest areas around the country, along with the number of hours which truck drivers may use rest areas.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Size & Weight

The performance of the nation’s economy in increasingly competitive international markets depends in large measure upon an effective and efficient transportation system. To achieve efficiency, the trucking industry must be able to operate its most productive equipment to serve the facilities of shippers and receivers throughout the nation.

As the nation’s premier mover of freight, the American trucking industry has long recommended reasonable size and weight standards consistent with highway capability and the need for efficient, intelligent, and productive use of our country’s vital resources.

It is essential that all vehicle types approved by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 and longer vehicles grandfathered or subsequently approved be permitted to operate on a system of Highways of National Significance. In order to achieve necessary productivity, the trucking industry must be allowed access to the points of loading and unloading from the system of Highways of National Significance. States, counties, and cities cannot be allowed to thwart national productivity through ordinances or regulations restricting or banning trucks without evidence of specific safety problems.

TCA supports a policy of no increase in truck weight, however as an association, we will continue to examine components of increasing productivity as they arise. – Amended March 6, 2016

TCA supports allowing states to permit longer combination vehicles. Such operations should be allowed under divisible load permits which specify adequate driver, vehicle, and highway controls. Longer combination vehicle gross weight should be limited by the federal bridge formula or a modified bridge formula subsequently adopted.

TCA supports standardizing 53-foot trailer length. While national trailer uniformity is federally protected for 48’ trailers, 53’ trailers have become the industry standard. Federal law should be brought up to modern standards to ensure the continued protection of the flow of interstate commerce by changing minimum trailer length limits to 53’. In addition, TCA supports capping trailer length at 53’ except in states where longer trailers are currently allowed.

Amended March 8, 2009

Amended October 16, 2010

Amended October 15. 2011

Amended March 6, 2016

Reviewed March 26, 2024


TCA supports the objective of a toll-free National Highway System. Fuel taxes and other existing highway user fees are efficient, effective, and commonly accepted methods for collecting revenues for the maintenance and expansion of highways. If toll financing is determined to be inevitable, TCA will continue to oppose tolling and will advocate that the toll plan should incorporate the following attributes:

  • Toll collections should be limited to and fully cover only the debt-service related costs of construction, reconstruction, and maintaining the associated toll facility.
  • If tolls are imposed on an existing Interstate Highway, an amount of federal-aid highway revenue equivalent to the toll revenues collected on the highway should be withheld from the state where the toll revenue is collected and redistributed annually to the remainder of the states.
  • Toll financing should only be used for construction of new highways; upgrading of existing non-Interstate roads to highways with significantly greater capacity and safety benefits; construction of new lanes on existing highways, provided the existing lanes remain toll-free and open to all vehicles that were allowed to use the highway prior to the capacity expansion; or conversion of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.
  • Toll collections should not be used for the extension of bonded indebtedness or for the creation of new for other facilities.
  • Truck size and weight limits allowed on toll facilities should be grandfathered.
  • The use of toll roads should be voluntary. Trucks should not be restricted from operating on non-toll highways that could serve as alternative routes to toll roads.
  • The impacts on toll facility revenues should not be a factor when decisions are made with regard to improvements to alternative routes.
  • As quasi-private enterprises, toll facilities should be allowed to offer productivity improvements to attract commercial vehicle customers.
  • The payment of all highway user taxes, in addition to tolls on the toll highways, constitutes double payment for the use of these facilities. State highway user taxes should be eliminated on toll facilities.
  • Programs designed to reduce congestion through assessment of fees for use of roads during peak travel periods attempt to discourage travel rather than increase mobility. Weigh scale by-pass fees and congestion pricing are not acceptable alternatives to highway improvements that provide new capacity or increase productivity.
  • TCA strongly opposes the lease or sale of toll roads, bridges, or tunnels to private parties for the purpose of funding highway infrastructure. If such a facility is sold or leased to private investors, TCA recommends the following:
  • Proceeds derived by the government from the sale or lease of a toll facility should be used exclusively for highway investments on un-tolled facilities. Facility customers should not be required to subsidize unrelated government functions
  • Toll rates should be set at a level that covers only the costs of construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and operation of the associated toll facility, plus a reasonable return on investment and debt service costs. Any differences in toll rates among vehicle classes should be reasonable.
  • Lessees should provide adequate facilities for the trucking industry, including access to food, fuel, and safe parking accommodations for long-term rest.
  • A rebate of federal and state fuel taxes for users of the facility.
  • A prohibition on the private party imposing its own restrictions or special fees on vehicle configurations (e.g. oversize/over weight vehicles) and commodities (e.g. hazardous materials). It is anticipated that improved truck productivity will be part of any serious discussion of privatization benefits. Therefore, increases in vehicle size and weight limits above that allowed under applicable federal or state law is not opposed.
  • A sinking fund to ensure that sufficient revenues are available for continued maintenance and operation of the facility.
  • Non-compete clauses that prevent improvements to competing highways should not be included as part of a lease or sale agreement.
  • Open Road Tolling (ORT) technology that allows motorists to travel at highway speeds must be adopted, and transponder technology must be compatible with technology used on other Interstate toll roads.
  • Performance specifications which ensure that the facility is operated and maintained adequately, provides a level of safety that is comparable to similar facilities, and provides for acceptable traffic flows.
  • A clause that allows the responsible public agency to end the agreement if the public agency believes that continuing the agreement is not in the public’s best interest. In addition, a process should be established for amending the agreement. An oversight committee should be established by the responsible public agency to monitor the facility and make recommendations to the agency as to whether the agreement should be amended or terminated.This committee should include representatives of all major stakeholders, including the trucking industry.

