Descriptions of Strategies
To reduce the number of heavy-truck fatality crashes, the objectives should include
Explanation of the Objectives
Because truck crashes result from the interaction of so many factors, reducing crash probability requires comprehensive efforts addressing programs affecting truck drivers, other roadway users, vehicle condition, carrier operational practices, highway design and characteristics, and traffic records.
Commercial Driver Fatigue
In a major national forum on truck safety, the primary safety issue identified was driver fatigue. The reasons for driver fatigue are many, and only some of them may be addressed through state programs. However, states can take steps to increase the efficiency of use of existing parking space for drivers needing rest and/or required to stop driving because of hours-of-service regulations; states can also modify existing space and create new space to provide additional parking facilities. Rumble strips can alert tired drivers that they are leaving the traffic lane.
Commercial Driver’s License
The commercial driver’s license (CDL) established national standards for acquiring a license to operate heavy trucks. It has been fully implemented since April 1992. Although the CDL has achieved major improvements, e.g., reducing the problem of multiple licensing and consolidating driver history information, problems remain. The administration of the test can be improved, and measures can be taken to reduce fraud and improve the quality of both state and third-party testers.
Improved Driver Behavior
Most truck fatalities occur in multivehicle crashes, and in 2000, 78 percent of all heavy-truck–related fatalities occurred to occupants of the other vehicles. In crashes involving a heavy truck and a passenger vehicle (80 percent of all fatal truck crashes), it appears that the principal culpability most often lies with the driver of the other vehicle. Consequently, some effort needs to focus on drivers in general to reduce truck fatalities. Drivers need better information on how to share the road with large trucks.
Heavy trucks generally accumulate high mileage. In 2000, combination trucks averaged almost 65,000 miles, compared with almost 12,000 for passenger vehicles. State vehicle inspection programs (and not all states have them) are designed for passenger cars and usually require inspection only once a year. Large trucks need to be inspected much more frequently. Roadside inspections invariably identify sizeable proportions of trucks that need to be taken out of service immediately because they are considered too hazardous to continue operating. In-depth inspection of trucks in fatal crashes indicates that about one-third would have been removed from service if inspected just prior to the crash.
Improved Road Design and Operations
Highway configuration can create hazards for some large trucks. Programs to identify and correct highway segments that pose significant hazards to trucks can reduce crashes. While making changes to the highway is costly, providing information to drivers concerning upcoming hazards and providing real-time feedback on excessive speed for safe maneuvering can be implemented at relatively low cost.
Enhanced Safety Data
Good data are the backbone to any successful highway safety program. Timely and accurate data are required to identify problems (with both vehicles and drivers), establish priorities, design interventions, evaluate countermeasures, and detect emerging problems. Important data on heavy trucks and their operators come from law enforcement, the judicial system, driver records, vehicle registration, and motor carrier records. Rapid entry and compilation of such data can greatly improve the detection of problems and enable immediate intervention.
Promotion of Industry Safety Initiatives
Unlike the general population of drivers and vehicles, commercial drivers and trucks operate under management supervision. Effective supervision of drivers and the vehicle fleet requires active and systematic management to ensure compliance with all federal and state regulations. Moreover, regulatory compliance is not the only goal. Many safety management activities of the most safety-conscious fleets go well beyond minimum compliance requirements. States and motor carrier industry leaders can work together to provide consultation to carrier safety managers on best practices to ensure both regulatory compliance and safety practices above and beyond compliance. One practice to enhance fleet safety above minimum required levels is the purchase and use of truck safety technologies (such as improved brakes) and advanced technologies (such as collision avoidance warning systems).
Exhibit V-1 lists the objectives and several related strategies for reducing heavy-truck crashes. Details of these strategies are covered in the following narrative. It should be noted that this list does not represent all possible strategies to reduce heavy-truck crashes. AASHTO has chosen to concentrate efforts in this guide on lower-cost strategies that can be implemented relatively quickly, including strategies that can be applied to “spots” on the roadway (e.g., curvature on off-ramps). With few exceptions, these lower-cost, quickly implementable strategies are covered in the following pages.
Types of Strategies
The strategies in this guide were identified from a number of sources, including the literature, contact with state and local agencies throughout the United States, and federal programs. Some of the strategies are widely used, while others are used at a state or even a local level. Some have been subjected to well-designed evaluations to prove their effectiveness. On the other hand, it was found that many strategies, including some that are widely used, have not been adequately evaluated.
The implication of the widely varying experience with these strategies, as well as the range of knowledge about their effectiveness, is that the reader should be prepared to exercise caution in many cases before adopting a particular strategy for implementation. To help the reader, the strategies have been classified into three types, each identified by letter throughout the guide:
Targeting the Objectives
The first objective, reducing truck driver fatigue, is related to growing recognition of its role in both truck and passenger vehicle crashes. Truck driver fatigue is of special concern, because of the long hours of driving demanded by trucking and greater potential hazard posed by the heavy vehicle. Recent investigations (e.g., Fleger et al., 2002; Chen et al., 2002) have documented the shortage of adequate parking spaces for truckers seeking rest along Interstate and other major highways. This shortage makes it difficult to comply with federal hours-of-service restrictions. Although the CDL program has achieved many of its goals, there remain serious problems in the overall licensing program, including truck driver training schools using copies of the knowledge test to “teach the test” to candidate drivers and lax, and even fraudulent, administration of tests by third-party testers and state examiners. Because the general driving public is a major contributor to truck crashes, some effort needs to be targeted at this population to communicate ways to share the road safely with trucks. Truck maintenance is a chronic problem, and vehicle defects contribute to serious crashes. Certain stretches of roadway, such as off-ramps or extended downgrades, are particularly hazardous for large trucks. Although making major changes in roadways may be prohibitively expensive, much less costly measures such as signs to alert drivers can reduce the risk. Trucks cross jurisdictional lines much more than other traffic, and enforcement of CDL requirements is much more effective if relevant data are made available quickly, accurately, and completely. Finally, industry—both the motor carrier industry and truck manufacturers—can play an active role in enhancing heavy-truck safety if encouraged and given good information on safety practices and equipment.
Related Strategies for Creating a Truly Comprehensive Approach
The strategies listed above, and described in detail below, are largely unique to this emphasis area. However, to create a truly comprehensive approach to the highway safety problems associated with this emphasis area, related strategies may be included as candidates in any program planning process. These are of five types:
A major problem for many truck drivers, particularly over-the-road drivers, is finding a place to stop and rest at night, as well as for short periods during the day. Most states have existing space that could be used for additional truck parking during time periods that the space is not being used for its original intended purposes. Rest area spaces designed for passenger vehicles are usually underutilized during late night hours and could be made available to truckers seeking rest. Likewise, truck weigh stations that are not in use could be made available to truckers. Modifications to make such facilities available to truckers will not provide sufficient parking to meet the full needs of truckers, but they offer relatively inexpensive ways to quickly address the shortage of truck parking spaces.
Tennessee conducted an analysis of trucks parked adjacent to the Interstate highway and involved in crashes either while parked or when moving from a parked location along the Interstate, an Interstate ramp, or a rest area ramp. Tennessee found that, although such crashes are relatively rare, they have a much higher likelihood of resulting in fatality (5.3-fold) and a somewhat higher probability of injury (1.27-fold, Wegmann and Chatterjee, 1999).
Although truck parking space shortages are evident to any traveler on certain major Interstate highways, the dimensions of the problem were not established until 1996, when two reports were published documenting the severe shortage of parking spaces in both public and private facilities (Trucking Research Institute, 1996a; 1996b). The reports estimated that more than 28,000 additional parking spaces were needed nationwide. Three groups were surveyed—truck drivers at public and private rest areas, motor carrier executives, and truck stop operators. It was found that more than 90 percent of commercial drivers surveyed felt there was a shortage of parking facilities, especially for long-term or overnight parking. Drivers also expressed a preference for private facilities (truck stops) rather than public rest areas, citing both security concerns and the availability of amenities such as food and shower facilities. Motor carrier executives also believe there is a shortage of longer-term parking facilities, reporting that their drivers have to find places to park and sleep at shipper or consignee locations, shopping center parking lots, and exit and entry ramps to Interstates. However, truck stop operators are much less likely to recognize a problem. Nearly 7 in 10 respondents said there is no shortage of public rest area parking for truckers. All respondents reported regional differences, with the Northeast considered to have the greatest shortage. Cost and land availability pose major barriers to truck stop expansion.
In June 1999, the FHWA conducted a rest area forum in Atlanta, Georgia. There were more than 70 attendees representing various government, industry, and driver groups. Proceedings of the conference were published in December 1999 (Hamilton, 1999). A variety of issues were addressed, including safety and security, comparisons of commercial truck stops with public rest areas, alternative parking sites, funding issues, time limits, and quality of rest parking services. Participants made a number of specific suggestions for improvement of truck rest parking, some of which are discussed below.
More recently, in 2002, FHWA published two reports written in response to congressional direction to assess and analyze commercial truck parking demand and supply. In the first report, Fleger et al. (2002) conducted an inventory of public and commercial truck parking spaces on the National Highway System, developed a truck parking demand model, surveyed truck drivers on the problem, estimated parking demand, identified major parking deficiencies, and identified improvements recommended by state partnerships to mitigate the problem. In the second report, a commercial driver survey (Chen et al., 2002) revealed widespread driver dissatisfaction with many different rest parking elements. Exhibit V-2 provides a summary of major findings.
