Statement on Signing the Tandem Truck Safety Act of 1984

October 30, 1984

I am pleased to sign into law today S. 2217, the Tandem Truck Safety Act of 1984, which deals with commercial motor vehicle safety. My administration has consistently placed a high priority on safety in all forms of transportation. Since Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole's first day on the job, she has forcefully and effectively espoused the cause of motor vehicle safety.

Far too many lives are needlessly sacrificed annually on our nation's highways. We have taken dramatic steps to lower this terrible toll. For example, I recently signed legislation to encourage the States to enact the age-21 drinking laws to address the serious national problem of drinking and driving among our young people.

Today we turn our attention to another area that can result in great safety benefits -- the commercial motor vehicle industry. The continual changes the trucking industry makes to meet the Nation's diverse transportation needs present new challenges to maintain and enhance the industry's positive safety record. The trend toward larger commercial vehicles and smaller automobiles necessitates renewed attention to their operation on our highways. Two years ago we initiated the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. This cooperative effort combines Federal and State resources to assist States to build and maintain strong and effective commercial motor vehicle safety programs.

The truck safety bill I sign today is an important piece of legislation that builds on this cooperative grant program. This bill will go a long way toward ensuring that our increasingly productive trucking and bus industries remain safe and become safer still. It also promotes uniform safety regulation of commercial motor vehicles by the States, thus reducing undesirable impediments to interstate commerce, and will assist in regulating the entry and ensuring the safety of foreign motor carriers. I believe this bill will give Secretary Dole and the Department of Transportation the tools needed to continue to improve safety on our nation's highways.

There is one provision in the bill that deserves clarification. I am signing S. 2217 with the understanding that section 209 of this bill does not purport to deny the Secretary of Transportation the ultimate responsibility for the selection and appointment of the members of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Regulatory Review Panel established by this bill. That ultimate responsibility must include the power to refuse to appoint any person submitted to the Secretary on a list by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation or the House Committee on Public Works and Transportation, and to request the submission of additional lists if none of the persons appears suitable for appointment to the Secretary.

I express my appreciation to all the Members of the Congress, Secretary Dole, concerned representatives of the motor carrier industry, State officials, and all others whose cooperative efforts have led to enactment of this bill.

It is with great pleasure that I sign S. 2217.

Note: As enacted, S. 2217 is Public Law 98 - 554, approved October 30.