Amended March 1, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Independent contractors, in the form of owner-operators, are an integral part of the American trucking industry.


Persons, either as sole proprietors or via formally established business entities, that own (or bona fide lease) motor carrier equipment and operate, or arrange for the operation of, that equipment often choose to contract to operate with a for-hire or private motor carrier under such motor carrier’s operating authority as an independent contractor truck owner/operator.  Alternatively, such persons also may choose to obtain their own motor carrier authority and operate as an independent for-hire motor carrier.

The status of the business and legal relationship of a person who chooses to operate as an independent contractor truck owner-operator, and not as an employee of a motor carrier or as an independent for-hire motor carrier itself, should be honored by regulators, legislators and others in the enforcement of state and federal law.  Indeed, as this form of business and legal relationship has existed in the trucking industry for many decades, many state laws expressly recognize independent contractor truck owner-operator status and specifically exclude it from the definition of “employee” under applicable state workers’ compensation and/or unemployment tax laws.

Additionally, as independent contractors, these persons should not be considered leased employees for the purposes of counting them for company-provided pension, health or insurance benefits. Leased employees used in this context would refer to truck drivers who are provided to a for-hire or private motor carrier by a professional employer organization.

Any attempt to categorize independent contractor truck owner-operators as employees or leased employees by regulatory, legislative or administrative efforts should be challenged as an erosion of independent status. Legislation and regulations should preserve the independent contractor relationship between motor carriers and those persons who lawfully choose to operate as independent contractors and maintain the vital role of independent contractor truck owner-operators in the trucking industry. Government agencies should recognize that contractual terms, including with respect to rates of compensation between motor carriers and independent contractors, are matters of private contract subject to an existing federal regulatory framework under the Federal Leasing Regulations (49 CFR Part 376).

The continued availability of independent contractor status under state and federal law must remain a high priority concern for the trucking industry and those segments that work with independent contractor truck owner/operators.

Amended March 1, 2008

Amended March 26, 2024

The transportation system in the United States is diverse. Transportation services are provided by a variety of modes including air, highway, rail, pipeline, inland and coastal water, with ownership under the private enterprise system. The preservation and expansion of this diversity offers the benefits of freedom of choice, service alternatives, competitive innovations and economic efficiency.

TCA supports cooperative and effective intermodal transportation, achieved through interchange agreements, joint rates and through routesamong independently-owned and operated carriers.

A highly-effective and integrated intermodal system does not require common ownership of transportation modes. Effective intermodal transportation yields economic efficiencies only when each of the transportation modes is self-supporting and does not rely on government subsidies or cross subsidization of any sort to underwrite operating costs.

All carriers participating in an intermodal movement have a right to a fair and equitable share of the transportation charges assessed for the movement and to prompt and full payment of their lawful transportation and drayage charges. TCA supports administrative, legislative or other action which will ensure that motor carriers are promptly paid their lawful rates and charges.

Intermodal Infrastructure

An integrated and productive intermodal infrastructure is dependent upon effective and timely interchange between modes. In the furtherance of intermodal growth and efficiency of motor carriers involved in intermodal transportation, TCA supports legislative, administrative and other efforts to improve highway access to intermodal freight transfer facilities.

Adopted February 10, 1992

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Sound and expanding international commerce is essential to the continued expansion of the economy of the United States and to the greater prosperity and strength of all nations. Mutually beneficial trade raises standards of living by providing people with more goods at less real cost, by raising productivity, and by increasing economic efficiency through competition.

The United States has a vital stake in promoting measures to achieve the greatest possible relaxation of discriminatory and restrictive trade and investment practices. These discriminatory and restrictive practices reduce the flow of goods and services, reduce the volume of international payments and obstruct optimal efficiency in production, distribution and economic growth.

The United States government should promote these goals, consistent with the national interest, to maintain a strong, healthy, competitive, free market economy at home.

The transportation of goods in international commerce should not be hampered by regressive or discriminatory laws, regulations or policies in the areas of licensing, entry, taxation, equipment utilization and labor.

Equality of treatment and opportunity for United States motor carriers should be maintained in the international freight market. The U.S. government should maintain a policy of requiring foreign countries to provide U.S. motor carriers opportunity and treatment equivalent to that treatment received by carriers from a foreign country operating in the United States.

The U.S. government should also insure that U.S. motor carriers operating in a foreign country have the same opportunity and treatment enjoyed by domestic carriers of that country, or national treatment. Foreign carriers operating on U.S. roads should be subject to the same regulations and responsibilities by which U.S. carriers are expected to abide.

