Heavy Trucks: Appendix 3
Profile of State and Local Agency Implementation Efforts
12.1 - Heavy Truck Crashes
Strategy Name and Number
Strategy 22.214.171.124: Conduct Post-crash Inspections to Identify Major Problems and Problem Conditions.
Agency and Jurisdiction
Michigan State Police
In 1996, Michigan was identified as one of the ten states with the highest number of fatal crashes involving commercial motor vehicles. The Michigan State Police developed two grant proposals to address the problem in unique and innovative ways. One proposal involved collecting needed causation data relating to fatal commercial vehicle crashes. This resulted in the establishment of the Fatal Accident Complaint Team (FACT).
Goals and Objectives Established
The goal of the FACT program was to collect meaningful causation data relating to all fatal truck and bus crashes, and to use findings from the data to develop crash countermeasures.
Description of Strategy Implemented
Program personnel were notified by local enforcement whenever a fatal truck crash occurred, and crash investigators (existing state motor carrier enforcement personnel) rushed to the crash scene, usually arriving within an hour of notification. Interviews of surviving drivers and others, and in-depth investigation of the crash was conducted. Extensive data on the truck were compiled, including detailed information on the tractor, the trailer, and the cargo. Information on the truck driver included physical condition, training and experience, recent sleep history, use of drugs and medications, hours of service, company policies trip origin and destination, restraint use, and motor carrier characteristics. Additional data were compiled on the crash itself, including detailed information on truck condition and damage. Data were also collected on the other driver(s) and vehicle(s) in the crash, and finally on the events leading up to the crash. A North American Level One inspection was conducted.
Analyses of data revealed specific vehicle problems that appeared to be contributing to fatal crash risk. Also of interest is whether other factors, e.g., some commodities or some routes, are at higher risk of crashes and should be examined for possible modifications.
Summary of Implementation Effort (Lessons Learned)
Support for the program is needed from local law enforcement agencies responsible for notifying FACT of fatal crashes. Without voluntary notification, FACT investigators were not able to respond, resulting in missing data on those cases.
Because Michigan ranked in the top ten states for number of fatal truck crashes, the federal government provided $100,000 to be used to address the problem.
Costs were not a major problem, in that no new personnel were required. The program operated by expanding the duties of existing personnel, both local and state. However, the additional responsibilities were not significant, and eventually program participants became program enthusiasts. The major program cost was for data analysis.
Summary of Results
Data from the study were reported by Powers and Irwin (1999) and Powers (2002). Approximately 100 cases per year were investigated by the team. Data on crash characteristics were collected, as well as more in-depth reconstructive data on crash causes.
Contact Person and Information
Capt. Robert R. Powers, Motor Carrier Division, Michigan State Police, (517)336-6447.