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Rep. Cartwright Introduces Legislation to Keep Highways Safe and Protect Victims’ Rights
On July 18, 2013, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) introduced the Safe and Fair Environment on Highways Achieved through Underwriting Levels Act (H.R. 2730) or “A SAFE HAUL." The SAFE HAUL Act calls for an increase in minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers from $750,000 to $4.42 million. To read more, click here.
Family and Friends of Truck Crash Victims Respond to ATA's "Crash Blame"To read the TSC's letter to the ATA's Bill Graves and Dan England, click here.
Truck Safety Advocates Respond to the ATA's Push to Remove Crash Data From the CSA Crash BASIC
NTSB recommends 10-year employment database for truck drivers
Second Year Increase in Overall Out-of-Service Rate for Brakes of Trucks
Brake Safety Week Finds Substantial Compliance Despite Increase in Overall Out-of-Service Rate for Brakes of Trucks and Buses for Second Year in Row
During Brake Safety Week, September 9-15, 2102, federal, state, provincial and local safety inspectors across North America conducted inspections that focus on brake systems. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) reports that one out of seven of 21,255 vehicles inspected were placed out-of-service due to brake issues during the latest enforcement mobilization. Brakes have been cited in 29.4% of commercial motor vehicle crashes as an associated factor.
The latest Brake Safety Week took place September 9-15, 2012, all across North America.
Stopping distances of trucks and buses are longer than passenger cars and they increase significantly with many of the brake violations found during these inspections.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 25, 2012
Commercial vehicle inspectors participating in the recent Brake Safety Week, the annual enforcement and education campaign focused on regulatory compliance of truck and bus brake system maintenance, found at least one in seven vehicles chosen for inspection had brake-related out-of-service (OOS) violations, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). These rates are comparable to recent years, but slightly higher for the second year in a row. Of the vehicles inspected September 9-15, the OOS rate for all brake-related violations was 15.3%. This is higher than in 2011, 2010 and 2009 (at 14.2%, 13.5%, and 15.1%, respectively), but lower than in 2008 and 2007 (18.4% and 17.8% respectively).
The OOS rates for inspections in Canada were lower than in the United States, which is consistent with previous findings, and resulted in 10.8% of vehicles being placed OOS for brakes, compared to 15.5% in the U.S. This year, 9.6% of vehicles inspected in the U.S. during Brake Safety Week were placed OOS for poor brake adjustment, compared to 5.5% in Canada.
“Commercial vehicles with OOS violations are considered imminent hazards to highway safety. Stopping distances of trucks and buses are longer than passenger cars and they increase significantly with many of the brake violations found during these inspections,” said CVSA Executive Director Stephen A. Keppler. “The good news is that eight of ten trucks were compliant, however, the slight increase in out-of-service violations is troubling. Our goal is safe vehicles, drivers and roadways. We will not tolerate anything less than 100 percent compliance with the safety rules of our roads,” said Keppler.
CVSA members conduct approximately four million safety inspections each year. Brakes are always part of a comprehensive North American Standard Level I inspection that are conducted at any time throughout the year. During Brake Safety Week, federal, state, provincial and local safety inspectors across North America conduct Level I inspections and special Level IV inspections that focus on specific safety concerns, such as brake systems.
Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake program sponsored by CVSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
“Bad brakes on a large truck or bus are a danger to all motorists,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Brake Safety Week is a timely reminder for those who cut corners on brake safety that we are watching.“ FMCSA's mission is to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and commercial buses.
Brake Safety Week is one of the major efforts of the ongoing Operation Air Brake campaign, which is an international effort dedicated to preventing truck and bus crashes and saving lives throughout North America. Its importance is underscored by the fact that brakes were cited as an associated factor in nearly three of ten CMV crashes, according to the most recent Large Crash Causation study.
Overall Brake Safety Week 2012 Results at-a-Glance...
21,255 vehicles were inspected. This is fewer than the record 30,872 vehicles in 2011.
1,993 or 9.4% of vehicles were placed OOS for brake adjustment (8.4% in 2011, 8.9% in 2010).