All laws and regulations affecting the trucking industry should address the impact that these rules will have on the United States and on the standing U.S. motor carriers and allied industries will have in the international marketplace.


In recent years, an increasing number of TCA members have been affected by government policies concerning international transportation and trade policy. The TCA general policy on international issues is “reciprocity”. The following applies this principle to specific issues as they relate to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and adopts new policy in the area of equipment imports and immigration:

  1. Ownership: Eliminate Mexican and U.S. restrictions immediately, or in the interim, provide U.S. citizens with the reciprocal rights Mexican citizens enjoy in the U.S., i.e., minority ownership.
  2. Access: Immediate reciprocity for U.S. on Mexican frontier zone access; and phase in of interior access based on infrastructure development in Mexico. Progress should be measured by the bilateral transportation working group and access granted based on further infrastructure development.
  3. Economic Regulation: The USMCA cannot be used to revise economic regulation on the Federal or State level.
  4. Qualified aliens should be permitted to immigrate into the U.S. for the purpose of taking permanent driver positions during times of driver shortages.
  5. Customs: Increase border inspection facilities; expand and harmonize hours of operation; dedicate existing commercial user fees to improvements in Customs facilities; and establish uniform electronic filing systems.

Amended March 26, 2024


TCA supports the use and development of intermodal freight containers and seeks to be included in the full utilization of this modern tool of international trade. In order to fully participate in the international movement of containers, the following goals must be realized:

  1. External dimensions must be compatible with U.S. highway size regulations;
  2. Gross and axle weight limits must be compatible with U.S. weight regulations;
  3. Codes and their applications must be compatible with general trucking practices;
  4. Markings must be clearly recognizable and in harmony with U.S. practices;
  5. Work rules and practices must be compatible with normal trucking operations;
  6. Liability for containers and their contents should be on parity with that of other transport modes;
  7. Safety requirements should not discriminate against trucks;
  8. Security requirements should conform to trucking industry standards and practices;
  9. Equal treatment with other transport modes vis-à-vis all applicable customs, duties, and importation rules and regulations;
  10. Inspection and certification should be reasonable, non-conflicting and modally non-discriminatory; and
  11. Cost for repairs and maintenance should be fair and reasonably allocated among the modes.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Workers' Health

The trucking industry shall conduct its business in a manner that preserves and promotes the health and safety of its workers. TCA supports voluntary and coordinated actions among visual display terminal manufacturers and users to assure safe and operator-supportive installation and use of such terminals and to oppose the imposition of arbitrary restrictions and work rules affecting VDT installation and use by legislation and/or regulation by government agencies at any level. In addition, manufacturers, rather than the purchaser, should warrant and assume liability for the equipment to ensure that it is safe to users.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Employee Screening

TCA recognizes proper prescreening of new or re-certified drivers, as defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, as a means to establish competency and qualifications and reduce safety hazards and cargo thefts. To meet these means, TCA supports the establishment of a national clearinghouse of convictions of drivers.

Furthermore, TCA supports:

  • The identification of conviction of drug and alcohol abuse as a means to reduce safety hazards.
  • The certifying provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • The verification of a prospective driver’s background through references, previous motor carriers, and other appropriate sources.
  • The consideration of criminal conviction data to the extent that such data is accurate and reasonably and expeditiously available.
  • The consideration of legal work status.
  • The consideration of a prospective driver’s MVR as well as any private property incidents.

Amended October 5, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Employment of the Disabled

TCA supports employment of the disabled. This support includes job offers to qualified individuals and training programs designed by employers for jobs the disabled person is capable of performing well.

Amended March 1, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Entry Level Driver Training

Entry-level driver training should be focused on minimum, competency-based requirements. These requirements should apply to all prospective drivers who have not yet obtained and are required to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate in interstate commerce.

The training curriculum should focus on the core elements of classroom and behind-the-wheel training.

Under any federal regulation, all training programs (motor carrier-based and non-carrier-based training institutions) should be provided with the ability to self-certify that their training meets the minimum federal requirements. All training programs should also be able to certify that a driver has completed the required training. All training programs should be subject to a random selection federal audit program to assure curriculum requirements are met.

Qualification requirements of driver-instructors should be similar in design and intent to existing federal training regulations (e.g., current CDL holder, no serious traffic violations on driving record, etc.) with the exception of skill instructors having a minimum of one year of driving experience.

Commercial learner’s permits should continue to be issued by states as currently practiced, and no provisional CDL requirements should be imposed upon entry-level drivers.

To further ensure that entry-level drivers meet the competency-based standards, the federal government should require state adoption of stronger CDL skills testing standards that reflect actual on-road driving requirements of the motor carrier industry.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Due Process in Labor Disputes

TCA favors due process in all proceedings involving labor disputes and deferral to binding arbitration.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Apprentice Programs

TCA endorses the concept of apprenticeship programs developed and adopted by individual motor carriers, or representative groups, that will best serve the needs of such carriers and their prospective employees.