Increasing lengths of trucks plus trailers also compound the problem. Drivers of 75-foot car carriers report that they cannot fit into diagonal parking spaces designed for 45- or 53-foot trucks (Wegmann and Chatterjee, 2002). Even when they find a parking space, problems often develop. In another survey conducted by the OOIDA Foundation (1999), 15 percent of commercial driver respondents reported that they were awakened and told to drive on more than six times in the previous year. In some states, parking is limited to 2 or 3 hours, even when moving on would violate federal hours-of-service regulations. Almost three-fourths of respondents reported that this has happened to them. Furthermore, finding a space in a rest area does not necessarily allow restful sleep. Eighty-eight percent of the drivers expressed concern about robbery, with almost as many concerned about assault or theft. More than 10 percent report having been the victims of robbery in rest areas, and more than half say prostitutes have awakened them.
Private truck stops and public rest areas meet different needs, and both are needed. In the FHWA survey (Chen et al., 2002), drivers exhibited a strong preference for commercial truck stops for extended rest, meals, using phones, and performing minor maintenance. Public rest areas were preferred only for quick naps (2 hours or less) and for other quick stops like stops to use vending machines.
As noted above, drivers generally prefer commercial truck stops to public rest areas. The FHWA study of the adequacy of truck parking (Fleger et al., 2002) found that, according to driver preferences, the total demands for public and commercial rest parking were 23 percent and 77 percent, respectively. However, their inventory found that the actual number of spaces was about 10 percent public and 90 percent commercial. Thus, relative to spaces available, demand for truck rest parking at public rest areas is far more intense than that at commercial truck stops. Clearly, the inadequate number and quality of public rest parking for trucks undermines the quality of work life and contributes to fatigue for the nation’s truck drivers.
Among the many possible interventions to improve truck rest parking (Hamilton, 1999; Fleger et al., 2002; Chen et al., 2002) are the following:
The remainder of this section describes three possible strategies for overcoming fatigue: one to increase efficiency of use of existing parking spaces, one to create additional parking spaces, and one to incorporate rumble strips into new and existing roadways.
Drivers seeking a place to stop are rarely knowledgeable about space availability until they have actually driven into a rest area. If there are no spaces available, they are likely to “make” a space by parking on the exit ramp or in areas not designated for trucks. Knowledge about space availability prior to reaching the rest area would be helpful to drivers making decisions about whether to pull off the road in a given location.
Trombly (2003) reports a survey of state officials indicating that the provision of improved information on space availability to truckers is regarded as an improvement strategy of high potential effectiveness. The study suggests various ways that drivers can be better informed, including ways that real-time information on space availability can be provided.
On I-95, near the Virginia border, North Carolina is
using a solar-assisted changeable message sign (CMS) about a quarter mile
before the North Carolina Welcome Center. This sign is turned on when the
Welcome Center has no more parking spaces available. The message reads
“NC Welcome Center, Truck Parking Lot Full, Proceed to Next
The CMS includes a cell phone that enables remote access. Night custodial staff is trained to observe the truck parking lot. When it begins to fill up, they activate the computer to display the preprogrammed message on the CMS. This usually occurs about 10:30 to 11:00 p.m.; it is usually deactivated around 7:30 to 8:00 a.m.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is implementing this strategy on I-95 at the Virginia state line. A point of contact is Ms. Jennifer Pitts, Rest Area Program Coordinator, NCDOT Roadside Environmental Unit, (919) 733-2920.
In some places, even more efficient use of existing parking spaces will not solve the problem. There simply may not be enough parking spaces to meet the demand. For example, a study conducted by the University of Tennessee (Chatterjee and Wegmann, 2000) observed 1,224 large trucks parked at night along Tennessee’s Interstates and found that 470 (38 percent) were parked on ramps, shoulders, or other spaces not designated or intended for truck parking.
More spaces need to be created. As presented earlier in this chapter, a survey of drivers conducted by Chen et al. (2002) for the FHWA found that 48 percent of respondents felt that parking is rarely or almost never available at public rest areas. Only 9 percent of respondents reported being able to “almost always” or “frequently” find spaces in public rest areas. Trombly (2003) conducted a survey of state highway officials and found that expansion of existing rest areas was rated as one of improvement strategies with the highest potential for effectiveness. Tennessee’s studies indicated a need for nearly 1,500 spaces on Tennessee’s Interstates (Wegmann and Chatterjee, 1999). Kentucky determined that it needed more than 700 more parking spaces for truckers. Some modifications can be made to existing rest stations to create more parking places in the space available, as well as allowing nighttime truck parking in spaces used by passenger vehicles during the day. Kentucky also developed the concept of “Rest Havens,” whereby modifications are made to existing truck weigh stations to create additional parking spaces. Other possibilities include adding and/or opening of pullout areas and building entirely new rest areas.
Ideally, Rest Havens also include restrooms and vending machines. Clean restrooms help ensure that the overall facility is an attractive, quality location for drivers to rest.
The Rest Haven concept is one that can make optimal use of available space, but for this approach to work, truck drivers must be assured that their parking there will not subject them to increased probability of inspection, thus delaying them and increasing their risk of fines and/or being placed out-of-service.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
Appendix 1 is a state agency profile providing more information on the Kentucky Rest Haven initiative. NCHRP Synthesis of Highway Practice 317: Dealing with Truck Parking Demands (Trombly, 2003) includes 10 specific strategies for expanding and enhancing public facilities.
Factors influencing driver alertness include time of day (i.e., “circadian troughs” like 3:00 to 5:00 a.m.), amount of sleep, and time on task (hours driving) (Wylie et al., 1996). Many commercial drivers obtain far less sleep than desired for full alertness (Wylie et al., 1996). One of the signature effects of reduced alertness is a deterioration of lane keeping (Wierwille et al., 1994). Thus, single vehicle run-off-the-road crashes are typical of drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. Head-on crashes may also result in two-lane and multilane undivided highways. Rumble strips have been shown to be effective in reducing this risk on Interstate highways and are now being pilot tested on other types of roads. Although most fatigue-related crashes involve drivers of passenger vehicles, truck drivers may be especially benefited because of their long hours of driving and the necessity of frequent nighttime driving.
The use of rumble strips is discussed at length in the
guides addressing run-off-road crashes (Strategy 15.1) and head-on collisions (Strategy 18.1).
In 1986, Congress enacted legislation providing for
the commercial driver’s license (CDL), that is, a special license for
drivers operating large vehicles, transporting more than 15 passengers, or
carrying hazardous materials. The legislation established mandatory federal
standards for state licensing programs. These standards required that the
driver hold only one license and meet certain minimum standards for testing
and licensing. This legislation was implemented over a period of years, so
that all drivers of the affected vehicles were covered by spring 1992. The
Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 strengthened the earlier
legislation and established a new federal agency, the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration, to administer the program.
Even with strong federal legislation mandating CDL
requirements, there remain major problems with the program. Not all states
comply with all of the provisions of the CDL, especially when it comes to
Interstate reporting of infractions (FHWA, 1999a). Another serious concern
is the fraudulent issuing of licenses, either by state examiners or by
third-party testers. Because a CDL is, in effect, a license to hold a job,
both drivers and motor carriers may resort to extreme measures.
Surveys conducted by the American Association of Motor
Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) in 2000 also found that some states
routinely disregard some CDL program requirements. Of 10 states visited, 5
reported occurrences of not disqualifying commercial drivers due to
convictions received through the Commercial Driver License Information
System (CDLIS). Seven of the 10 states visited and 15 other states that
responded to AAMVA reported that their courts enable drivers to avoid
disqualification that technically should be implemented, through special
licenses or permits to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The
surveys uncovered other major problems as well.
Public health and safety in every state are placed at
risk if even a few states fail to meet federal CDL requirements. This is
because a CDL from one state allows a driver to operate in any other, and
heavy trucks typically operate across state lines.
Some states conduct careful monitoring of CDL testing,
whether by third parties or by their own examiners. Such monitoring can
reduce the incidence of licensing unqualified drivers.
Failure of states to fully implement all elements of
the CDL act could explain the negative results of a California study by
Hagge and Romanowicz (1996). Using intervention time-series analyses, these
authors found no evidence that California’s implementation of the
major provisions of the act in 1989 had any effect on subsequent
heavy-vehicle crash rates. However, not all of the provisions were
implemented, many drivers received waivers, and the commercial driver road
test used by California was found to be unreliable in a parallel study by
The need to strengthen the CDL program has been duly
recognized at the state and federal levels and in 2002 resulted in a joint
effort by AAMVA and FMCSA to reduce licensing and testing fraud by
implementing a comprehensive set of 14 initiatives. The strategies embedded
in these initiatives embrace and go well beyond the scope of the strategies
presented in this guide. As such, an administrative mechanism has already
been established to develop and implement the CDL enhancements proposed in
this guide. The 14 initiatives are summarized below, along with their
respective AAMVA staff contacts.
The above initiatives are in various stages of progress, and some are not due for completion until 2005.
Initiative 4 has the most relevance to the present
implementation guide because it directly relates to driver competency
assessment and the objective of reducing fraud among DMV and third-party
testers. In fact, the development of a “model program” or
“best practices” manual addresses the same problem and strategy
that are outlined in the following two strategies (12.1 B1 and 12.1 B2).
