Safety at the Top of American Trucking Association’s Agenda

American Trucking Associations president and CEO Bill Graves. Source:

American Trucking Associations president and CEO Bill Graves. Source:

Bill Graves, CEO of The American Trucking Association (ATA) has said that safety has become key focus of his organisation, a sentiment that we Oz should emulate.

Graves who is the head of one of the largest trucking bodies in Northern America has advised that his organisation will be prioritising issues of safety in its agenda. Graves was speaking to an audience of trucking executives who had gathered for the ATA Management Conference and Exhibition recently.

The group of trucking executives were told that a prioritisation of safety is crucial for the industry in order for it to enhance its power to lobby the government on industry related issues. He said that the industry would always be defending itself against policies and regulatory issues confronting it rather than being able to lobby government on issues themselves.

The following excerpt from explains:

“Everything we do, or try to do, on Capitol Hill somehow or another revolves around the issue of safety. We’ve recognised that, we’ve acknowledged that and now we’re going to embrace that fact in our planning efforts,” he says.

Graves says the ATA’s “more holistic” approach will involve better assessment of which safety-related initiatives work and how the industry and the general public can benefit from them.

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The Australian trucking industry can learn from the efforts of the American Trucking Association who together with the promotion of safety have partnered with groups on safety related initiatives. They have also increased their efforts to educate public officials and staff about the industry’s concerns.

Graves went on to state:

“We will be willing to work with any other organisation that is truly committed to finding solutions to greater highway safety and not just damaging the trucking industry,” Graves says.


According to Graves improving infrastructure is another issue that the ATA needs to tackle after the issue of safety. Graves explained that because this issue affects everyone on a number of levels, it needed a lot of attention, he was quoted as saying:

I tend to have a great interest in this issue because as a former governor, I truly understand how important it is to the states to have a federal program that is long term and fully funded. Just below the banner of safety, this is the issue I view as our top priority. It’s high on the list because it affects each and every one of us both personally and professionally,” he says.


A perceived lack of action on the part of the US Government on an infrastructure funding program was criticised by Graves who also chastised Congress for suggesting “devolving” the program to the states as a solution to bankrolling projects.

Simply delegating or as Graves puts it “passing the buck” will not solve anything because all the government is trying to do here is pass the responsibility of fundraising onto some lesser power. Graves suggests that to solve this problem, the ATA should introduce a system where people pay for travelling on a road network – the money raised would go towards infrastructure funding, negating the need for further fundraising. Graves eloquently stated:

“For the life of me I can’t figure out why is it so hard to appreciate the beauty — the simplicity of a user pay approach to building our infrastructure? it brings to mind the age old question, What part of success don’t you like?” Graves says.