March 26, 2024

Corporate Campaigns

TCA supports legislative, administrative agency, and other government action opposing coercive and harassing tactics used in corporate campaigns. These tactics include repeated complaints to governmental agencies, frivolous and numerous court complaints, shareholder actions, boycotts, and personal attacks that target customers, corporate officers, and lending institutions.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Dual Shop Facilities

TCA opposes any legislative attempt to restrict the rights of employers in maintaining dual-shop facilities or organizational structures (sometimes referred to as “double-breasted” operations).

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Equal Employment Opportunity

The prevention of arbitrary and discriminatory practices in employment should be a vital concern to every citizen. TCA reaffirms its support of all reasonable and necessary steps to achieve the goal of equal employment opportunity for all.

Private, federal, and state government action should be designed to achieve this end. Government action should be carefully guided by basic Constitutional concepts to preserve fairness and due process of law for all parties.

To ensure a competent work force, employers should have the right to employ or to promote the best qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, sex, religion, color, or national origin.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Training & Career Development

Proper training and career education is essential for the trucking industry. TCA supports training for all employees within the industry, as well as preparatory training for those that want to enter the industry. Additionally, TCA promotes career paths for all industry employees including, but not limited to: Drivers, Fleet Managers/Dispatchers, Safety Directors, Planners, and Sales People, and stresses the career growth potential of the trucking industry.

To recruit and train people to enter the industry, TCA supports the development of partnerships with Federal Departments and Associations, e.g., Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, American Association of Retired Persons, National Association of Workforce Boards, Veterans’ Administration. These partnerships should facilitate federal funding for any private, public, or motor carrier in-house educational or training program directed at the current or potential trucking industry workforce. Eligibility for federal funding should be based solely on the program’s ability to properly educate its intended audience.

Adopted March 1, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Workers' Compensation

TCA pledges to conduct its business in a manner that preserves and promotes the health and safety of its workers by supporting:

  • State workers’ compensation systems that promote programs developed by free enterprise, be it through insurance carriers or self-insured programs.
  • The use of incentives to help states make their benefit systems fair, equitable, and cost effective, as well as programs to reduce industrial accidents and lost time.
  • The concept that any federal role should be limited to offering technical assistance to the states or conducting research.
  • Enactment of state laws that provide trucking-beneficial uniformity and fairness, including legislation that allows motor carriers and their workers to agree that the law of a particular state shall govern any workers’ compensation claim.

Amended March 1, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Younger Interstate Drivers

For commercial truck drivers, TCA supports, in principle, the authorization by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of carefully structured programs for use of younger drivers (18-20) in interstate transportation other than bulk transportation of hazardous materials as defined in the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, provided that such drivers have been carefully screened, received quality training from a certified school or training program, meet minimum performance benchmarks, and will be closely supervised and monitored by a motor carrier which has a “satisfactory” safety rating and such other approvals and requirements deemed essential by FMCSA.

Adopted September 24, 2019

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Replacement Workers

The National Labor Relations Board and the courts have painstakingly crafted a delicate balance between the rights of workers to withhold their labor to secure economic demands and the rights of employers to permanently replace them in order to continue business. TCA supports this neutrality in labor law and opposes any change in the law that would give either management or labor the economic edge in disagreements.

Reviewed March 26, 2024


TCA supports stabilization of both single- and multi-employer pension plans. Standards for such stabilization should ensure that:

  • Future benefits are properly funded.
  • Restrictions are placed on trustees in order to maintain sound financial ratios before the benefit levels can be increased.
  • Any additional administration costs are kept to a minimum and
  • Changes do not impinge on normal business decisions, the movement of capital, or the ability of companies to borrow money.

Amended March 1, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Fringe Benefits

Matters of fringe benefits, including parental and medical leave and health care, should be left to individual company policy and not be mandated by the government.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Plant Relocation & Work Preservation

TCA supports technological developments that encourage and promote labor efficiency and productivity and oppose regressive and inefficient work preservation rules.

TCA supports government’s non-intervention in opening, closing, or relocating company facilities or the reduction or expansion of the work force and any regulation proposing pre-notification, interplant transfers, and mandatory extensions of benefits.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Applicability of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

The provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations should be applicable to the operation of all commercial vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more; to the operation of all vehicles transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding of the vehicle; and to the drivers of all such vehicles.Under provisions of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Acts of 1982 and 1984, the applicability of these regulations should be extended to the operations of such vehicles and drivers operating in intrastate commerce and enforced through the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP).

Rather than proposing changes in the applicability of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations which would create a potential degradation of safety, FMCSA is urged to direct its attention to affording relief from paperwork burdens and any another specific requirements which do not demonstrably improve safety.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Brake Adjusting Responsibilities

Written policies should be developed by each motor carrier fleet delineating responsibility for performing brake adjustments. When drivers are held responsible for making brake adjustments, motor carriers should assure that those drivers are properly trained to do such work.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Drugs & Alcohol

TCA supports federal requirements for all interstate and intrastate truck drivers to undergo tests for drug and alcohol use, as follows:

A. Pre-Employment Testing

TCA supports pre-employment drug testing of truck driver job applicants.It also supports the requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that physicians should conduct tests of a driver applicant for alcoholism or for being under the influence of alcohol if the need for such testing is indicated during the pre-employment physical examination.