The knowledge test for CDL is lengthy and must cover
many different areas or domains. Knowledge test construction is extremely
difficult, so that usually only a few versions of a test in hard copy
exist. However, printed versions of the test can fall into the hands of
potential applicants. There is no way to totally prevent this from
happening, but some states are moving toward computerized administration of
knowledge tests, with randomized selection of questions, as well as
randomized answer choices, so that no two applicants are likely to receive
the same test. Even when not all licensing offices are equipped with
computer test administration capability so that some tests must be offered
in paper and pencil format, the computerized capabilities may allow the
examiner to print out hard copies, each of which is a unique combination of
test items and answer choices. The AAMVA has developed computerized testing
software and a pool of over 600 test items for state use in testing CDL
drivers. This system, which is currently in use or under consideration in
many states, can develop unique tests of randomly selected items for each
applicant. States that do not have automated testing capability can use the
software to generate paper tests that are changed every several weeks.
In 1986, Congress enacted legislation providing for the commercial driver’s license (CDL), that is, a special license for drivers operating large vehicles, transporting more than 15 passengers, or carrying hazardous materials. The legislation established mandatory federal standards for state licensing programs. These standards required that the driver hold only one license and meet certain minimum standards for testing and licensing. This legislation was implemented over a period of years, so that all drivers of the affected vehicles were covered by spring 1992. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 strengthened the earlier legislation and established a new federal agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to administer the program.
Even with strong federal legislation mandating CDL requirements, there remain major problems with the program. Not all states comply with all of the provisions of the CDL, especially when it comes to Interstate reporting of infractions (FHWA, 1999a). Another serious concern is the fraudulent issuing of licenses, either by state examiners or by third-party testers. Because a CDL is, in effect, a license to hold a job, both drivers and motor carriers may resort to extreme measures.
Surveys conducted by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) in 2000 also found that some states routinely disregard some CDL program requirements. Of 10 states visited, 5 reported occurrences of not disqualifying commercial drivers due to convictions received through the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS). Seven of the 10 states visited and 15 other states that responded to AAMVA reported that their courts enable drivers to avoid disqualification that technically should be implemented, through special licenses or permits to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The surveys uncovered other major problems as well.
Public health and safety in every state are placed at risk if even a few states fail to meet federal CDL requirements. This is because a CDL from one state allows a driver to operate in any other, and heavy trucks typically operate across state lines.
Some states conduct careful monitoring of CDL testing, whether by third parties or by their own examiners. Such monitoring can reduce the incidence of licensing unqualified drivers.
Failure of states to fully implement all elements of the CDL act could explain the negative results of a California study by Hagge and Romanowicz (1996). Using intervention time-series analyses, these authors found no evidence that California’s implementation of the major provisions of the act in 1989 had any effect on subsequent heavy-vehicle crash rates. However, not all of the provisions were implemented, many drivers received waivers, and the commercial driver road test used by California was found to be unreliable in a parallel study by Clark (1995).
The need to strengthen the CDL program has been duly recognized at the state and federal levels and in 2002 resulted in a joint effort by AAMVA and FMCSA to reduce licensing and testing fraud by implementing a comprehensive set of 14 initiatives. The strategies embedded in these initiatives embrace and go well beyond the scope of the strategies presented in this guide. As such, an administrative mechanism has already been established to develop and implement the CDL enhancements proposed in this guide. The 14 initiatives are summarized below, along with their respective AAMVA staff contacts.
The above initiatives are in various stages of progress, and some are not due for completion until 2005.
Initiative 4 has the most relevance to the present implementation guide because it directly relates to driver competency assessment and the objective of reducing fraud among DMV and third-party testers. In fact, the development of a “model program” or “best practices” manual addresses the same problem and strategy that are outlined in the following two strategies (12.1 B1 and 12.1 B2).
The knowledge test for CDL is lengthy and must cover many different areas or domains. Knowledge test construction is extremely difficult, so that usually only a few versions of a test in hard copy exist. However, printed versions of the test can fall into the hands of potential applicants. There is no way to totally prevent this from happening, but some states are moving toward computerized administration of knowledge tests, with randomized selection of questions, as well as randomized answer choices, so that no two applicants are likely to receive the same test. Even when not all licensing offices are equipped with computer test administration capability so that some tests must be offered in paper and pencil format, the computerized capabilities may allow the examiner to print out hard copies, each of which is a unique combination of test items and answer choices. The AAMVA has developed computerized testing software and a pool of over 600 test items for state use in testing CDL drivers. This system, which is currently in use or under consideration in many states, can develop unique tests of randomly selected items for each applicant. States that do not have automated testing capability can use the software to generate paper tests that are changed every several weeks.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
Georgia is in the process of implementing this strategy, and Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York are using it statewide. A point of contact in Georgia is Mickey Rawls (678-413-8495). The Pennsylvania point of contact is Pam Gabriel (717-705-2418). A point of contact for AAMVA is Kevin Lewis (703-908-2823). California has been considering this strategy but has not yet adopted it due to operational and budgetary constraints. Instead, it uses three equivalent test forms developed from a large item pool and randomizes the sequence of items on each printed form quarterly. It is believed that this reduces, but does not eliminate, the problem of applicants memorizing specific test items. Points of contact for California are Martha Boudreau (916-657-8267) and Robert Hagge (916-657-7030).
Possession of a CDL is essential to hold certain kinds of employment. As such, it is highly prized, and some drivers, as well as some motor carriers, are willing to pay premium prices to see that CDLs are issued. According to AAMVA (1999a), most states have provisions for third-party testers. Many states do not cap the fee that may be charged, and average fees may run as high as $150. Given the importance of the CDL and the amount of money involved, there is room for fraudulent issuance of licenses in the absence of quality control (FMCSA, 2000b). Federal regulations require that third-party testers be audited at least once a year, but fraudulent issuance of licenses has been detected in several states. Not all states are adhering to federal requirements. To ensure the integrity of the licensing process, states need to have in place procedures that closely monitor both state examiners and third-party testers.
Although there are no state or national statistics quantifying the magnitude of the problem, the documented cases and anecdotal evidence suggest that fraud involving third-party testers and/or DMV personnel is cause for concern. In Pennsylvania, for example, a large number of third-party test providers were detected accepting bribes in connection with the training, testing, and licensing of truck drivers. The problem required the state to retest over 1,000 CDL drivers in order to certify their competency and withdraw licensure from those who could not legitimately pass the skill and road test. In response, Pennsylvania instituted a number of truck safety initiatives to reduce third-party testing fraud. The program consists of the following strategies:
The covert surveillance is performed by a private firm contracted by the state. An innovative feature of the covert surveillance is the use of undercover operatives posing as applicants and testing observers in follow-up vehicles. The authority to use covert observation is explicitly stated in the contractual certification of each third-party tester.
As noted above, AAMVA and FMCSA have been working to develop a “best practices manual” to assist the states in detecting and controlling fraud among both third-party and DMV test administrators. This manual is not yet published or otherwise available, but it is possible to outline here some of the concepts and issues that ultimately need to be addressed in developing a comprehensive program of fraud reduction and test quality control.
Test Auditing Standards. The use of covert observation as in the Pennsylvania program is a highly innovative approach to fraud detection that is promising. However, its expense and operational complexity might limit its use in some states. It therefore should be considered as one element of a comprehensive auditing model, as it is in Pennsylvania. The current federal audit regulations require that each certified third-party tester be audited once a year. The regulations do not specify the technical requirements of the audit with respect to sample size (number of tests reviewed) or the method of detecting statistical and psychometric aberrations in the audited tests or in other indices that might be indicative of fraudulent or sloppy test procedures.
California operates an employer testing program (ETP), since only third-party testers affiliated with a commercial driver employer are certified to give the test to their applicants. Approximately 1,000 ETP providers operate in California and roughly 7 percent of all commercial drivers are tested by ETP providers. These ETP providers frequently offer training, which means that the trainer and test examiner are not always independent and can be the same person. Pennsylvania licenses 60 percent of its truck drivers through third-party testers, but the third-party testers do not have to be employers; most of Pennsylvania’s third-party testers also provide the training.
In most disciplines, it is normally not desirable for training and competency-certification to be performed by the same individual because the trainer, in a sense, ends up evaluating his or her own training and may also have an interest in pleasing the client. However, this tendency might be lessened when the training and testing are done by an employer because the employer has a strong vested and corporate interest in not employing incompetent drivers.
California audits each ETP provider once a year, and roughly 10 percent of the test score sheets are randomly selected for inspection in each audit. Over the past 3 years, approximately 32 sanctions per year have been taken against ETP providers, but there have been no instances of legally verifiable fraud. (However, there have been fraud cases involving DMV personnel.)
Like most states, California has no quantitative management information system or statistical quality control database for quickly detecting scoring variations and patterns among either DMV examiners or ETP providers/examiners. California, however, has performed periodic psychometric reliability and validity evaluations of its passenger vehicle road test. The California commercial driver skill and road tests are patterned after an objective route sampling and scoring procedure used for the passenger skill and road test and on the so-called Essex test described by Mackie et al. (1989). Since this approach has been found to be valid and reliable, the DMV believes that the current commercial road test is psychometrically sound. However, generalizing this deduction to tests administered by non-DMV staff involves a number of inferences and assumptions.
