Heavy Trucks: Appendix 8

Profile of State and Local Agency Implementation Efforts

Emphasis Area
Heavy Truck Safety

Strategy Name and Number
Strategy 12.1 G1: Safety Consultation with Carrier Safety Management.

Agency and Jurisdiction
Colorado Motor Carrier Advisory Council, consisting of the CO Department of Revenue Motor Carrier Services Division, CO Motor Carriers Association (industry trade association), the state office of the FMCSA, and several other state and local agencies.

Problem(s) Identified
The program began with a thorough analysis of truck crash statistics and other safety-related data. For a period of five years, the commercial vehicle crash rate in Colorado had remained static. Weld County, a large (~4,000 square mile) county located in the plains in the Northeastern region of the state, had one of the highest crash rates in the state, with increasing numbers of truck crashes, injuries, and fatalities reflecting the increasing population, traffic, and commercial vehicle activity in the county. Weld County, which includes Greeley, CO, was a rural, agricultural county that was rapidly changing to a more urban region. Among the key safety-related characteristics of Weld County were rural roads, high speeds, limited law enforcement outside of municipalities, significant traffic signal/stop sign running, rapidly increasing population and traffic volumes, influx of non-U.S. drivers, and, specifically, increasing congestion and crash rates on I-25, running north-south through the county. Sources of concern about high speeds included high posted speed limits on many roads (e.g., 75mph speed limit on I-25) as well as many vehicles exceeding posted speed limits on both Interstates and other highways.

Goals and Objectives Established
The Advisory Council decided to target Weld County for a comprehensive, 36-month crash reduction campaign which included enforcement, engineering, and education strategies. The intent was to implement, demonstrate, and evaluate the pilot program for Weld County, and then to expand successful elements of it to other counties and the entire state.

Description of Strategy Implemented
Multiple strategies have been implemented in the areas of enforcement, engineering, and education. These include:

  • Enforcement:
    • "Saturated Enforcement" for vehicle inspections and compliance reviews.
    • Training of local police officers as CVSA inspectors.
    • Compliance reviews for all new carriers.
    • Greater enforcement of highway speeds, red light running, and other traffic violations.
  • Engineering:
    • Improved signage.
    • Speed limit reduction on I-25.
    • Improved highway shoulders.
    • Installation of lane edge rumble strips.
    • Provision of loading zones and truck parking areas.
  • Education:
    • Share the Road media campaign with the theme "Size Matters."
    • Public information campaign on traffic "hot spots" in Greeley.
    • Middle and high school highway safety instruction.
    • Safety manager circuit rider program.
    • Mentor program for new carriers.
    • Truck driver skills training classes.

Summary of Implementation Effort (Lessons Learned)
The above pilot program activities, and others, have been implemented over a 36-month period. A formal evaluation of the program has been conducted. The program has successfully mobilized a number of state, local, and industry organizations in pulling together to implement these interventions.

Two particularly important elements of the program have been the Safety Manager Circuit Rider Program and the Mentor Program for New Motor Carriers. Both of these initiatives are intended to provide free safety consultation to carriers, provided by their peers (other motor carriers) or by expert trucking safety consultants. Among the activities supporting these initiatives was a general industry survey of 450 motor carriers in Colorado, with associated interviews and site visits to 16 of the safest carriers by Colorado Motor Carriers Association officials. Safety benchmarks and "best practices" were identified, including carrier safety management practices relating to driver hiring and training, employee involvement in safety, communication, and corporate safety culture. A compendium of best fleet safety management practices is available to Colorado motor carriers.

A major rationale for the Safety Manager Circuit Rider Program is the fact that many small and new companies do not have a full-time safety manager or a well-established safety program. Under this program, funded by state and federal grants, experienced industry experts (e.g., retired fleet safety managers) travel around the state to visit motor carriers and provide their owners and managers with free consultation and information on improved safety management. Most of these companies could not afford such consultation if it were available only on a paid basis.

Consultation with fleets may address various areas of safety management, including carrier operations (e.g., staffing levels, equipment, driver files, and insurance); compliance with specific Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs); proactive measures to build a stronger safety program for the fleet; and driver management approaches, particularly in relation to recruiting/selection/hiring and safety performance evaluation and improvement. A case study of a carrier receiving Circuit Rider consultation, with a resulting positive outcome, is provided at the end of this profile.