1,664 or 7.8% of vehicles were placed OOS for brake components (7.9% in 2011, 8.0% in 2010).
3,248 or 15.3% of vehicles were placed OOS for brakes overall (14.2% in 2011, 13.5% in 2010).
Over 2.6 million brakes have been inspected in the 15 years since the program’s inception.
About Operation Airbrake
The Operation Airbrake campaign was first developed in 1998 in Canada and has grown to include two annual enforcement events and educational efforts throughout the year all across North America. The campaign seeks reductions in the rates of brake-related violations and encourages improved understanding and practices of proper brake maintenance. It follows other Selective Traffic Enforcement Program models, which have as been used successfully in other areas of traffic safety. Learn more about Operation Airbrake and Brake Safety Week at operationairbrake.com.
CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial, and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Our mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers. The Alliance actively monitors, evaluates, and identifies solutions to potentially unsafe transportation processes and procedures related to driver and vehicle safety requirements most often associated with commercial motor vehicle crashes. In addition, CVSA has several hundred associate members who are committed to helping the Alliance achieve its goals; uniformity, compatibility and reciprocity of commercial vehicle inspections, and enforcement activities throughout North America by individuals dedicated to highway safety and security. For more information, visit cvsa.org.
Testimony from Truck Safety Organizations to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit 9/13/12Steve Owings' Testimony to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit's September 13, 2012, Hearing, Evaluating the Effectiveness of DOT's Truck and Bus Safety Program. To read, click here.
FMCSA's CSA Program, Separating Fiction from the Facts
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program:
Separating CSA Fiction from the Facts - to read more, click here.
TSC, CRASH, PATT, RSA Comments to CSA DocketTSC, CRASH, PATT, RSA Comments to CSA Docket - please click here.
PRESS RELEASE: Transportation Bill -Truck Safety Advocates Express Gratitude
TRANSPORTATION BILL PASSES WITH TRUCK SAFETY PROVISIONS INTACTGREAT VICTORY FOR TRUCK SAFETY! To read more click here.
My Word: Bill could help stop deadly crashesTruck Safety Coalition Florida Volunteer Coordinator, Jane Mathis and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Volunteer, Jim Portell team together to promote vital roadway safety through support of MAP-21's safety provisions. To read their article, click here.
Truck Safety Groups - Letter to Conferees June 8, 2012TSC and safety groups urge Conferees to negotiate a transprotation bill that includes truck safety provisions. Read here.
Speed limiter report: Trucks with devices had 50% lower ‘speed-limiter relevant’ crash rate
WASHINGTON — A report detailing research on the safety impact of speed limiters device installations on commercial motor vehicles shows that trucks equipped with speed limiters had a 50 percent lower speed limiter-relevant crash rate compared to trucks without speed limiters.
The report, requested by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Office of Analysis, Research and Technology and conducted by MaineWay Services of Fryeburg, Maine, was recently released by FMCSA.
The report says that assessing whether a crash was speed limiter-relevant was based on four types of information found in the dataset:
• Location of the crash (e.g., highway with speed limit less than 60 mph)
• Crash type (e.g., rear-end truck striking)
• Contributing factor(s) in the crash (used to exclude crashes; e.g., weather-related), and
• Crash narrative.
The speed limiter-relevant crash rate for trucks without speed limiters was five crashes per 100 trucks/year compared to 1.4 per 100 trucks/year for trucks with speed limiters.
In addition, the report showed that the overall crash rate for trucks without a speed limiter was higher compared with trucks equipped with a speed limiter — 16.4 crashes per 100 trucks/year for trucks without a speed limiter versus 11 crashes per 100 trucks/year for trucks with a speed limiter.
“Results from multiple analyses indicated a profound safety benefit for trucks equipped with an active speed limiter,” the report concluded.
The American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association and safety advocates support the creation of a federal regulation requiring speed limiters on commercial trucks.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration late last year officially issued a “grant notice” on petitions filed in 2006 by ATA and another group, both of which seek a rulemaking that would require speed limiters on commercial trucks.
The notice appeared in the Federal Register late last year and says that NHTSA will initiate the rulemaking process on the issue with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2012.