California has performed statistical analyses of the comparative crash rates of ETP-licensed and DMV-licensed commercial drivers (Chapman, 2003). It was found that ETP-tested drivers had 22 percent more fatal/injury crashes during the 2-year period following testing—a difference that was highly significant statistically (p < 0.001). However, Chapman properly cautions that the difference could be attributable to a number of confounding variables that were not available for analysis, most notably driving mileage and type of exposure.
The above analysis was made possible by the availability of the necessary data elements on the California driver record file, and the approach could be extended to examine test scoring indices and patterns among DMV and third-party testers if all test results were computerized and made linkable to individual driver records. In addition to identifying providers and testers with suspect score patterns, the existence of such a system could provide some deterrence against shoddy and fraudulent test practices. The major requirements for such a system would be converting test results to electronic format and establishing a common identification linkage across record systems.
It is possible to tabulate test volume and fail rate counts without linking data elements to individual driver records. However, most states do not currently maintain test score information that can be easily tabulated by individual state examiners or third-party providers. The 1997 survey by AAMVA (1999a) reported that the majority of states were unable to provide counts of either the volume or failure rate of CDL road tests administered by either state or third-party providers. Only 15 states could supply these statistics for CDL road tests administered by the state, and only 9 reported these statistics for third-party tests. The absence of such information limits the ability to (1) identify statistically aberrant state and third-party testers; (2) establish statistical baselines for use in assessing the effects of improved auditing procedures; and (3) implement statistical quality control systems for monitoring CDL road testing on an ongoing basis.
One of the strategies in the Pennsylvania fraud-detection program is to inspect data on the test scores, failure rates, and daily number of tested commercial drivers. This information is currently accessible electronically, and the potential exists for developing a statistical management information system that would tabulate these statistics by area, month of testing, individual examiner, third provider, and organization (state versus private).
A final type of auditing that warrants serious consideration is for states to retest random or representative samples of third-party-certified drivers. In fact, such authorization is authorized in title 49 part 383.75 of the federal regulations and in California is explicitly authorized in the state’s written agreement with each third-party employer. The AAMVA survey of state practices reported that 18 states randomly retest third-party-certified commercial drivers and six states randomly retest samples of state-tested commercial drivers (AAMVA, 1999a). The six states that randomly retest both state- and third-party-tested drivers are Colorado; Washington, D.C.; Kansas; Kentucky; Mississippi; and Montana.
If one can assume that the retest is reliable and valid, the retest policy provides a powerful mechanism for estimating the proportion of third-party and state-tested licensees who should have been failed. Although this approach would not be able to identify many individual incidents of fraud, it does address the more general question of the adequacy of a state’s commercial driver licensing program. Moreover, in states where retesting is used for both state and third-party licensees, a comparison of retest failure rates provides information on whether the two test systems are approximately equivalent in terms of competency assessment. A substantial or increasing incidence of fraud would be among the factors causing a higher incidence of retest failures. Third-party providers with suspect retest failure rates and individual retest failure cases would then be subject to additional review for evidence of fraud. An analysis of retest failure rates over time also provides criteria for evaluating the effects of fraud-prevention strategies.
Two practical disadvantages of the above approach must be acknowledged. The first is cost. Commercial driver road tests are expensive. However, samples as small as 200 would provide relatively stable estimates and would not be cost-prohibitive for many states. A second problem is negative reactions of drivers to the inconvenience of being tested a second time.
Driver Competency Measurement. The detection and elimination of fraud in licensing commercial drivers is a valid goal in and of itself, apart from any nexus with public safety. As a safety initiative, however, it is anchored in the implicit premise that the skill and road test are reliable and valid indicators of driver competency. Guidelines for constructing reliable and valid tests are described by McKnight (1999), and applications to a state DMV program are described by Clark (1995) and Peck (1996). A model commercial driver testing program based on these principles is described in a study commissioned by AAMVA (Mackie et al, 1989). Whether competency assessment is done by state examiners or by third parties, the test should be based on sound psychometric principles and there should be periodic checks of two types of test reliability (internal consistency or “sampling” reliability and inter-rater reliability). Most states periodically review state and third-party exam score sheets but do not include a formal analysis of the reliability indices described by McKnight (1999). As noted above, a state’s assessment of the quality of a third-party tester assumes that the test standards used by the state are reliable and valid.
The commercial skill and road test used by many states is based on the Essex model or subsequent variations of that test. To the extent that a state uses this validated model, it is permissible to conclude that the test has adequate sampling reliability based on a simple content analysis and comparison with the model. However, this approach is much more tenuous in assessing the inter-rater reliability of the state test. This latter reliability is heavily dependent on the adequacy of examiner training and periodic examiner monitoring. These exigencies are likely to become more critical in generalizing reliability estimates to third-party testers and tests given by trainers.
State Implementation. The intent here is to present some of the elements that should be considered in developing a “best practices” manual for state use in strengthening the CDL through improved testing and fraud detection. Cost and operational feasibility are among the factors to consider in implementing these strategies.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
The information provided is based particularly on Pennsylvania’s program for ensuring quality control for CDL testing. A contact in Pennsylvania is Joy Gross (717-787-9930). The information has also been influenced by joint in-progress activities of AAMVA and FMCSA as described above. A contact for AAMVA is Kevin Lewis (703-908-2823), and a contact for FMCSA is Bob Redmond (202-366-5014). A contact for the California research and development program is Robert Hagge (916-657-7030). A contact for California’s employer test program (ETP) is Linda Stanley (916-657-8667).
About 85 percent of vehicle occupant fatalities resulting from large-truck crashes occur not in the truck but rather in other vehicles involved in the crash (FMCSA, 2003a). Analysis of driver-related factors in crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles indicates that passenger vehicle driver errors or other driver factors are cited in more than two-thirds of these crashes, whereas truck driver errors are cited in less than one-third (Craft and Blower, 2003b; FHWA, 1999c; Blower, 1999). Passenger vehicle driver behaviors such as improper lane changes have been found to be among the highest-risk behaviors around trucks (Kostyniuk et al., 2002).
Using a fleet of instrumented trucks, Hanowski et al. (2001) observed and analyzed 210 critical incidents (driver errors resulting in potentially unsafe conditions) involving the interaction of a large truck and light vehicle. The most common errors were lane changes without sufficient gaps, entrance onto the roadway without adequate clearance to the trailing truck, left turns without adequate clearance to the trailing truck, and late braking for stopped or stopping traffic. More than three-quarters of such incidents were attributed to drivers of light vehicles in the vicinity of trucks, rather than to truck drivers. Clearly, the driving public needs to improve its driving practices in the vicinity of large trucks. Drivers of passenger vehicles are making most of the errors leading to crashes and fatal crashes, and they are suffering most of the injury consequences.
The above findings indicate a need for a broad-based public understanding of the hazards associated with driving too close to heavy trucks. Public awareness and understanding of this issue is critical to heavy-truck safety, although it may take years to see significant improvements. In many ways, the task is analogous to the challenges associated with achieving public understanding and acceptance of safety belt effectiveness and the hazards associated with drinking and driving. It was not until there was sufficient public understanding of these issues that meaningful measures could be implemented. The effectiveness of these measures accounts for the major gains that have been made in highway safety over the past quarter century. In the same way, public understanding of the need to drive carefully in the vicinity of large trucks must be achieved. Although it will take time, the sooner it is initiated, the sooner the heavy-truck crash toll may be reduced.
Until recently, FMCSA outreach and other public information programs on sharing the road with heavy trucks have emphasized the “No Zone” concept. Like passenger vehicle drivers, truck drivers have blind spots in the rear and sides of their vehicle, but for trucks, these blind spots are much larger. It is especially hazardous for other vehicles to position their vehicles in the truck driver’s blind spots, as well as in the area immediately in front of the truck. Truck maneuverability and stopping capabilities are of course much less than those of smaller vehicles. When a collision does occur, the massive size of large trucks compared with light vehicles (up to 25 times more mass) creates a huge injury potential for drivers and occupants of the smaller vehicles.
Understanding the “No-Zone” is a fundamental step for safer driving by motorists operating in the vicinity of large trucks. However, in recent years, FMCSA and its partners have shifted the focus of their program to the broader concept of “Share the Road.” The intent is to target all road users and to increase public awareness of a broader range of potentially hazardous interactions among large and small vehicles. These include tailgating trucks and cutting in front of trucks when passing. FMCSA plans to implement a Share the Road pilot in one or more states, combining targeted, multimedia outreach and intensive enforcement of traffic laws prohibiting unsafe light-vehicle maneuvers around trucks such as cutting in front. This program is expected to become a centerpiece of the FMCSA Share the Road program.
The Share the Road Coalition (www.sharetheroadsafely.org) has been established as a public-private partnership of organizations embracing the goal of reducing crashes and fatal crashes involving large trucks and other vehicles. The coalition consists of FMCSA, NHTSA, AAMVA, the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA), state and local governments, law enforcement, motor carriers, industry trade associations, insurance companies, and highway safety organizations. FMCSA public information and education programs have spearheaded the initiative.
An important first step is to incorporate information into state driver handbooks and knowledge tests for both passenger vehicle operators and CDL licensure. Most states have already done this to some degree, but many have not. State driver handbooks are read most often by young beginning drivers and, less frequently, by applicants who already hold a license from another state. Renewal applicants are not usually required to take a knowledge test, and even if they are, most do not read the handbook. Nevertheless, the handbook is an important place to start in disseminating information on sharing the road with trucks and avoiding the dangerous areas in the blind spots and directly in front of the truck.
