NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List Released

In 2015, 4,067 people were killed in large truck crashes in the United States

NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List Released

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its annual Top 10 Most Wanted List (attached), which represents the agency’s advocacy priorities. TSC agrees with the NTSB on these much-need safety changes, six of which relate to trucking. We have seen progress on some of these issues, but there is still more work to be done.

Reduce Fatigue-Related Crashes

  • Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Final Rule was released in December 2015, which requires ELDs on trucks.
  • TSC has been and continues to work towards enhancing Hours-of-Service requirements and reducing truckers’ allowable hours.
  • TSC supports rulemaking that would require truck drivers to undergo sleep apnea screening.

Promote Availability of Collision Avoidance Technologies in Highway Vehicles

  • TSC wants mandatory installation of forward collision avoidance and mitigation (F-CAM) technology on all new large trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more.
  • NHTSA estimates show that:
    • Current generation F-CAM systems can prevent more than 2,500 crashes each year.
    • Future generation F-CAM systems could prevent more than 6,300 crashes annually.
  • Research indicates that every year a full implementation of F-CAM is delayed:
    • 166 people will unnecessarily die.
    • 8,000 individuals will suffer injuries.

End Substance Impairment in Transportation

  • TSC is awaiting a final rule for a drug clearinghouse, which would create a federal database to track and store information about CDL holders who have drug and alcohol-related incidents on their records.
  • The use of any substance, including Schedule II drugs, that impairs cognitive or motor ability should be monitored or eliminated for operators of commercial motor vehicles.

Require Medical Fitness for Duty (See Reduce Fatigue and End Substance Impairment sections)

  • 69% of long-haul truck drivers (LHTDs) are obese compared to 31% in the adult working population.
  • 17% of LHTDs are morbidly obese.

Expand Use of Recorders to Enhance Safety

  • Event Data Recorders (EDR) are devices that record information related to highway vehicle crash.
  • EDRs record technical vehicle and occupant information for a brief period of time before, during and after a crash. For example, EDRs may record speed, steering, braking, acceleration, seatbelt use, and, in the event of a crash, force of impact and whether airbags deployed.
  • TSC supports standardizing and mandating EDRs in all large trucks.

Disconnect from Deadly Distractions

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publish a final rule in 2010 that prohibits texting by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers while operating in interstate commerce and imposes sanctions, including civil penalties and disqualification from operating CMVs in interstate commerce.
  • Recent research commissioned by FMCSA shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) is 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers who engage in texting while driving than for those who do not.

NTSB 2016 Top 10 Most Wanted

Link to NTSB Website: http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/mwl/Pages/default.aspx

 

Truck driver destroys historic bridge by driving her 30-ton trailer across it – because she got her math wrong and didn’t know she was FIVE TIMES over the weight limit

Highlights:

  • Mary Lambright, 23, made the 1880 historic bridge collapse on Christmas Day in Paoli, Indiana
  • Iron bridge had a weight limit of six tons – her vehicle and trailer weighed about 60,000 pounds – or 30 tons – at crash
  • Lambright told police she didn’t know how many pounds were in six tons 
  • No injuries, but the bridge collapsed under the weight and was destroyed

A historic iron bridge was destroyed when a 23-year woman drove her 30-ton trailer across it – because she got her math wrong and did not realize she was five times over the 6-ton weight limit.

Mary Lambright was attempting to haul a 53-foot box trailer containing 43,000 pounds of bottled water to a Walmart parking lot with her Volvo truck on Christmas Day in Paoli, Indiana.

She drove onto the iron 1880 structure and immediately hit the top of the bridge as her truck was too high. The structure then buckled the under the pressure and collapsed at around 12 noon.

Lambright, of Fredericksburg, told police she knew the iron bridge had a weight limit of six tons and wasn’t equipped for semis due to a sign that was posted, but said she didn’t know how many pounds were in six tons.

