Keep on truckin’
On June 13, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development held a hearing about our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I was confounded to hear Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, decry the dire condition of highways and bridges throughout our state since she was the lead proponent of allowing behemoth 100,000-pound trucks on our interstate.
In January 2011, I urged members of the Maine delegation to stop the 20-year congressional pilot program allowing these overweight trucks on our roads. Despite clear and compelling facts demonstrating the safety risks and damage to our infrastructure, the program was enacted.
Now, Collins says that Maine’s roads and bridges are among the worst in the nation’s rural transportation system. Well, the senator should know that large, heavy trucks are a major cause of bridge and pavement damage.
The Maine Department of Transportation estimates that to maintain state highways and bridges in good repair would cost $335 million annually — $110 million above current levels. The senator should have considered the cost to Maine’s citizens and taxpayers before supporting legislation to allow more big trucks on I-95.
Aside from the damage to our infrastructure, large truck crashes continue to claim about 4,000 lives annually. In 1993, my teenage son, Jeff, and three friends were killed by a large truck while stopped in their car in the breakdown lane of the Maine Turnpike. The chance of surviving a serious crash with a large truck is slim, and now with 100,000-pound trucks, it’s even slimmer.
To read the TSC’s letter to the ATA’s Bill Graves and Dan England, click here.
NTSB recommends 10-year employment database for truck drivers
By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor
A fatal crash involving a truck and an Amtrak train in Nevada in 2011 could significantly affect the employment screening process for truck drivers if NTSB gets its way.
Citing the crash that killed six people including the truck driver on June 24, 2011, near Reno, the National Transportation Safety Board rolled out a list of recommendations to agencies including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Topping the list, NTSB Administrator Deborah Hersman is urging the FMCSA to create a national database for commercial drivers and require motor carriers to screen 10 years of driver employment history prior to hiring.
Hersman framed the three-part employment screening request, along with an additional recommendation on brake monitoring, in a letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, dated Jan. 28, 2013.
NTSB investigators noted that the driver of the truck that collided with the Amtrak train, Lawrence Valli, 43 of Winnemucca, NV, had an “erratic” employment history including citations and crashes.
In addition, Valli was reportedly using a cellphone just before the crash, and was within 300 feet of the intersection before applying his brakes.
The NTSB noted that 11 of the 16 brake drums on the Peterbilt that Valli was driving were “worn beyond specified limits.” That led to a citation of Valli’s employer, John Davis Trucking, for failing to provide a safe vehicle.
Hersman requested that Ferro take action on the four specific recommendations within 90 days.
OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said current and future truckers have reason to be concerned with the recommendations for what they do, and what they don’t do. He says technology and regulations – some that show negligible or no safety benefit – are no substitute for adequate training and experience behind the wheel.
“People want to latch onto this ‘gotcha’ mentality that technology and enforcement can improve safety, yet we’re not even requiring people entering this industry to have any training or any assurance that they can be safe and successful behind the wheel,” Spencer said.
“A database that would keep records on millions of drivers for 10 years would be a big undertaking,” he adds. “While I’m assuming it’s their belief that it might have an improvement on safety, I would assume that most of the drivers being entered into the database would not have anything like 10 years of experience. A driver without experience is not likely to have any blemishes on their records, but that is not an assurance that they would be safe drivers.”
Specifically, the four NTSB recommendations to FMCSA are as follows:
The FMCSA already collects data from roadside inspections as well as crash reports and stores that information in the Motor Carrier Management Information System. The MCMIS database populates the Pre-Employment Screening Program and data is also used in the CSA enforcement program. The agency currently maintains records for five years on crashes and three years on violations on drivers.
“From what we’re hearing from our members, the data in that system is not even close to accurate,” Spencer points out.
Should the FMCSA respond with proposed rule change for a 10-year database, the public will get a chance to comment. OOIDA would file comments, Spencer said.
Copyright © OOIDA
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.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program:
Separating CSA Fiction from the Facts – to read more, click here.
Steve 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.
GREAT VICTORY FOR TRUCK SAFETY! To read more click here.
Truck 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.
TSC and safety groups urge Conferees to negotiate a transprotation bill that includes truck safety provisions. Read here.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED NOW TO CALL U.S. SENATORS IN SUPPORT OF Continue reading “Senate – Mexican Trucks”
Improved CMV Safety (Title II): evaluation of crashworthiness standards for CMVs; improving accountability of foreign MCs
ARLINGTON, VA (June 2, 2010)
By Jill Dunn
Three headline-making fatal truck accidents occurred in a 15-hour period this week, killing 19 people, though one accident may have been caused by a four-wheeler.
By ROBERT IMRIE / Associated Press Wausau Bureau
By RON WORD
LAKE BUTLER, Fla. Jan 25, 2006 (AP) Continue reading “Florida Crash Kills 7 Children”