B. Testing for Reasonable Cause
TCA supports testing for drug or alcohol use if there is reasonable cause to believe that a truck driver is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Reasonable cause testing should be the responsibility of motor carriers, police officers, or other officials authorized to perform inspections of drivers and vehicles.

C. Post-Accident Testing
TCA supports post-accident drug and alcohol tests of all drivers involved in DOT recordable accidents. Additionally, TCA supports a requirement to test any driver following the occurrence of a non-DOT recordable accident provided a police officer at the scene has determined there is reasonable cause to believe the driver is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Post-accident testing should be the responsibility of law enforcement agencies.

D. Random Testing
TCA supports random testing for drug or alcohol use that places all drivers at equal risk of being selected for such testing, regardless of whether the driver is self-employed, employed by a motor carrier, or an intrastate driver.

TCA supports random roadside testing without the need for probable cause for drug or alcohol use conducted by the federal or state government to determine if random roadside testing is practical and effective. It also supports testing by police officials at roadblocks established to detect drivers of motor vehicles who are under the influence of alcohol.

E. Optional Testing
TCA supports optional drug and alcohol testing by motor carriers of their employees, in addition to truck drivers, that are directly responsible for the safe condition and safe operation of trucks.

TCA would support the development of additional federal requirements for all interstate and intrastate truck driver drug and alcohol testing as follows:

F. Driver Training School Testing
TCA supports a federal requirement for pre-admission testing by driver training schools of all applicants for evidence of drug use. The tests should be consistent with applicable state law requirements and should adopt standards and procedures identical to those employed by motor carriers for pre-employment drug testing. An applicant who tests positive should not be admitted to training until another test is performed with negative results.

G. National Drug Clearinghouse
TCA supports the mandate of the national drug clearinghouse that would provide information on a driver’s positive drug or alcohol test results.

H. National Driver Register
TCA supports improvement of the National Driver Register. Improvements to the Register should include stricter use requirements by motor carriers as a means of determining the driving records of present and future drivers.

I. Alternative Specimens
Pursue regulatory and/or legislative changes to the FMCSA and/or DOT regulations to permit alternative specimens, such as hair, to be used to comply with federal drug testing requirements.

Adopted March 3. 2013

TCA would not support implementation of federal drug and alcohol regulations that would:

  • Require advance notification of drug or alcohol testing, for periodic testing more frequently than atthe time of physical examination, or for motor carrier testing following an accident.
  • Require motor carriers to conduct or sponsor rehabilitation programs.

Drivers who, as a result of testing, show evidence of drug use should be medically unqualified, and should be disqualified for a specified period of time. They should be retested and found free of drugs prior to being found qualified. If a driver tests positive for alcohol or drugs, an individual should be further evaluated to determine if a problem exists and the individual is disqualified.

Amended October 5, 2008

Reviewed March 26,2024

Electronic Logging Devices

TCA supports federal laws and regulations requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) for documenting compliance with hours of service (HOS) rules. TCA believes the following issues should be addressed in regard to ELDs:

  • ELDs requirements should be based on the minimal, functional, and performance specifications necessary to accurately record and report HOS compliance and assure reliability and utility of operation.
  • Except for HOS compliance data, statutory protections should be afforded to motor carriers pertaining to the control, ownership, and admissibility/discoverability of data generated and derived from ELDs, and to assure the privacy rights of drivers.
  • Drivers shall be responsible for operating ELDs in full compliance with all applicable regulations.
  • ELD regulations must address the operational diversity of the trucking industry, continue existing exceptions to the record of duty status, and consider additional exemptions that balance compliance and the evolving industry diversity.
  • Motor carriers using compliant ELDs should be relieved of the burden of retaining supporting documents for verification of driving time.
  • ELDs should be made simultaneously applicable to all vehicles of the affected population of motor carriers. It should avoid any implementation inequities identified and take measures to eliminate them. Tax incentives should be pursued as a means to facilitate adoption of ELD systems.

Amended March 14, 2011

Amended March 26, 2024

Hazardous Materials

Laws, rules, regulations, orders, and standards relating to the safety of highway transportation of hazardous materials should be nationally uniform. There are certain areas where the federal government should have exclusive jurisdiction of regulations governing hazardous materials transportation. State governments should share concurrent jurisdiction with the federal government in regulating the routing of hazardous materials.

States or localities that believe federal standards are deficient should be encouraged to petition to revise such federal standards rather than acting unilaterally to regulate hazardous materials in transportation. There may be instances when a state or locality should be allowed to adopt or continue to enforce a law, rule, regulation, order, or standard until such time as the federal government adopts a rule, regulation, order, or standard covering the same subject matter, and when the state or local requirement:

  • Is necessary to reduce or eliminate a local safety hazard.
  • Is not incompatible with any federal law, rule, regulation, order, or standard and
  • Does not create an undue burden on interstate commerce.