On the federal rulemaking management system, NHTSA says this about the proposed rule:
“This rulemaking would respond to petitions from ATA and Roadsafe America to require the installation of speed limiting devices on heavy trucks. In response, NHTSA requested public comment on the subject and received thousands of comments supporting the petitioners’ request. Based on the available safety data and the ancillary benefit of reduced fuel consumption, this rulemaking would consider a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that would require the installation of speed limiting devices on heavy trucks. We believe this rule would have minimal cost, as all heavy trucks already have these devices installed, although some vehicles do not have the limit set. This rule would decrease the estimated 8,991 fatalities caused by crashes involving heavy trucks and buses. It would also increase the fleet fuel efficiency of these vehicles.”
Although listed timetables are rarely realized, NHTSA says it plans to have a proposed rule to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation this month.
Estimates on how many fleets use speed limiters ranges from 60 to 80 percent, the report says.
PRESS RELEASE: Truck Safety Coalition Lauds Senate for Passage of Pro-Safety Transportation Bill
Truck Safety Coalition Lauds Senate for Passage of Pro-Safety Transportation Bill
Progress on Electronic On-Board Recorders, Truck Driver Training, and
Registration Requirements for Motor Carriers
Arlington, VA (March 14, 2012): Today the Senate passed by a strong, bipartisan majority vote a monumental bill that will improve truck safety for all motorists and truck drivers. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, MAP-21, (S. 1813) includes numerous provisions that will advance truck safety regulations. Family and friends of truck crash victims and survivors expressed gratitude to Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK) as well as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for their leadership in shepherding this bill with lifesaving improvements to passage.
The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) also thanks Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV), Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Chair of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, and Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), Chair of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, for introducing the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011, S.1950, which was incorporated into MAP-21. The TSC commends these truck safety champions for their dedication and determination to pass this legislation which included numerous provisions to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and excluded truck size and weight increases. The TSC now urges the House of Representatives to pass this bill as is immediately upon their return from recess.
“At a time when the number of overall motor vehicle crash fatalities decreased to its lowest level since 1949 yet truck crash fatalities increased by nearly 9%, with 3,675 people being killed in 2010, the Senate’s actions today demonstrated a true commitment to save lives by improving truck safety regulations.” stated John Lannen, TSC Executive Director. “Unfortunately a couple of special interest farm truck exemptions passed, but the overall bill is a huge step in the right direction toward making our roads safer,” Lannen continued.
Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways Board member Tami Friedrich Trakh responded to today’s passage, “I want to give heartfelt thanks to the Senate and especially my Senator, Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, for her true grit and determination to pass a comprehensive bill that advances motor carrier safety. The improved registration requirements for motor carriers and driver training and medical qualifications for commercial motor vehicle drivers will undoubtedly save lives on our highways.”
“In our work as truck safety volunteers, we are so grateful for victories such as this one. The Senate demonstrated leadership and a forthrightness to improve motor carrier conditions. I urge my Congressman, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, and the House leadership to follow suit,” stated Jane Mathis, Parents Against Tired Truckers Board member. “It is past time to have the advancements included in MAP-21 in operation, such as Electronic On-Board Recorders, EOBRs, in all trucks to reduce truck driver fatigue. My son and his new bride were needlessly killed by a truck driver who fell asleep behind the wheel. We need to stop these archaic work conditions that are forcing drivers to exceed their limitations by requiring EOBRs and other proven technologies and regulations,” continued Mathis.
FMCSA Stops Plan to Determine Accountability in CSA Crash Data
HEADLINE: FMCSA Stops Plan to Determine Accountability in CSA Crash Data
Byline: Oliver B. Patton, Washington Editor
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last week reversed course on a long-planned correction in its CSA safety enforcement system.
The agency was close to proposing a way for carriers to get an assessment of fault in the crashes used to determine their safety rating, but on Thursday Anne Ferro told industry representatives that the agency will not go ahead after all.
Ferro explained in an interview that safety advocacy groups raised questions about the proposal that caused her to reconsider the agency's approach.
The questions had to do with using just the Police Accident Report and a carrier's statement to determine crash accountability, Ferro said.