ADTSEA is the professional association that represents traffic safety educators throughout the United States and abroad. The ADTSEA Web site (http://adtsea.iup.edu) contains a model curriculum for novice drivers that includes extensive lesson plans and supporting slides. These are available free in Adobe (pdf) format, and more usable formats (such as PowerPoint slides) may be purchased. Unit 8 of the model ADTSEA curriculum includes limited information on driving safety around trucks. Topics mentioned include the possibility of truck driver fatigue, truck wide right turns, side blind spots and safe passing, other “No-Zone” areas around trucks, and the importance of being able to see the truck driver in the truck’s mirrors (so that he or she can also see you). More elaborate instruction on sharing the road with trucks is under development by AAMVA and will be incorporated into the ADTSEA curriculum as it is completed.
Because most renewal applicants will not read the driver handbook or take a renewal exam, they must be reached through other channels. One approach is through the renewal notice sent by the licensing authority. This mailing presents an opportunity to alert drivers on how to maneuver safely around large trucks. Brochures or other relevant material may be included in the renewal notice package to reach this audience. Another approach is to include the information in driver safety schools operated in conjunction with courts, where offenders are required to attend courses on driver improvement. An approach under consideration by FMCSA for a major pilot program is to disseminate educational brochures through rental car agencies.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
Information and materials are available from several sources, including the FMCSA Outreach Division (202-493-0499). Information is also available at the Share the Road Coalition Web site, www.sharetheroadsafely.org. Finally, as noted above, AAMVA is developing Share the Road driver training materials that will be available in Adobe (pdf) format on the ADTSEA Web site (http://adtsea.iup.edu).
Virginia established a Large-Truck Safety Task Force in 2002 to develop recommended strategies to reduce large-truck crashes. Among the strategies recommended were to develop training resources and to seek means to educate both large-truck drivers and the general driving public about safe driving practices around trucks. A project survey indicated that 60 percent of large-truck drivers support more education for the public. The task force recommended that the Virginia Department of Education adopt No-Zone and Share the Road programs as part of the high school driver education programs. Information on the Virginia program is available from Robert L. Irving, Motor Carrier Service Operations, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (804-367-2865).
Because it will take years to reach all drivers through driver-related materials, the Share the Road information should also be promulgated in multiple ways. Newspapers often have a column on safe driving or tips for the road, and this information would be relevant to its readers. Television can also include Share the Road messages in public service announcements. The message needs to come from many sources over an extended period of time, so that drivers in general will be familiar with the material.
The experience with safety belt use and drinking and driving is critical to understanding the value of this strategy. A quarter of a century ago, it was generally accepted that we would never get safety belt use laws in the United States, and driving after drinking was widespread and widely considered harmless. The media played a major role in bringing about major changes in how safety belt use and drinking and driving are viewed. General public awareness of the Share the Road issue could be accomplished through similar means. If reports on truck–passenger vehicle crashes were to include this information, the public would eventually gain a deeper appreciation of this safety issue, as has been done with drinking and driving and with safety belt use. There are important differences between the Share the Road concept and safety belt use and drinking and driving, but the similarities are sufficiently strong to consider the latter as models for bringing about public behavior change.
The national Share the Road initiative provides a ready source for general public information on this safety topic. At the state level, Colorado developed a customized public information campaign focusing on one rapidly growing, high-truck-crash county (Weld County in Northeastern Colorado, which includes the city of Greeley), with plans to expand the program to the entire state. The Colorado Truck Safety 2000 initiative (Olsgard et al., 2002) included a detailed crash analysis that served as the basis for the development of a multifaceted truck safety initiative, including targeted enforcement, engineering strategies, and public education. This program is described in more detail in the state profile accompanying this chapter. The public information and education initiative was named “Size Matters for Safe Driving in Weld County.” It included the development of printed material featuring a project logo and special graphics. These materials were printed in both English and Spanish and included brochures, information sheets, wallet-sized plastic cards, and posters. Press and media were contacted and enlisted in the campaign to spread the safety message to citizens. The Weld County program will be a template for a larger statewide initiative.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
Virginia and Pennsylvania are among the states that have established strategic goals to educate both passenger vehicle and truck drivers on hazardous driving behaviors around other vehicles. Virginia’s public information on Share the Road is available at www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/general/safety/motorcarrier. Pennsylvania has developed a Share the Road brochure that may be distributed at rest areas or through other means. It is available from Gary Modi, Chief, Safety Management Division, PENNDOT Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering (717-783-1190). There are no known jurisdictions reporting No-Zone violations directly to the media for wider dissemination of Share the Road information to the public.
The Colorado Weld County initiative, a multiagency program consisting of problem assessment, enforcement, engineering, and education strategies, is described in a state profile in Appendix 2. Points of contact in Colorado include Patricia Olsgard, Colorado Motor Carriers Association (303-433-3375), and Stephanie Olson, CDOT Highway & Traffic Safety Division (303-757-9465). The Colorado initiative is further documented in Appendix 2.
Vehicle maintenance is one of the most fundamental activities of commercial vehicle fleet safety management. The FMCSA and the states have various regulations and enforcement programs in place to ensure that vehicles have properly functioning equipment. Unfortunately, roadside inspection vehicle out-of-service rates for mechanical problems are quite high – generally in the range of 20 percent to 30 percent (Blower, 2002). Various studies of truck crash characteristics and causation have addressed the question of the degree to which truck mechanical problems contribute to crash involvement. Of heavy trucks involved in fatal crashes, about 3 percent are reported to have brake defects, and 1 percent are reported to have tire defects (Blower, 2002). Preliminary data from the Large-Truck Crash Causation Study indicate that about 4 percent of the sampled crashes involved a critical truck vehicle factor, such as a defective component (Craft and Blower, 2003b). On the other hand, in-depth investigations performed by Michigan’s Fatal Accident Complaint Team (FACT) have indicated that as many as 55 percent of trucks involved in fatal crashes have at least one vehicle mechanical defect and that about half of these would be sufficient to place the vehicle out of service (Blower, 2002). The extent to which vehicle mechanical defects constitute a direct causal or severity-increasing factor is difficult to assess. Nevertheless, Blower (2002) concludes that truck brake, tire, and other mechanical defects contribute “substantially” to truck crashes.
In a survey of commercial truck and bus fleet safety managers and other experts, Knipling et al. (2003) found that the problems of neglect of vehicle maintenance or driver failure to inspect vehicles were not highly rated as safety problems relative to other problems. Ironically, though, fleet safety managers in the same survey rated regularly scheduled vehicle inspection and maintenance to be the most effective safety management practice of 28 practices included in the survey.
State truck inspection programs are largely supported by the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP). MCSAP is a federal grant program that provides financial assistance to states to reduce the number and severity of commercial vehicle crashes and incidents. The program promotes consistent, uniform, and effective commercial motor vehicle safety programs. The program helps ensure that safety defects, driver deficiencies, and unsafe motor carrier practices are detected and corrected before they result in, or contribute to, crashes.
Key requirements for states to receive annual MCSAP funding include adoption and enforcement of state laws that are compatible with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the completion of a Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan (CVSP). Major MCSAP program elements include driver/vehicle inspections, traffic enforcement, carrier compliance reviews, public education and awareness, and data collection. The FMCSA Web site contains more information on MCSAP at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetyprogs/mcsap.htm.
FMCSR § 396.17 requires annual safety inspections of commercial vehicles, including both tractors and trailers, and roadside inspection programs are a continuous state activity to achieve adequate vehicle maintenance. Proper vehicle maintenance and a clean inspection record are considered fundamental by safety-conscious fleets. This includes compliance with federal and state requirements for pretrip, posttrip, and annual vehicle inspections. Many safety-conscious companies employ regular schedules for preventive maintenance (PM) and require their drivers to use checklists for pre- and posttrip inspections. In the safety management study by Knipling et al. (2003), “regularly scheduled vehicle inspection and maintenance” was practiced in more than 90 percent of the fleets surveyed and, as noted above, was rated by safety managers as the most effective safety management practice of 28 practices presented.
Not all motor carriers voluntarily implement strong fleet maintenance programs, however. The state of Maryland has a program that meets the requirements of FMCSR § 396.17 but that also requires that carriers conduct and document an ongoing PM program for their vehicles. Enforcement officers in the state of Maryland may enter the premises of any motor carrier at any time during regular business hours to inspect equipment and also to review and copy records relating to the carrier’s PM program. This Maryland program to strengthen carrier PM programs has resulted in improved vehicle inspection performance both for vehicle inspections conducted at carrier sites and those conducted roadside.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
More information on the Maryland PM program can be obtained from Administrative Officer Malcolm Rote, Maryland State Police (410-694-6116).
Extensive data can be compiled on trucks and other vehicles involved in crashes, including detailed information on the tractor, the trailer, and the cargo. Information on the truck driver should include 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 can be compiled on the crash itself, including detailed information on truck condition and damage. FMCSA and NHTSA have a joint program underway to collect crash reconstructions of a large representative sample of serious heavy-truck crashes (Craft and Blower, 2002).
Analyses of the collected data may reveal specific vehicle problems that appeared to be contributing to fatal crash risk (Blower, 2002). Also of interest is whether other factors, e.g., some commodities, routes, or types of carriers, result in a higher risk of crashes and should be examined for possible modifications.
