The American Trucking Association, also known as ATA, was first established in 1933 with one goal in mind: to be an advocate for the trucking industry. To reach that goal, the organization focuses its efforts on developing policies that improve highway safety, profitability, security and environmental sustainability.
How Does the ATA Help the Trucking Industry?
As an advocate for the industry, the ATA works tirelessly to educate lawmakers as well as the general public about the role the trucking industry plays in today’s economy. The organization also promotes responsible policies to improve highway safety.
ATA focuses on several key areas and issues, including:
- Risk management
- Regional carriers
- Tax and registration
- Hazardous materials
- Government traffic
- Auto haulers
- Highway infrastructure
Through outreach programs, education and other outlets, the organization works to improve these issues or areas of the industry.
ATA also releases publications that deliver the latest trucking news and further help achieve its agenda.
American Trucking Association Codes
The ATA has a set of policies, or codes, that it operates in accordance to. Think of these as the pillars of the organization.
There are four in total: Safety, Essentiality, Sustainability, and Strategic Plan.
ATA’s safety policy is centered on three key things: vehicle safety, driver performance, motor carrier safety.
And the goal of their policies is to improve safety in each of these key areas.
The ATA helps advocate for the Hours-of-Service regulations implemented in 2004, which brought down truck-related fatality rates by 20%.
The organization has also created an 18-point safety agenda to improve highway safety even more.
This agenda includes:
- Uniform CDL testing standards
- Maximum speed limit of 65 mph
- Additional facilities for truck parking
- Increased use of safety belts
- Stricter laws for drinking and driving
- Increased use of red light cameras
Essentiality refers to the importance of the trucking industry to the U.S. economy.
Nearly all of the consumer goods in the U.S. are hauled by trucks and 69% of freight tonnage is moved by trucks, according to trucking industry statistics.
With a growing population and increasing demand for goods, ATA advocates for improving highway infrastructure where congestion and traffic are at their worst to improve efficiency.
Environmental sustainability is another key area of focus for the ATA. The organization strives to implement policies that help the industry reduce greenhouse gas emissions without impeding on efficiency.
The ATA offers five recommendations to help achieve this:
- Enacting a national speed limit of 65 mph or lower for trucks
- Improving fuel efficiency
- Minimizing idling
- Advocating for national fuel economy standards for trucks
- Reducing congestion through highway infrastructure improvements
If these recommendations were to be followed, it would reduce fuel consumption by 86 billion gallons while reducing CO2 emissions by nearly a billion tons over the next ten years.
The ATA has also developed a five-step plan to meet all of the goals listed above:
- Serve as a leader in the industry
- Establish itself as an authoritative voice for the trucking industry
- Promote the importance of safety to the industry
- Advocate for increased productivity and efficiency
- Maximize resources to achieve the organization’s mission
American Trucking Association Conference
As advocates for the trucking industry and to help achieve its goals, the ATA holds four conferences:
Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference
A conference that’s open to all ATA member companies in the intermodal sector. The IMCC focuses on important issues, like operational and economic fairness, roadability and infrastructure efficiency.
Automobile Carriers Conference
The ACC works with the Automotive Industry Logistics Steering Council to develop methods of improving standardizations and efficiencies in the vehicle delivery industry.
Regional & Distribution Carriers Conference
The RDCC promotes the interests of truckers in this sector while also providing members with a platform to exchange ideas and discuss best practices.
Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference
The AFTC focuses on drivers in the agricultural and food transportation sector. This conference was first launched in 1995, and its goal is to improve the security, safety, efficiency and profitability of the industry.
Through a series of image and outreach programs, the ATA raises awareness of the importance of the trucking industry while promoting key issues, like safety and security on the road.
A few of the organization’s most famous programs include:
Truck Driver Appreciation Week
ATA’s Truck Driver Appreciation campaign runs in September each year.
This is a week where America takes the time to honor the truckers that work tirelessly each day to keep the economy running.
The campaign encourages industry suppliers and motor carriers to host events that honor truckers and their families.
ATA also provides resources to get the organization’s messages out there and to celebrate truckers in the community.
National Truck Driving Championships
ATA hosts the National Truck Driving Championships each year dating all the way back to 1937. Participating drivers are given the opportunity to demonstrate their inspection and driving skills, professionalism and knowledge through a variety of tests.
Each participant goes through a pre-trip inspection test, written exam, interview and skills test. The championship event serves as a way to encourage truckers to drive safely because you must be accident-free to participate in the event.
The ATA is the trucking industry’s biggest advocate, and the organization fights on behalf of carriers and truckers to improve safety and efficiency.