She said that approach is too limited because it does not allow for comment from others impacted by the crash. These presumably could include victims, insurance companies, shippers and witnesses.
Also, the process did not allow other parties to even know that a carrier was filing a request for an accountability examination, Ferro said. And, if the agency created a window for others to participate, it would have to create a new process to manage the exchange.
"It was just too early out of the box in this proposal, quite frankly, so I pulled it back," Ferro said.
The Accountability Question
The agency has been working on this proposal since CSA began being tested in 2009.
Early on, carriers raised concerns about the way the system records crashes as part of its CSA crash indicator score whether or not the crash was the carrier's fault. When that happens the carrier's score goes up and can possibly trigger enforcement action, even if there was nothing the carrier could have done to prevent the crash.
The FMCSA's response has come in two parts. First, the agency has said it is legitimate to include non-preventable crashes because statistics clearly show that past crashes are a predictor of future crashes, no matter who is at fault.
But the agency also has recognized that non-preventable crashes should get different weight than preventable crashes.
To create a proper weighting system, the agency has been working on an appeal process in which carriers would use the CSA data correction system, DataQs, to submit a Police Accident Report and get an assessment of accountability on their crashes. That plan was supposed to be published in the Federal Register last month, or early this month.
Safety Advocate Concerns
The initiative started to go off the rails when the agency aired its planned proposal at a meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee last month. Safety advocacy members of the committee objected, saying that they were not aware of the proposal.
Ferro said she heard about the concerns (she was not at the MCSAC meeting) and asked the safety advocates to meet with her.
The timing of that meeting last Monday has led to speculation among trucking interests that the safety groups were bringing political pressure to bear against the agency, because safety groups met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood the same day.
That speculation "is baloney," Ferro said. "The meeting with Secretary LaHood was not on this topic. It was on issues relating to reauthorization (and) insurance research."
A spokesman for Secretary LaHood confirmed that CSA was not on the agenda at the meeting.
"There's nothing about this particular series of actions that was influenced by anybody other than me," Ferro said.
She said she was reacting to the questions that were raised at the MCSAC meeting, "the recognition that some very good questions were raised that we do not have answers to today."
Trucking interests are dismayed by the move.
"The biggest casualty in this is the agency's credibility," said John Conley, president of the National Tank Truck Carriers, who was at the Thursday meeting.
Conley said the turnaround is frustrating because he has defended FMCSA, urging patience as the agency readied a response for carriers who say the system punishes them for crashes they did not cause.
"Now I have egg on my face and my carrier (members) have every right to say you told us all along that we should be working with them," Conley said.
Rob Abbott, vice president of safety at American Trucking Associations, underscored the industry's continuing concern about the fairness of the current system.
"With respect to all of the crashes that clearly are not the driver's fault, its an error to include every one of those in the database," he said. "What ATA wants is to make the crash indicator a better indicator of carrier performance."
Steve Owings is co-founder and president of Road Safe America, one of the advocacy groups involved. Owings lost his son, Cullum, in a 2002 crash caused by a speeding truck. He said in an interview that the CSA appeal process the agency was considering "sounds like motherhood and apple pie, the right thing to do, on the face of it."
But, he said, the agency's data shows "a very clear and strong correlation" between past and future crashes regardless of who was at fault.
"My understanding from statisticians and database experts is that any time you start manipulating data, which is what they would be doing, you mess up your whole intent. It corrupts the data, basically," Owings said.
Neither Owings nor anyone else interviewed for this story could explain exactly why a no-fault crash would accurately predict greater risk of a crash in the future.
Ferro confirmed that agency data containing both at-fault and not at-fault crashes show a "very, very close correlation" between crash experience from year to year.
The hypothesis is that all of the carriers have a greater risk, but the at-fault carriers have a significantly greater risk, she said. But one reason she stopped the proposal is to test this hypothesis.
Ron Knipling, a noted truck safety scientist, agreed that including non-accountable crashes in the database increases the numbers and thus strengthens the statistical relationship between past at-fault crashes and future risk.