All motor carriers should be required to register with the federal government as a prerequisite to transporting hazardous materials. There should be a federal requirement that motor carriers train, test, and certify drivers of hazardous materials vehicles, for safety and to forestall state and local requirements for testing and licensing of such drivers.

TCA supports the creation of a federal fund to address the needs of state and local personnel who respond to hazardous materials accidents and incidents. Fees established would be broad-based and funded by all carrier modes, manufacturers, and shippers of hazardous materials. The fees shall be reasonable and graduated to reflect the differing risks among hazardous materials. All monies collected from these fees would be used solely for the training and equipping of hazardous materials response personnel and would be specifically directed to replace state and local hazardous materials fees, permits, and registrations. State and/or local acceptance of Federal funds would preclude those jurisdictions from assessing like fees.

A driver of hazardous materials vehicles should be considered qualified based on knowledge, training, and experience. There should not be a special age requirement for such drivers in less-than-truck-load service. Any experience requirement should be based on a time period. Reports of accidents involving such drivers should not require detailed background information about the driver on a routine basis. Such details should be requested by government as needed.

Efforts to control pollution resulting from hazardous wastes should not be detrimental to the trucking industry.

TCA supports regulations to encourage re-use and recycling of hazardous wastes generated by the trucking industry.

Criteria for placing hazardous materials vehicles out of service should be applicable only to motor vehicles that are subject to placarding, and only if there is a violation of hazardous materials requirements that would result in an imminently hazardous situation in the event of spill or leakage of the hazardous materials.

Amended June 21, 1995

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Hours of Service

Highway safety is of the utmost importance to TCA. TCA supports hours of service regulations that are practical and effective and that promote operational flexibility. Motor carriers must not be subject to citations or penalties for violations of hours of service requirements that result from activities over which they have no control.

In addition, any DOT rulemaking proposal on hours of service should address the following facets of hours of service:

  1. 24-hour cycle
  2. 10 hours off (allow split sleeper berths)
  3. 14 hours on-duty
  4. No distinction between on duty-driving & on duty-not driving
  5. Cumulative 70 hours on-duty in eight days, with a restart
  6. 36-hour restart provision (allows two sleep cycles)
  7. Oppose requiring driver pay by the hour
  8. Address waiting time; loading & unloading; driver load & count

Amended October 25, 1998

Amended March 17, 1999

Amended February 28, 2010

Reviewed March 26, 2024


Identification & Markings on Trucks

For safety purposes, there should be permanent identification on all vehicles operating in interstate and intrastate commerce. Identification for vehicles operating under authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission or of state commissions shall be in compliance with requirements of such commissions. Identification of other vehicles shall consist of the name, city, and state of the vehicle owner or long-term lessee. Size and location of such identification should be comparable to that required for authorized carriers.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Limiting Speeds on Trucks

The speed of all electronically governed class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 should be governed by tamperproof devices either limiting the vehicle to a fixed maximum of 65 mph; or limiting the vehicle to 70 mph with the use of adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. The Department of Transportation should conduct a recurring 5-year review of speed governing regulations to ensure that the regulations are appropriate and consistent with currently deployed technologies. Although TCA does not have a position on setting speed limiters or engine control modules (ECMs) for passenger vehicles, it recommends states consider setting the speed limiters on the vehicles of drivers with certain driving convictions.

Adopted April 20, 2021

Reviewed March 26, 2024

On Board Technology

TCA supports the development, testing and use of cost-effective on-board technologies that improve vehicle safety, driver performance, productivity, vehicle maintenance, and management. TCA supports Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for those technologies which have a proven significant safety benefit and a reasonable cost.

Adopted March 3, 2013

Reviewed March 26, 2024


Civil penalties for violations other than record-keeping violations should be eliminated. The general criteria for determining if penalties should be imposed should be the same for employers and employees.

Vehicles should not be impounded. Vehicles should be placed out-of-service only because of imminently hazardous conditions.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Safe Use of Technology

TCA supports the safe use of technologies and encourages drivers and/or motor carriers to consider a range of policies and safeguards intended to reduce, minimize, and/or eliminate driver distractions that may be caused by the increased use of electronic technologies (e.g. global positioning systems, cellular phones, etc.) during the operation of all types of motor vehicles. TCA strongly encourages and recommends that manufacturers of these devices, vehicle manufacturers, policy makers, motor carriers, and organizations representing motor carriers and the motoring public promote and adopt awareness, training, and safety policies on the use of such technologies – unless required by current laws and regulations – during the operation of a motor vehicle on our nation’s highways.

