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Get to Know: The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC)

Get to Know: The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC)

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) was established in 2001 by an act of the state legislature. Act 90 of 2022 expanded the MCSAC to 31 members, adding six representatives from the transport industry and retaining the two positions held by the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association.

Members of the MCSAC include representatives of government agencies, including the General Assembly, PennDOT, the PUC, Turnpike Commission, and State Police and twenty-three public members that are appointed by the Governor to 3-year terms.  The Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association hold two positions on MCSAC and currently has two staff members appointed: Rebecca Oyler, President and CEO, and John Rigney, Director of Safety.  There are also PMTA members appointed to the committee.  They are Mr. Robert Smith, CLI Sheetz; Gregg Troian, PGT Trucking; Dennis McGee, McGee and Associates; Bob Dolan, Vorzik Transportation; and Mr. Rick Varner. 

There are four vacancies currently listed representing the Motor Carrier Manufacturing Industry, Natural Gas Transportation, Independent Trucker Interests and Construction Material Transportation.  Interested parties wishing to fill a vacancy should contact PMTA for instructions on how to do so. 

The committee is tasked with reviewing and commenting on standards for the safe operation of commercial vehicles on the highways of the Commonwealth.  The following is a list of issues examined by MCSAC:  Improving highway safety and freight transportation; Motor Carrier Safety initiatives for the Pennsylvania State Police and Public Utilities Commission; Provide advice and recommendations to stakeholders related to the motor carrier industry and safety; “Develop and maintain a forum for the exchange of ideas, needs, objectives, plans and accomplishments related to motor carrier safety.”

MCSAC has a good cross-section of members from all aspects of the motor carrier industry.  Issues relevant to the safe operation of large trucks on the highway are discussed at length, and the result is a better understanding of the challenges companies and their drivers face every day as they go about their business. 

One issue that has been discussed for many years is parking.  The lack of available truck parking puts a strain on the drivers who must be mindful of the hours-of-service regulations, keep their freight moving in a positive direction towards their destination and have the ability to find a safe area to shut down when they get to the limit of their on-duty hours.  This has a ripple affect up the supply chain. 

The good news is funding for projects is available, and Pennsylvania is moving forward in this area.  There was consensus in the February MCSAC meeting that the topic has been discussed for thirty or more years, and the time for action is now.  FHWA has acknowledged that Pennsylvania is in a good position now with an updated Freight Movement Plan that  opens the door for funding.  A  study commencing currently by the Transportation Advisory Committee will provide information on specific sites to consider for development of parking for commercial vehicles.

Other issues such as the move over law, the snow and ice law, distracted driving and other proposed Federal regulations are reviewed and discussed, and all of the stakeholders are there to comment.  The meetings are held quarterly, and the committee submits annual reports to the Governor, the Secretary of Transportation and members of the General Assembly.

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