Michigan initiated, but later discontinued, a state program to require investigations and vehicle inspections of trucks involved in fatal crashes. This program was called the Fatal Accident Complaint Team (FACT). Pennsylvania enacted legislation in 2001 (Section 4704 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code) requiring that all trucks in fatal crashes undergo an MCSAP inspection. Such state programs, over time, can compile sufficient state-specific data to enhance the overall truck safety efforts.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
Michigan conducted this strategy for about 4 years but then discontinued it due to its expense, a need to redirect human resources participating in FACT, lack of demand for the data, and the consideration that FMCSA was launching a similar and broader study. There are no current plans to reinstate the program. A point of contact in Michigan is Capt. Robert R. Powers, Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Division (517-336-6447). Additional information is available in Appendix 3.
Pennsylvania has enacted legislation that requires all trucks in fatal crashes to undergo an MCSAP inspection. The point of contact in Pennsylvania is Dan Smyser, Chief, Motor Carrier Division, PENNDOT (717-787-7445). See Appendix 4 for further details.
The physical and operational characteristics of large trucks often place them near the safety limits imposed by highway geometric design and the traffic environment (Harwood et al., 2003a and 2003b). Thus, roadway features such as lane width, upgrades, downgrades, horizontal curves, and interchange ramps may be associated with heightened safety concerns relating to large trucks as compared with smaller, lighter vehicles. Although AASHTO (2001) roadway design guidelines, including design speeds, are based on a consideration of the designs of various large vehicles (i.e., large buses and various large-truck configurations), margins for driver error are far less than they are for smaller, more maneuverable vehicles.
There are roadway sections that are characterized by large numbers of heavy-truck crashes. Clearly, the volume of heavy-truck traffic is an important factor here, but it is still worthwhile to examine the roadway characteristics to determine what, if anything, might be done to reduce the toll. Most of the strategies related here are designed to either impact the speed of the truck or overcome the loss of control due to excessive speed. Several agencies are beginning to look at the safety impacts of lane restrictions for trucks or exclusive truck lanes, in addition to the historical use of this strategy to improve traffic operations. Appendix 9 discusses this idea.
Studies of vehicle highway speeds in North America indicate that the majority of drivers of both light and heavy vehicles consistently exceed posted speed limits (Tardif, 2003; NHTSA, 1991). Both light- and heavy-vehicle drivers exceed speed limits, but average heavy-vehicle speeds are typically slightly lower—on the order of 2 to 5 mph. Moreover, the percentage of truck drivers engaging in extreme speeding (e.g., 80+ mph) is far less than that of light-vehicle drivers.
Excessive speed still constitutes a major risk factor for large trucks, however. Possible interventions include improved signing to alert truck drivers as well as other drivers of the hazardous nature of a section of highway; using devices being developed under the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program to provide real-time feedback to truck drivers exceeding the safe speed; providing pull-offs at the top of the grade to enable drivers to prepare for maneuvering the grade safely; installing arrester beds (truck escape ramps) where appropriate; and installing median rumble strips or barriers in areas where crashes occur because trucks and/or passenger vehicles run off the left side of the road. In the case of barriers, most are not designed to contain heavy vehicles, although some jurisdictions have constructed large, heavy-duty guardrails at some high-risk locations to accommodate heavy trucks (Harwood et al., 2003a). Interchange areas are also potentially hazardous locations for trucks. Ramps with sharp curves and inadequate acceleration or deceleration lanes can be high-crash-risk locations.
Some of these proposed interventions will affect truck crashes somewhat indirectly by modifying the behavior of other drivers. For example, head-on collisions, both fatal and nonfatal, are much more likely to be precipitated by the other driver crossing the center line or median, rather than the large-truck driver (Blower, 1999). Therefore, median rumble strips or improved medians should have a greater effect on these drivers, where inattention or drowsy driving is a major factor, but the changes should reduce head-on collisions with trucks.
Many of the strategies that are applicable here are covered in other guides in this series:
Some of the strategies that are applicable to these problems would involve a major reconstruction effort. Since the orientation of the AASHTO guides is toward low-cost, short-term solutions, the most extensive and costly countermeasures are not discussed here.
It is not always possible to make major changes in highway configurations, even when it is found that the current configuration may create problems for some drivers and vehicles. However, specific segments of highway that are identified as sites with a disproportionate occurrence of truck crashes can be treated to inform drivers of the hazards so that they can modify their driving accordingly. Signs may be the traditional fixed type or be activated and changeable (e.g., advisory speed signs). The signing may also advise of the likelihood of targeted traffic enforcement. In general, it is considered advisable to combine the signing with an enforcement effort. Details regarding traffic enforcement are covered under Strategy 12.1 E3. The special case of rollover advisory warning signs is covered under Strategy 12.1 E2.
Colorado’s Weld Country truck safety initiative, a prototype for future statewide programs, includes engineering, enforcement, and education strategies. A principal engineering initiative is improved signage for trucks, including (a) directional signage relating to geographic locations such as major shippers and receivers; (b) signage concerning specific hazardous roadway locations; and (c) signage for truck routes and hazardous materials corridors.
With advancing technology, it appears that there will also be vehicle-based systems to provide in-cab advisories to commercial drivers when they are approaching high-crash locations. The U.S. DOT Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (www.its.dot.gov/ivi/ivi.htm) includes a major program of R&D focusing on commercial vehicle operations (CVO). A current study is the “Generation 0” field operational test of several safety technologies installed on Mack trucks. The three systems being tested are a lane tracking system, an in-cab advisory of potentially hazardous locations, and an automatic collision notification system (which automatically calls local EMS following a crash impact). Of interest here is the advisory system, which employs a global positioning system (GPS) both to identify locations and for positioning in the truck. Based on state crash data files and other roadway features (e.g., sharp curves, high-wind areas, tight exit ramps, narrow bridges, and recurring congestion), 500 high-truck-crash locations were identified in 12 states. For the study, these locations are termed “advisory sites” rather than “hazardous locations” because the latter might expose states to undue liability. Moreover, there is no control for truck traffic volume at these sites, so they are not necessarily the sites of greatest risk (this limitation applies to almost all current attempts to identify high-risk highway locations). The in-cab advisory (10 words or less specifying the nature of the potential hazard) is displayed on a small cathode ray tube (CRT) screen mounted on the truck instrument panel. The system is directionally sensitive (i.e., trucks must be approaching from the travel direction associated with high-crash potential) and provides the advisory about 1 mile before the critical location. This is a good example of how vehicle-based technologies may be used to complement infrastructure signage and other countermeasures. Of course, fundamental limitations of such vehicle-based systems are that they take years to be deployed in the vehicle fleet, and their implementation depends mainly on truck buyers ordering them at the time of vehicle purchase.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering is currently pursuing this strategy to identify highway stretches characterized by large numbers of truck crashes and to implement this strategy to address the problem. See Appendix 5 for further details.
Information on the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) CVO “Generation 0”test of in-cab advisories of high-truck-crash locations (as well as information on other IVI commercial vehicle R&D) can be obtained from the FMCSA IVI CVO platform manager, Tim Johnson (202-385-2362), or from the IVI Web site (www.its.dot.gov/ivi/ivi.htm).
Large trucks have high centers of gravity, especially when their trailers are loaded. This physical characteristic renders them much more vulnerable than smaller vehicles to rollover on curves. Moreover, it appears that vehicle height has an effect on drivers’ perception of speed; greater heights are associated with lower perceived vehicle speeds (Rudin-Brown, 2004). Further, drivers of tractor-semi-trailers cannot sense the level of lateral acceleration experienced by their trailers because of the articulation between the tractor and the trailer. Interstate and other freeway exit ramp curves can be dangerous locations for tractor-trailers because the driver must perceive the point at which to begin braking and the amount of braking needed to safely slow from full freeway speeds to a much lower speed to negotiate the ramp curve. In a survey of state DOTs, Harwood et al. (2003a) reported that 74 percent of responding states indicated that they had safety problems at such locations and that 57 percent of them employ special warning signs for trucks at their highest-risk locations. A smaller percentage (31 percent) employs advisory speed limits for trucks at these locations.
Highway ramps or curves that experience a high incidence of truck rollovers can be identified from state highway crash files. Interactive signs that include highway detectors can be installed at identified locations (Bushman and Lindsay, 2002). A typical “intelligent” interactive system includes sensors for both weight (i.e., weigh-in-motion) and speed and a display to flash a warning sign for trucks that are assessed to be at rollover risk. These systems may vary in complexity and cost; the simplest systems measure only vehicle speed or height (thus identifying a large truck), but more sophisticated systems can measure multiple vehicle parameters, including speed, height, and weight to calculate rollover risk more accurately and thus provide more targeted warnings (Harwood et al., 2003a). Warning displays may be programmed with a single warning or changeable messages for different situations (Bushman and Lindsay, 2002). If properly designed, installed, and maintained, these interactive systems can result in significantly decreased truck speeds on ramps and resulting decreased crash risks (Harwood et al., 2003a). Exhibit V-12 provides a schematic of an interactive truck rollover advisory as well as a picture of a dynamic display.
A similar principle can be applied to downhill speed advisories for trucks (Bushman and Lindsay, 2002). Just as truck drivers may have difficulty sensing unsafe speeds on curves, they may not appreciate the risks associated with high downhill speeds under some conditions. The layout of such truck downhill speed advisory systems is analogous to the warning system on curves. Vehicle weight is an important factor in determining loss-of-control risk, so optimal systems include weigh-in-motion capabilities. Maximum safe speeds are calculated based on a predetermined formula based on truck weights, speeds, roadway gradients, and truck braking capabilities. Each truck may be given a specific message conveying an advisory speed for that vehicle.