Adopted March 8, 2009

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Safety Fitness

A certificate of safety fitness should be required for all motor carriers, both private and for-hire.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Sale of Alcohol at Truckstops

In an effort to create a safer driver environment for truck drivers and independent contractors, the trucking industry recognizes its obligation to place drivers and independent contractors on the nation’s highways. In as much as the nation’s truckstops are the home away from home of most truck drivers and independent contractors, it is imperative that truckstops likewise do not sell alcohol to ensure the safest possible working environment for the industry’s drivers and independent contractors. Therefore, TCA supports all legal efforts to eliminate the sale of alcohol in any form at all of the nation’s truckstops.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Seat Belts

TCA supports the adoption of primary seat belt laws for all motor vehicles by all states. TCA supports state laws that permit the admissibility of seat belt usage or non-usage as evidence in litigation.

Adopted March 1, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Side Underride Gaurds

TCA recognizes the role of the trucking industry in reducing accidents and fatalities on our nation’s highways, and we support equipment and technology that will aid in preventing crashes in their entirety. The development of any side underride protection, for installation only on newly manufactured trailers, must (1) lead to devices which enhance safety through the prevention of accidents, (2) be based on sound economic and engineering principles, and (3) include rigorous testing and research. Efforts to work with all parties, including the trucking industry, must occur prior to any government mandate being pursued.

Adopted March 22, 2022

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Sleep Disorders

If FMCSA develops screening and testing standards for sleep disorders, the agency should do so only through rulemaking and not through the publication of regulatory guidance. The development of any future regulation on establishing objective standards for sleep disorder screening, testing and treatment should be focused on conditions that pose a substantially elevated crash risk based on sound data and analysis, be cost-beneficial, and promote effective treatments that minimize the impact to motor carriers and commercial vehicle operators.

Adopted March 3, 2013

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Speed Limits

TCA urges states to adopt a uniform speed limit for all vehicles at a maximum speed of 65 mph. TCA opposes the use of any mechanical or electrical devices which enable drivers to exceed the speed limit without being detected.

Amended October 5, 2008

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Vehicle Inspections


Losses from pilferage, theft, and hijacking of cargo shipped by truck in interstate commerce continue to be substantial. Cargo theft losses have a severe economic impact on the trucking industry, the shipping public, small businessmen, and consumers.

Means for reducing and controlling losses from pilferage, theft, and hijacking of cargo in the trucking industry should be developed and maintained.

Reviewed March 26, 2024


Motor carrier security personnel should be provided with detailed instructions on how to establish, implement, and maintain an effective motor carrier security program.

Reviewed March 26, 2024


Motor carriers are the victims and not the perpetrators of cargo and vehicle theft. No punitive measures should be taken or civil penalties assessed against motor carriers.

It is the responsibility of both local and federal officials to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of motor carrier cargo and vehicle thefts.

State and local law enforcement officials should continue to share concurrent jurisdiction with federal officials in cases involving theft of cargo from interstate shipments. Local officials should not defer their responsibility to the FBI or other federal agencies. Both local and federal officials should actively pursue and prosecute perpetrators of motor carrier cargo and vehicle thefts through the criminal justice system.

While individual thefts of cargo can be of relatively low dollar value, cumulative amounts are substantial. State, local, or federal involvement in cases concerning theft from interstate shipments should not depend on a dollar value threshold for investigation and prosecution.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Transportation Policy

The economy and security of the nation require transportation services and facilities to provide for its need and growth. These transportation services and facilities are best developed and maintained under private ownership with equality of treatment by government for all modes.

It is imperative that all transportation modes, particularly the essential common carriers, operate under laws, regulations, and policies fostering a healthy business climate and providing for competitive opportunities that preserve the advantages of each mode for the public good. Such laws, regulations, and policies should assure adequate public protection against interruptions in transportation that impede the supply of products or services and affect the safety, health, and welfare of the public.

TCA wholeheartedly supports the National Transportation Policy (49 U.S.C. Section 10101) but insists that there be full enforcement and administration of all sections of the policy, as follows:

…to ensure the development, coordination, and preservation of a transportation system that meets the transportation needs of the United States, including the United States Postal Service and national defense, it is the policy of the United States Government to provide for the impartial regulation of the modes of transportation subject to this subtitle, and in regulating those modes:

  1. To recognize and preserve the inherent advantage of each mode of transportation;
  2. To promote safe, adequate, economical, and efficient transportation;
  3. To encourage sound economic conditions in transportation, including sound economic conditions among carriers;
  4. To encourage the establishment and maintenance of reasonable rates for transportation without unreasonable discrimination or unfair or destructive competitive practices;
  5. To cooperate with each state and the officials of each state on transportation matters;
  6. To encourage fair wages and working conditions in the transportation industry; and
  7. With respect to transportation of property by motor carrier, to promote competitive and efficient transportation services in order to:
    • Meet the needs of shippers, receivers, and consumers;
    • Allow a variety of quality and price options to meet changing market demands and the diverse requirements of the shipping public;
    • Allow the most productive use of equipment and energy resources;
    • Enable efficient and well-managed carriers to earn adequate profits, attract capital, and maintain fair wages and working conditions;
    • Provide and maintain service to small communities and small shippers;
    • Improve and maintain a sound, safe, and competitive privately-owned motor carrier system;
    • Promote greater participation by minorities in the motor carrier system; and
    • Promote intermodal transportation.