The Mentor Program for New Carriers enlists the help of established, safe carriers in helping "the new guy" succeed from the safety standpoint. A new carrier is matched with an established safe carrier in the same area and with similar operations. The consultation, provided on a volunteer basis, provides assistance and advice on how to develop proactive and effective fleet safety management practices.

Summary of Results
The above pilot program was implemented and will be evaluated prior to expanding the program, or major elements of it, statewide.

Contact Person and Information
Points-of-contact in Colorado include Ms. Patricia Olsgard, Colorado Motor Carriers Association, (303)433-3375, and Ms. Stephanie Olson, CDOT Highway & Traffic Safety Division (303)757-9465.

Olsgard, P., Trostel, M., Bents, F.D., Gilmer, D. Colorado Truck Safety 2000: Truck Crash Causality Study. Proceedings of the International Truck & Bus Safety & Policy Symposium, Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee, and National Safety Council, Knoxville, Pp. 217-226, April 3-5, 2002.

Pilot project report; available from Ms. Patricia Olsgard of CMCA.

Case Study - Carrier Assisted by Colorado Circuit Rider Program
The carrier is a for-hire Interstate carrier transporting general freight, fresh produce, and meat into and from Weld County. The carrier had a "Conditional" rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at the time of assistance.

The carrier operates 26 power units with 27 drivers, and operates a repair facility. The person most responsible for the carrier's compliance is a new hire person with a background that supports compliance and safety. This position has suffered some turnover in the past.

A contact letter was sent and a follow up phone call to schedule time for an interview and review of this carrier's compliance. This carrier attended most the classes offered under the program.

At the interview the ownership and compliance person were present along with a senior member from dispatch. Several areas of concern were discovered in light of a compliance review that was scheduled within the next month from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Findings & corrective actions included:

Part 391 Qualifications of Drivers
Assessment: It was clear to see in the interim period of compliance persons that Driver Qualification files were in need of assistance. The long-term drivers files were complete, but several of the new hire drivers files failed to meet the requirements of this part.

Corrective action: The Circuit Rider provided samples of Driver Qualification files and drivers were brought in to complete their portion. The Circuit Rider assisted in background check, and provided motor vehicle records. Once the new hire driver files were complete, the carrier along with the Circuit Rider audited all Driver Qualification files.

Part 382 Drug and Alcohol Use and Testing
Assessment: This part was absent from the new hire drivers in regards to Pre-Employment testing. The carrier had a third party provider that was never contacted when new drivers were hired.

Corrective action: All drivers who never received a Pre-Employment drug screen were contacted and sent in to the provider; result forms were placed in the Driver Qualification files. At the time of assistance this carrier met the minimum requirements of part 382.301 and part 382.305 for random testing. The question of record retention part 382.401 was discussed and the Circuit Rider provided sample drug and alcohol files and assisted with a program to meet the requirements of this part.

Part 396 Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance
Assessment: As this carrier provided 90% of repairs and maintenance to its fleet of trucks, and employed its own mechanics, much time was spent over looking this section, as the carrier had a high out-of-service rate on its equipment. The ownership of the company was interested in the procedure involving how inspection reports are recorder from individual states to the federal government. It seemed that many of the inspections with no violations were not on the motor carrier profile, but the carrier had the hard copies from the drivers.

Corrective action: Using the current Motor Carrier Management Information System Carrier Profile, the Circuit Rider and the carrier matched up all inspection from the last 2 years using the supplied hard copies. It was discovered that a small percentage of inspections performed were not reflected in the profile. A call was placed to the Colorado State Patrol Motor Carrier Section. Inspections that were "hand written" took longer to report than inspections that were electronically generated. A list of inspections was forwarded to the Motor Carrier Section for review.

Part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers
Assessment: This carrier had in place a system to monitor all driver logs, and offered coaching to its drivers. The carrier also used a system of dispatch that supports compliance in this section. The carrier requested a class on the new Hours of Service (effective in January 2004), and a class on the new rules was scheduled with the Circuit Rider.

Following this consultation and associated safety management changes, this carrier received a Federal compliance audit and earned a "Satisfactory" rating from the FMCSA.