Friday, September 25, 2009

US President Draws Fire For Vehicle Safety Choice

Obama Appoints Truck Industry Lobbyist as Regulator
Shipping News Feature

US – President Barack Obama has taken criticism from several quarters after appointing Ms Anne Ferro, long time CEO of the Maryland Motor Truck Association as the new chief of the troubled Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the body in part responsible for regulating the trucking industry.

Critics and supporters alike agree that the agency desperately needs reform and it has been widely criticised for its languorous attitude to the imposition of new safety procedures.

Despite her record as an advocate of road safety Ms Ferro was called "an apologist for the trucking industry" by a truck safety group. Critics say the appointment seems to belie the Presidents vow not to appoint industry lobbyists as Ms Ferro lobbied on behalf of her states Ethics Commission after declaring several truck associated interests.

All eyes will be on the new appointee as a debate surrounding the compulsory fitting of tachographs is hotting up. Ms Ferro is reported to have supported the previous administrations extension of drivers working hours; she says the requirement for extended rest periods actually reduced driver fatigue. She has not commented on tachographs other than to say the matter would be investigated.

Many Europeans in the industry will be amazed that the US is even debating the issue as their industry continues the switch to second generation digital recorders.