Government agencies should exercise all powers granted by Congress to bring about the development, coordination, and preservation of transportation in accordance with the national transportation policy. Data collection and financial reporting should not be required by state or federal law, but carriers are encouraged to participate in voluntary data collection efforts for benchmarking purposes.

TCA will evaluate and monitor the official actions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Surface Transportation Board and ensure appropriate input into the nomination and appointment selection of qualified individuals who demonstrate the knowledge of and commitment to carrying out their responsibilities under the law.

Amended March 10, 2019

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Government Traffic

Federal agencies, in procuring transportation services, should be required to use, at fair and reasonable rates, carriers subject to economic regulation by federal or state governments. Federal agencies should require contractors needing to purchase transportation to use carrier services subject to economic regulation by government in carrying out their contractual obligations. Federal agencies should be required to be fair, reasonable, and equitable when promulgating rules and regulations governing the use of carriers by the federal government.

Reviewed March 26, 2024


A sound transportation system requires adequate insurance to cover potential liability exposure risks. These include public liability and property damage, workers’ compensation, cargo loss and damage, and umbrella or excess coverage above the retention sometimes used by self-insurers.

  • As national policy, motor carriers should be required to have liability coverage adequate to protect the public, at reasonable minimum limit levels. If Congress creates legislation for the minimum limit levels to be increased, it must be increased at reasonable increments.
  • Liability insurance should be available at reasonable and relatively stable rates. Those rates should be reflective of the claims and safety experience of the motor carrier. Policies should not be cancelled without adequate notice to the insured. Unusual and arbitrary exclusions should be discouraged. State assigned risk pools should at least provide coverage to meet Federally-imposed minimums. Assigned risk pools should be self-supporting for the claims of its policyholders.
  • Congress should clarify the legal definition of “sudden and accidental” environmental damage, to permit insurance companies to assess the risk and provide adequate insurance.
  • The insurance industry must avoid unreasonable increases in premiums or arbitrary cancellations if such actions threaten to disrupt interstate commerce.
  • Cooperation between the insurance and trucking industries is based upon mutual trust. Financial and operating data of both industries must be mutually shared.
  • A motor carrier should be allowed to self-insure under certain controlled conditions if it can show an ability to meet its obligations. Regulations and procedures for self-insurance should be uniform among the various controlling agencies.
  • Carriers should be permitted to use surcharges to recoup their insurance costs. Carriers should be permitted to exclude from the computation of their gross revenues, the revenues they derive from their surcharges. The revenues received from the surcharges should inure to the benefit of the person actually incurring the expense.
  • Motor carriers should not be required to purchase or maintain insurance coverage, such as uninsured motorist coverage, that is unnecessary or duplicative.

Amended March 26, 2024

Research & Development

Our nation’s ability to compete in the world market and to defend our interests at home and abroad is contingent upon a modern efficient national transportation system. This depends upon a coordinated, comprehensive transportation research and development program.

The trucking industry has a crucial role in establishing the research agenda, goals, and priorities. TCA supports government and industry initiatives, such as those aimed at enhancing cooperative research and development efforts among government and industry bodies.

Reviewed March 26, 2024

Lawsuit Abuse

TCA supports lawsuit abuse reform measures on both the federal and state levels. The injured party should not be compensated beyond the level of his or her injuries; nor should the party causing the injury be punished beyond the portion of the plaintiff’s injuries and losses for which he or she is responsible.

Excessive litigation costs and court awards increase the costs of essential products and services for all American businesses and consumers. In recent years, the transportation industry has been made aware of the effects of these factors through the cost to trucking companies of federally mandated insurance. While litigation costs are not the only reason for the unjustified increase in insurance premiums, they have been a major factor.

A party’s liability should be based on its comparative responsibility for the injury suffered. The concept of joint and several liability should be eliminated.

There are other principles of lawsuit abuse which TCA should also support and seek to have enacted:

  • A ceiling should be placed on awards for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, and on awards of punitive damages. Further, awards of punitive damages should be limited to instances where the defendant’s actions are shown to be reckless or involve gross misconduct.
  • Federal and state laws should be revised to encourage the use of alternative dispute settlement procedures. These procedures may include arbitration or other expedited settlement procedures. The use of these procedures reduces the litigation costs of all parties and is more likely to result in dispute settlements that are rationally related to the injury of the plaintiff and the responsibility of the defendant.
  • Federal and state laws should be revised to allow for periodic payment of awards of non-economic or future losses above a certain level.
  • Any money received by a plaintiff for the loss or injury complained of, from any collateral source, shall be admissible before a jury in any action seeking compensation for that loss or injury. Awards to plaintiffs for loss or injury should be reduced by the amount of any payment to plaintiff from any other source intended to compensate him or her for the same loss or injury.
  • Courts should be able to impose sanctions against attorneys who bring frivolous suits, offer frivolous defenses, or take any other unwarranted action intended to unnecessarily delay the legal proceedings or increase litigation costs.
  • Principles of comparative fault should be adopted that bar a plaintiff’s case if that plaintiff is substantially negligent or at fault.

Amended March 26, 2024