UMA President and CEO Larry Killingsworth congratulated newly confirmed Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on behalf of the United Motorcoach Association‘s hundreds of motorcoach operator members. The former South Bend mayor and Democrat presidential candidate became the nation’s 19th Transportation Secretary by a Senate vote of 86-13 on Feb. 2.
Killingsworth enumerated the many merits of motorcoach travel in his letter to the Secretary, from fuel efficiency to essential service. Motorcoach and group travel provides $88 billion in direct economic impact, while demand for goods and services generated by motorcoach travel, combined with new coach sales and industry equipment purchases, create employment for 1.1 million workers. The industry produces $20 billion in federal tax revenue and $13 billion in state tax revenue.
In the letter, Killingsworth noted that UMA urges a reasonable and cautious approach to any proposed new regulations and remains firm that any proposed regulations be based on sound science and supported by credible data that significantly improves safety.
Among the regulatory issues, Killingsworth noted UMA’s concerns about the following:
- A separate regulatory action requiring specific screening, testing and treatment criteria for obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. These disorders are already being flagged in drivers through their regular DOT mandated physicals and additional burdensome regulation is unnecessary.
- Raising minimum insurance requirement for commercial motor carriers of passengers beyond the current level of $5 million. UMA is unaware of reliable studies or data linking insurance limits to improved safety or a decrease in crashes. Because of rising insurance rates, any increase in insurance minimums will devastate struggling motorcoach companies and shutter more companies.
- Any change in permitting en route inspections of motorcoach operators except for
egregious activity or obvious defects affecting imminent safety. Motorcoach operators are inspected at destinations and garages, but it is hazardous to stop a motorcoach and unload passengers on the side of roadways without protection from elements and facilities and resulting in delays possibly arriving late or missing events or other transportation mode connections altogether.
- Imposing a national speed limiter mandate on commercial vehicles due to motorcoaches
travel across the country and the confusion and potential safety hazards it would create.
Killingsworth also shared details of the industry’s challenges and voiced UMA’s goal of finding ways to work together.
“The United Motorcoach Association (UMA) looks forward to working with you to advance policies that will support the motorcoach industry’s recovery from the devastating pandemic and a path that returns us to a thriving industry,” he said.