An alternative solution to infrastructure-based warning systems is a vehicle-based system to prevent rollovers. It will likely be 10 to 20 years before the system penetrates the majority of the heavy-truck fleet. Further information on this may be found in Appendix 7.
Another ITS concept is to equip heavy vehicles with embedded roadway maps indicating highway curve locations and a positioning system to determine vehicle location in relation to highway curves. Such a system would provide a warning to drivers if they entered a curve at excessive speed.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is currently pursuing the vehicle-highway interactive strategy at some Interstate exit ramps and other high-rollover-risk locations. See Appendix 6 for further details.
Strategy 12.1 E3: Modify Speed Limits and Increase Enforcement to Reduce Truck and Other Vehicle Speeds
An obvious rationale for reducing posted speed limits is to reduce average speeds, with resulting reductions in crash incidence and/or average crash severity (Stuster et al., 1998), although relationships between posted speeds and prevailing operating speeds are not always strong (Fitzpatrick et al., 2003). Existing speed limits may be set too high for heavy trucks given their operational limitations such as longer stopping distances and greater vulnerability to rollover on curves (Harwood et al., 2003a). In addition to increased enforcement (as discussed above), it may be necessary to reduce existing truck speed limits.
If speed limits are reduced in response to a high incidence of truck crashes, should they be reduced for trucks only or for all vehicles? A rationale for differential speed limits is that trucks have much longer stopping distances than do light vehicles and have other speed-related risks such as rollover at lower speeds and vulnerability to loss of control in cross winds. Thus, trucks should maintain lower highway speeds. On the other hand, the advocates of uniform speed limits contend that differential truck-car speed limits increase vehicle speed variance on the roadway, resulting in more truck-car conflicts and potential for more rear-end and passing-related crashes. In a review of highway/heavy-vehicle interaction, Harwood et al. (2003a) reported that about one-third of the states employ differential speed limits for large trucks at some locations, either for particular classes of roadway (e.g., rural freeways) or for selected roadways. However, Harwood and others (e.g., Garber and Gadiraju, 1992) have found that reducing speed limits for trucks only (i.e., having differential speed limits) does not reliably reduce crashes, although it may change the distribution of various crash types.
Garber et al. (2003) compared the safety effects of uniform car-truck speed limits with differential speed limits on rural Interstate highways. A surprising finding was that, overall, vehicle speeds have not been significantly affected by the type of speed policy. Moreover, statewide changes in rural Interstate speed policy from uniform to differential, or vice-versa, have not resulted in consistent or significant changes in crash rates, including crash rates for rear-end crashes specifically.
Situations where differential speed limits may be advisable include curves and steep downgrades where it may be critical that trucks drive at a slower speed to avoid rollovers, brake failure, or disastrous potential runaway problems. Pennsylvania has a program to reduce the truck speed limit for trucks with a gross weight generally over 26,000 pounds, based on an engineering and traffic study. Based upon recommendations from the trucking industry, Pennsylvania uses a “hazardous grade speed limit” that is consistent with the speed at which these trucks climb the hill in the opposite direction.
Care must be taken to follow standards when establishing speed limits. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices(MUTCD) specifies that speed limits should be established “After an engineering study has been made in accordance with established traffic engineering practices” (Section 2B.13 Speed Limit Sign). It further specifies the following:
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has a draft advisory on speed zoning available at http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/ite-szg.html.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
In 1996, Colorado raised its Interstate highway speed limit to 75 mph. Since that time, traffic volumes have dramatically increased in some areas of the state. On I-25 north of Denver to Fort Collins, the combination of increased speeds and increasing traffic volume raised the question of whether the speed limit should be reduced back to 65 mph along this section of Interstate. A number of truck drivers and carrier safety managers have expressed support for such a speed limit reduction, and the strategy was included in a recent Colorado truck safety initiative. However, opposition by commuters and other travelers in the area was anticipated, and the matter is unresolved at this writing.
Trucks cross state lines much more often than other vehicle traffic does. Averaging almost 65,000 miles annually, combination trucks travel through many jurisdictions and consequently can incur violations in multiple districts. A primary purpose of the CDL is to limit a driver to holding a single license and to establish a reporting system that compiles a single record incorporating data from all jurisdictions where infractions and/or crashes occur. Because of trucks’ speed and distance covered, for data to be useful, they must be available rapidly and in complete and accurate form. Technology is available today to enable such data entry and accessibility, but few jurisdictions are currently utilizing it.
The state of Iowa, in partnership with the U.S. DOT, has developed “TraCS”: Traffic and Criminal Software (see http://www.iowadot.org/natmodel/index.htm) under a national model program for demonstrating the use of new technologies for improving data collection and analysis. The system allows law enforcement officers and others to collect, validate, print, and receive information in the vehicle using a notebook or pen-based computer. This information can be transferred to central databases for reporting, analyses, and retrieval. TraCS has reduced time requirements for data collection and entry, increased accuracy, and made safety data rapidly available for analysis and action. It is being licensed to numerous other states for various applications. For a map of the partner states, see http://www.dot.state.ia.us/natmodel/otherstates.htm, and for further details, see http://www.dot.state.ia.us/natmodel/letpublication.pdf.
TraCS was not developed solely for truck safety applications. Nevertheless, one major component of TraCS is the Vehicle Safety Inspection System (VSIS), which is an alternative to a U.S. DOT–developed system called ASPEN. Both systems facilitate the collection and reporting of data from truck inspections. An advantage of TraCS is that it is easily linked to other police data systems such as systems for accident and citation reporting. In Iowa, truck enforcement officers writing truck inspection reports can, with one mouse click, also file their citation reports. This capability greatly expedites truck safety enforcement. Exhibit V-13a illustrates conceptually the electronic data flow of TraCS.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
Specific agencies, in addition to the Iowa DOT, that are involved in testing and implementing the national model effort may be found at http://www.iacptechnology.org/Programs/NationalModel.htm. Information may also be obtained from Mary Jensen, TraCS Program Manager, Motor Vehicle Division, Iowa DOT (515-237-3235).
Enforcement strategies are intended to ensure that all motor carriers and drivers comply with certain fundamental safety requirements, ranging from driver medical condition and other qualifications, driver hours-of-service compliance, vehicle condition, highway speed compliance, and compliance with other carrier operational and traffic regulations. Federal, state, and local enforcement activities lay the foundation for ensuring a safe industry and for identifying and punishing noncompliant carriers and drivers.
However, punishment is not the only way to stimulate safety-related changes in the motor carrier industry. Educational approaches complement enforcement and indeed can address safety practices not related to compliance. As such, they are potentially much more comprehensive and are naturally more likely to be received positively by carriers. Development of a cooperative relationship between government and industry on the subject of motor carrier safety is strongly valued by most state motor carrier safety officials (Patten, 2001).
Regulatory compliance by motor carriers and their drivers is perhaps best viewed as an essential prerequisite for safe operations. However, compliance per se is probably not sufficient to ensure safe commercial vehicle operations. Active carrier safety management, addressing areas and practices beyond compliance, is necessary to achieve and sustain high operational fleet safety (Corsi and Barnard, 2003; Knipling et al., 2003; Stock, 2001, American Trucking Associations Foundation, 1999).
There are a number of initiatives that states and other levels of government can take to provide safety education and consultation to the motor carrier industry. Often these initiatives are most effective if they are conducted in partnership with industry, e.g., state motor carrier trade associations. Potential activities include distribution of safety-related publications (brochures, manuals, bulletins, etc.), seminars and workshops for fleet safety managers, seminars or other special training for drivers on topics such as defensive driving, “circuit rider” visits to motor carriers to provide free or low-cost safety consultation, volunteer mentoring for new or problem carriers by established safe carriers, nonpunitive compliance reviews, and advisory warning letters sent to problem carriers before any punitive actions are taken. Patten (2001) reviews a number of different types of state-sponsored education activities for motor carriers, the number of states using each activity (according to survey data), and state officials’ ratings of their safety effectiveness. For example, 33 states conduct seminars, classes, or conferences, and 97 percent of the responding officials from these states rate the programs as effective or very effective. The number of motor carriers contacted through these programs averaged 68 per state annually, but varied widely across states from just a few to 5,000. Also addressed in the Patten report are state motor carrier association education and information dissemination activities.
The Tennessee Department of Safety has an Alternative Commercial Enforcement Strategies (ACES) program that provides compliance-related information to fleets in a nonthreatening manner. In ACES, specially trained officers visit fleets using an advisory rather than an enforcement approach. The officers provide as much information as possible to help fleets to be more proactive in avoiding safety and compliance problems. Training services provided range from demonstrating vehicle inspection procedures to reviewing compliance paperwork requirements to training new drivers. Later visits may be enforcement oriented, but the initial visit is advisory and permits fleet operators to improve their practices. During 1999, the Tennessee ACES group made more than 700 industry contacts and also visited more than 2,000 schools to provide truck safety information and education to the public. In addition, Share the Road information was provided at a number of large public events such as parades, sporting events, and festivals.