"But it is spurious, or at least primarily spurious," he said in response to an email inquiry. If the agency's data were entirely valid, which it is not, there probably would be a small but measurable relation between involvement in not-at-fault crashes and future crash risk, he said.
The bigger problem, he said, is that the agency's data does not control for risk exposure in terms of mileage or type of road.
"Two drivers could be exactly alike in actual safety but one could drive more miles and/or drive in denser traffic year after year," he said. "The data would show that driver to be higher risk for all types of crashes."
Knipling's take is that the CSA system would be better if it weighed accountability, but that still would not solve the core problem of exposure.
"I may be an excellent driver, but the more miles I drive, and the more dense the traffic is, the higher my risk of causing a crash as well as just being in one."
ATA's Abbott made the point that the CSA system would be improved if accountability were weighted.
"If crashes are the best indicator of crash risk, how much better would the system be if they discounted those crashes that clearly weren't the truck driver or trucking company's fault?" he said.
"The agency will have difficulty convincing anybody, regardless of what statistics they say they have, that a truck driver who's struck while parked is more likely to be a future crash risk, and intervening with that carrier."
Because the point of CSA is to help the agency focus its resources on the riskiest carriers, the system should cull out the less risky carriers, he said.
"Every time they target one carrier for intervention they are saying that another is not worthy of intervention," he said. "So some carrier who is more worthy of intervention escapes scrutiny as a result. And that's bad for safety."
Steve Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which represents the enforcement community, said it would be good to look at accountability but there needs to be a conversation about how to do it.
"We need to take into account the level of effort required to get this done," he said. "As one CVSA member said, we've got a million crashes a year -- are you ready to look at all those crashes?"
Ferro said that at this point she's still focusing on getting more clarity on the questions surrounding the issue. She does not have a schedule for what happens next, she said.
The Truck Safety Coalition Supports the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011, S.1950
In 2010 truck crash fatalities increased by almost nine percent, from 3,380 in 2009 to 3,675 in 2010.
We support the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011, S.1950 and urge Congress to retain the safety improvements therein including:
Improved Registration Requirements for Motor Carriers (Title I): a written proficiency exam for applicant MCs; restrictions on “reincarnated” MCs; evaluating minimum financial responsibility (insurance) requirements; increased penalties for operating without registration; the ability to revoke registration for unsafe operations causing imminent hazard
Improved CMV Safety (Title II): evaluation of crashworthiness standards for CMVs; improving accountability of foreign MCs
Improved Driver Safety (Title III): requiring electronic on board recorders (EOBRs); creation of a safety fitness rating methodology; establishing a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners; development of a plan for a National Driver Record Notification System; minimum entry-level training requirements for CMV operators, including behind-the-wheel
“Safe Roads Act” (Title IV): establishing a National Clearinghouse for Controlled Substance and Alcohol Test Results of CMV operators
Improved Enforcement (Title V): increases penalties for most egregious offenders (out of service and financial penalties)
“Compliance, Safety, Accountability” (Title VI): establishes CSA grant program; new entrant safety assurance grant program; border enforcement grant program; high priority grant program
“Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act” (Title VII)
“Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation” (Title VIII): truck size and weight study including crash frequency and causes on NHS where overweight trucks are permitted, and infrastructure impacts; compilation of existing size and weight exemptions on the NHS
“Miscellaneous” (Title IX): study of detention time and HOS violations
Fatal Truck Crashes Down in 2009 but There
As the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) celebrates its 8th year as a partnership between Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) and Citizens for Reliable and Safety Highways (CRASH), we are pleased that recently released data by U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) showed a 20% reduction in fatalities in crashes involving large trucks in 2009. This statistic motivates the TSC to continue and enhance its national and statewide advocacy efforts to make more improvements to truck safety regulations and laws. The TSC would like to commend all of our volunteers on their collective efforts to improve truck safety and we encourage Secretary LaHood to continue his efforts to reduce fatalities and injuries on our highways.
Truck Safety Coalition Officials Named to Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee
ARLINGTON, VA (June 2, 2010)
A Watershed truck safety moment
Yesterday at the Sleep Apnea & Trucking Conference