Apr 1, 2010 12:00 PM
Jeff McCaig leads association through a tough recession
BT: What is the outlook for the wetlines legislation?
McCaig: We believe that we have reached a compromise with the committee in charge of this legislation. It provides time to prepare for the requirements as they apply to new vehicles. We have a reasonable timeframe for retrofits on existing tank trailers. The number of cargoes affected by the legislation was limited to those that pose the most risk.
BT: What will be accomplished with a wetlines ban?
McCaig: The industry position is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to justify the cost and the safety issues associated with retrofitting tank trailers with wetlines-purging systems. There is no rational cost-benefit analysis.
BT: How will the infighting between Congress and the Department of Transportation impact the tank truck industry?
McCaig: The sense I have is that it has caused the regulators to be very concerned about having any kind of relationship with the industry that they are regulating that could be construed as cozy. From the industry perspective, good communication just makes sense. A more informed regulator writes better regulations.
BT: What are your thoughts on the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 that is being launched this year by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration?
McCaig: It can be beneficial to the tank truck industry. The devil is in the details. If we have good standards that are fairly and uniformly enforced, then it will be good for the industry.
BT: What do you see for the future with regard to alternative fuels and hybrid-powered trucks within the tank truck industry?
McCaig: Alternative fuels and hybrids can be appropriate for the tank truck industry. For instance, Trimac is buying a significant number of LNG (liquefied natural gas)-fueled vehicles. We are doing that at the behest of a customer that produces that fuel.
We were very lucky to be led by the customer in that instance. I think it would be very difficult for our industry to take the lead. If they request it and take some of the risk for the price of the fuel, it will work. We also need support from the government in the form of grants and tax credits to kick-start the use of these technologies.
BT: Did the federal government make the right move in banning texting by commercial vehicle drivers?
McCaig: We are in favor of regulations that prohibit the use of electronic devices in the cab of the truck that could result in distracted driving. There is no question that is the right thing to do.
At Trimac, we've gone farther. We've locked out our Qualcomm (satellite communications) units when the vehicle is in motion.
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