Lambright and her 17-year-old cousin who was in the passenger seat managed to escape unharmed.

‘She’s a very inexperienced driver,’ Paoli Police Chief Randy Sanders said of Lambright explaining that she had left the Amish order a year or so ago, reports Herald Times Online.

The Amish use nonmotorized modes of transportation so her experience could be limited to horse-and-buggy transportation.

Most Amish are not permitted to drive motor vehicles but are allowed to hire outsiders — known as ‘English’ — to drive them.

Sanders says Lambright, was an independent driver, hauling the bottled water in a leased truck from Penske for Louisville Logistics.

According to police, Lambright was attempting to make a delivery at a Walmart when she missed a turning, reports WBIW.

She said she tried to turn around in a parking lot, but it was not possible because there was equipment in the way.

She told police she did not feel confident in backing up the truck so she then attempted to cross the iron bridge.

Lambright was traveling more than 30 miles per hour in order to get the vehicle stuck that far on the bridge, according to police.

Police cited her for reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, a class B misdemeanor; disregarding a traffic control device, a class B infraction; and overweight on posted bridge.

She could be fined for the infractions and Louisville Logistics could also face legal action.

Lambright received her Commercial Drivers License (CDL) endorsement in May.

The French Lick Fire Department wrote on Facebook: ‘Bridge collapse in Paoli with no injuries reported.

‘What a sad day for the Old Iron Bridge located on South Gospel St.’

Although some Facebook commenters blamed the driver, many others blamed the school that certified her and the company that allowed her to get behind the wheel. 

One person wrote: ‘I would look into the trucking school or trucking company that sponsored her training.

‘How do you go thru CDL school and get certified and not know the very basics of weight and/or the weight of even your empty truck and trailer which is still too heavy?’ 

Rulemaking to Improve Rear Impact Guards and Protections

This NPRM proposes to upgrade Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 223, “Rear impact guards,” and FMVSS No. 224, “Rear impact protection,” which together address rear underride protection in crashes into trailers and semitrailers. NHTSA is proposing to adopt requirements of the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) for underride guards (CMVSS No. 223, “Rear impact guards,”) that became effective in 2007. The CMVSS No. 223 requirements are intended to provide rear impact guards with sufficient strength and energy absorption capability to protect occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars impacting the rear of trailers at 56 km/h (35 mph). As the current requirements in FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224 were developed with the intent of providing underride crash protection to occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars in impacts up to 48 km/h (30 mph) into the rear of trailers, increasing the robustness of the trailer/guard design such that it will be able to withstand crash velocities up to 56 km/h (35 mph) represents a substantial increase in the stringency of FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224.

This NPRM also proposes to adopt Transport Canada’s definition of “rear extremity” to define where on a trailer aerodynamic fairings are to be located to avoid posing a safety hazard in rear underride crashes.

Rear underride crashes are those in which the front end of a vehicle impacts the rear of a generally larger vehicle, and slides under the rear-impacted vehicle. Underride may occur to some extent in collisions in which a small passenger vehicle crashes into the rear end of a large trailer or semi-trailer because the bed and chassis of the impacted vehicle is higher than the hood of the passenger vehicle. In excessive underride crashes, there is “passenger compartment intrusion” (PCI) as the passenger vehicle underrides so far that the rear end of the struck vehicle collides with and enters the passenger compartment of the striking passenger vehicle. PCI can result in severe injuries and fatalities to occupants contacting the rear end of the struck vehicle. An underride guard prevents PCI when it engages the striking end of the smaller vehicle and stops the vehicle from sliding too far under the struck vehicle’s bed and chassis.

The occupant crash protection features built into today’s passenger vehicles are able to provide high levels of occupant protection in 56 km/h (35 mph) frontal crashes. (1) If guards were made stronger to remain in place and prevent PCI in crashes of severities of up to 56 km/h (35 mph), the impacting vehicle’s occupant protection technologies could absorb enough of the crash forces resulting from the impact to significantly reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury to the occupants of the colliding vehicle.

