Ensuring the safety of the women and men who are literally driving the commercial motor vehicle industry, as well as all motorists with whom they share the road, is her personal and utmost priority, Meera Joshi, nominee for administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), told members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation during her confirmation hearing in mid-September.
“Sadly, since 2009, commercial motor vehicle-related roadway fatalities in the United States have steadily risen, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives of men, women, and children,” noted Joshi. “And, every year, over 800 of these victims are large truck or bus drivers. I am deeply committed to the undisputed work ahead, reversing this fatal trend,” she stated.
The committee sent Joshi’s nomination to the full Senate. At the time of this writing, no date has been set for a committee vote on her nomination.
Joshi said commercial motor vehicles, particularly large trucks, are not only essential to America’s thriving economy, transporting over 70% of the nation’s freight, but they are also critical in times of crisis.
“I am no stranger to roadway tragedy and implementing strategies to improve safety,” said Joshi, noting that as head of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, she was at the forefront of the city’s Vision Zero Campaign, setting the rules of the road for more than 150,000 professional taxi and for-hire drivers.
“I witnessed firsthand the pain of families who had lost loved ones to traffic violence and ensured that all new drivers knew their names and the names of those they lost,” she said. “It was also important to me to publicly acknowledge the city’s highly skilled professional drivers, women and men, who year after year safely transported passengers throughout congested city streets.
“I led pilots to integrate innovative vehicle safety technology, increased the effectiveness of roadway enforcement and inspections, and used data analytics to identify and remove the most dangerous drivers from the road and operators from the industry,” she continued.
“I worked collaboratively with drivers, large and small operators, tech companies, safety and labor advocates, elected officials, their constituents, passengers as well as the general public,” she added. “The result of these productive relationships was balanced policy that raised safety and accountability standards for all. This experience is the source of my desire and belief that I can make a positive difference nationwide in roadway safety as administrator of the FMCSA.”
Joshi lauded the efforts of trucking and the motorcoach industry.
As for trucking, she said throughout COVID-19 the trucking industry was at the forefront, moving vaccines, testing supplies, and oxygen. In addition, when the Colonial Pipeline was breached, tank trucks transported fuel.
“Most recently, during Hurricane Ida, large trucks brought emergency supplies to our hardest hit regions,” she added.
Joshi said her mission was further strengthened by the committee’s historic investment in commercial motor vehicle safety through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA).
“IIJA funding creates American jobs, allowing FMCSA’s state partners to hire additional personnel for roadside inspections and reach the true breadth of the vast commercial motor vehicle industry,” she noted. “In short, IIJA investment in commercial motor vehicle safety will save lives.”
The Truckload Authority News Staff, comprised of award winning journalists and graphic artists, produces content for Truckload Authority, working in cooperation with the Truckload Carriers Association staff. Truckload Authority aims to keep TCA members abreast on the latest trends in the trucking industry as well as articles that feature TCA member executives and drivers. The Truckload Authority staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.