Link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA_FRDOC_0001-1548

After cycling deaths, a plea for truck safety guards

Some of Dustin Weigl’s fondest memories of his older brother, Christopher, include their long-winded arguments about which to spread first, peanut butter or jelly, on a sandwich.

But that banter between brothers ended in 2012, when Christopher, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student, was killed by a truck as he rode his bicycle in Boston.

“My world was absolutely shattered in a way that can never really be repaired,” Weigl said. His voice cracking at times, he testified before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation Wednesday in support of two bills that would require the installation of protective side guards on certain large vehicles. He said the safety gear could have saved his brother’s life.

“My family believes that this whole collision could have been prevented,” Weigl said. “If side guards had been installed on this truck, Christopher probably would have survived.”

The bills were filed by Representative Daniel Hunt and Senator William Brownsberger, who say bicyclist fatalities often occur when large vehicles take sharp turns and riders fall beneath the vehicles’ rear wheels.

Side guards between the front and back wheels help push cyclists away from the vehicle. The guards can be installed on existing trucks or built into new vehicles.

The lawmakers said side guards and convex mirrors, which would give drivers better visibility, could help reduce bicyclist and pedestrian deaths.

“It’s the appropriate response to a very real issue that the city and the state is facing,” Hunt said.

At least five people died in crashes with trucks in Boston in the past four years, city officials testified at the hearing.

The latest was in August, when Cambridge resident Anita Kurmann was killed while bicycling near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street. The truck had neither side guards nor convex mirrors, officials said.

“If you look at communities around the Commonwealth, these tragedies are playing out in Cambridge, Brockton, Malden, Northampton, and Wellesley, just to name a few,” said Kris Carter, cochairman of Boston’s New Urban Mechanics office. Carter testified while sitting alongside Weigl.

Boston passed a side-guard ordinance in 2014, following a successful pilot program. Billed as a US first, it requires all large city-contracted vehicles to be fitted with side guards.

But Carter said trucks that are not contracted by the city aren’t required to have the guards, and the city doesn’t have authority to expand the requirement to other trucks.

“That’s where we look to your leadership,” Carter told the panel. “We look to your leadership in recognizing a simple fix that can greatly improve the streets across the Commonwealth for the people of Massachusetts, and set an example for the rest of the country.”

Members of the Boston Cyclists Union and Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition also spoke in favor of the bills.

“We can potentially prevent these incidents from happening,” said Barbara Jacobson, program director at the coalition, “rather than dealing with the after-effects of tragedy.”

The committee also heard testimony about several other bills designed to keep vulnerable road users safe.

One, also filed by Brownsberger, would make it illegal for a motorist to double-park or to idle in lanes designated specifically for cyclists. A violation of the law would lead to a fine of $100.

Another bill would require at least 3 feet of space between cars passing bicyclists or joggers, and even more distance if the car is traveling faster than 30 miles per hour.

Meghan McGrath, an emergency medical doctor who works at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, said her husband was riding in a bike lane last year when he was cut off by a car, causing him to fall off of the bicycle, split his helmet open, and break his hand.

“I feel strongly that we need better rules to protect vulnerable road users,” McGrath said. “Riding a bike or jogging should not mean taking your life in your hands.”

Brianna Arnold, a political science major at Stonehill College whose uncle was killed last week while riding his bicycle in Worcester, agreed.

Tears welling in her eyes, Arnold recalled her uncle’s love for biking.

“The family feels hopeless after such an accident happens,” she said. “Maybe the people . . . listening could hear what happened, and hopefully choose to make those changes that would save someone else’s life.”

Steve Annear can be reached
at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.

Link to Article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/01/06/bike-advocates-headed-state-house-for-safety-hearing/eqaZPieLFQ4xnpKTWiJkqK/story.html