The award-winning Tennessee ACES unit is composed of 12 sergeants/officers statewide. ACES is based on the concept of community-oriented policing where the “community” is the commercial vehicle industry of Tennessee. Companies visited are offered a variety of educational services free of charge, including
An innovative approach to improving compliance, originating in the state of New York, is the “compliance letter.” Instead of issuing a citation to carriers or conducting a full compliance review, the state may simply require that problem carriers write a letter to the state, stating that they are aware of the regulation(s) in question and current deficiencies in their operations and describing their plans to get into full compliance. Otherwise, these fleets receive no punishment at this stage. The state has found that this nonpunitive exercise often gets the attention of fleet management and motivates them to upgrade their safety and compliance practices proactively, prior to experiencing any major fines or other sanctions.
Colorado’s Circuit Rider program is an industry-based initiative to provide free consultation to fleets on their safety compliance and management practices. The program, supported by a NHTSA 402 grant and managed by the Colorado Motor Carrier Association, employs veteran carrier safety managers who travel around the state visiting motor carriers that have requested the consultation. A major attraction of the Circuit Rider program to participating fleets is that it is not related to enforcement and cannot result in punitive consequences to the carrier. Consultation with the fleet owner or safety manager might include the following:
In addition to the direct consultation provided to individual fleets, the Colorado Circuit Rider program conducts safety workshops for motor carrier managers, drivers, and dispatchers. Topics include FMCSR compliance, drug and alcohol testing requirements and procedures, driver selection and hiring, driver performance evaluation, carrier safety management, and vehicle maintenance. See Appendix 8 for further details on this program.
The Michigan Truck Safety Commission has established a nonprofit Michigan Center for Truck Safety (MCTS; www.truckingsafety.org) to provide free and low-cost training and consultation to truck drivers and carrier safety managers. The MCTSalso manages public Share the Road education programs.
Funding for the commission and the center comes from registration fees on
heavy vehicles. Professional training includes driver coaching,
“decision” driving courses (conducted on skid pads to teach
drivers dynamic safety maneuvers such as pulling out of a jackknife),
defensive driving, fatigue management, inspection training, load securement
training, and safety manager training. There is also an annual Truck
Exposition and Safety Symposium.
The FMCSA plans a multimedia “Safety is Good
Business” program to provide educational materials directly to fleets
(FMCSA, 2001a). The program will cover a full range of safety-effective
practices that fleet owners and managers can implement immediately or in
short timeframes to reduce crashes. A central theme will be the high costs
of crash involvement and the benefits of crash prevention. This program,
now under development, will target new and small motor carriers.
The educational and consultation outreach programs to
the motor carrier industry can be viewed as somewhat analogous to
FHWA-sponsored Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and Circuit
Training Assistance Program (CTAP) training. FHWA supports a network of 57
centers nationwide to provide workshops and consultation in a variety of
topics relating to highway design and operation. In addition to course
offerings, LTAP programs sponsor conferences and expositions, often
attracting hundreds of state and local highway officials and contractors.
Several of the motor carrier safety programs above have similarities to the
LTAP/CTAP concept and have the potential to play a similar role in
professional education and information dissemination.
The impact on truck safety would be measured by changes to fleet out-of-service,
traffic violation, or crash statistics. Exposure variables would also be needed.
The FMCSA plans a multimedia “Safety is Good Business” program to provide educational materials directly to fleets (FMCSA, 2001a). The program will cover a full range of safety-effective practices that fleet owners and managers can implement immediately or in short timeframes to reduce crashes. A central theme will be the high costs of crash involvement and the benefits of crash prevention. This program, now under development, will target new and small motor carriers.
The educational and consultation outreach programs to the motor carrier industry can be viewed as somewhat analogous to FHWA-sponsored Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and Circuit Training Assistance Program (CTAP) training. FHWA supports a network of 57 centers nationwide to provide workshops and consultation in a variety of topics relating to highway design and operation. In addition to course offerings, LTAP programs sponsor conferences and expositions, often attracting hundreds of state and local highway officials and contractors. Several of the motor carrier safety programs above have similarities to the LTAP/CTAP concept and have the potential to play a similar role in professional education and information dissemination.
The impact on truck safety would be measured by changes to fleet out-of-service, traffic violation, or crash statistics. Exposure variables would also be needed.
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
Below are information sources for various safety consultation programs described above:
Most of the truck safety strategies presented in this guide involve activities that are performed primarily by state motor carrier safety agencies, i.e., state DOTs or DMVs. However, many aspects of truck safety are influenced primarily by industry—the motor carrier transport industry and/or the truck manufacturing industry. One such safety element is vehicle safety design. Improved heavy-truck safety designs and technologies may help drivers (i.e., truck drivers or other drivers driving around trucks) avoid crashes or may be oriented toward improving occupant survivability during a crash.
Manufacturers play a principal role in determining vehicle safety design by the standard and optional safety equipment installed on their vehicles. For example, electronic braking systems are relatively new technologies that are beginning to penetrate the new truck market. Anti-lock brakes are a more mature technology that was mandated by NHTSA (in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard [FMVSS] 121) for all new trucks and trailers in 1996.
The motor carrier industry also plays a principal role by selecting specific equipment for new vehicles—referred to as “spec-ing” the new vehicle. All new trucks must meet the FMVSSs (developed and enforced by NHTSA), but, beyond compliance with these standards, buyers of new trucks have considerable discretion in the safety-related features and components they select for their vehicles. Buyers may specify different engine performance specifications (e.g., related to maximum speeds and optimal fuel economy), different types of brakes, tires, mirrors, lighting and signaling configurations, and other components relevant to safe operations.
In addition to basic safety-related components such as brakes and tires, various advanced technology collision avoidance systems have been developed and marketed. For example, the Eaton-VORAD (Vehicle On-board RADar) forward collision warning system is associated with a 35-percent reduction in truck-striking-rear-end crashes, according to the system’s Web site (truck.eaton.com/vorad). Other advanced technologies under development or marketed include adaptive cruise control, roll stability advisors and controllers, and lane departure warning systems (FMCSA, 2003b). Advanced on-board sensor systems can provide diagnostic monitoring of safety-critical components such as brakes and tires. These advanced technology devices may be selected for installation on new vehicles at the time of purchase or may be purchased for retrofit for vehicles already in the fleet.
In addition to functioning as collision warning systems, advanced technologies can be used to monitor and modify commercial driver safety behavior. Such new or emerging technologies include adaptive cruise control, rollover detection and prevention systems, lane trackers and lane departure warnings, side sensing (proximity) devices, vehicle and cargo tracking systems, event data recorders (“black boxes”), and driver alertness monitoring (Roetting et al., 2003).
A review of truck safety technologies commissioned by PENNDOT (Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas, Inc., et al., 2002) describes technologies and safety practices relating to underride (or underrun) prevention, improved braking systems, prevention of postcrash fires, tire failure, driver fatigue, collision warning, electronic vehicle speed regulation, improved cab structural integrity during rollovers, advanced side mirror designs, and enhanced truck/trailer conspicuity. The study reviews new developments occurring in both North America and Europe. Some European truck safety design and operational standards are more stringent than those in the United States, such as standards for truck cab structural integrity during rollovers and a requirement for use of on-board recorders (tachographs) for driver hours-of-service verification (Hartman et al., 2000).
In a survey, Knipling et al. (2003) found that most safety-conscious fleet safety managers carefully “spec” their new vehicles for basic safety equipment such as brakes, tires, mirrors, and conspicuity lighting, but that a minority currently order advanced technology safety devices such as forward radar obstacle detection systems.
As noted in Section III, combination-unit trucks are, of all vehicle types, the vehicle type most likely to be associated with highly positive cost-benefits from the installation of enhanced safety equipment. Although combination-unit trucks (tractor-trailers) have relatively low crash rates per mile traveled, their high mileage exposures and the severity of their crashes combine to associate them with much greater costs for an average crash, average crash costs per year, and average vehicle life-cycle crash costs. Average crash costs over the operational life of a combination-unit truck are more than four times higher than most other vehicle types (Wang et al., 1999); see Exhibit V-16. For combination-unit trucks, there are greater benefits per vehicle and per investment dollar than for other vehicle types. Thus, they are generally the vehicle platform of choice for early cost-effective deployment of motor vehicle safety technologies (Wang et al., 1999). Single-unit large trucks (also called straight trucks) do not generally have such high life-cycle crash costs because their annual and lifetime mileage exposures are more similar to passenger vehicles than to long-haul tractor-trailers. Thus, for most vehicle-based safety technologies, combination-unit trucks are a much more attractive platform than are single-unit trucks.
Truck vehicle safety technologies are not panaceas, however. Effective fleet deployments often require active vehicle maintenance and driver safety management. In a survey of motor carrier fleet safety managers, Knipling et al. (2003) found that specifying enhanced safety equipment on new vehicles was rated only average in effectiveness compared with other fleet safety management practices, and that the use of advanced technology collision avoidance systems (e.g., forward/rear obstacle detection) was rated below average. Of course, these systems are likely to become more popular and highly regarded as the technology is advanced in the coming years.
Depending upon the technology, driver acceptance and proper use of the equipment may be an issue. A study by Penn + Schoen Associates, Inc. (1995), found that commercial drivers were often skeptical of on-board technologies that they had not yet used and were especially wary of technologies perceived as invasions of privacy (e.g., monitoring systems) or as diminishing the role of driver judgment (e.g., driver advisory or warning systems). Driver resistance must be overcome if the full promise of these technologies is to be realized (Roetting et al., 2003).
Information on Agencies or Organizations Currently Implementing this Strategy
Among the organizations involved nationally in promoting the use of truck safety technologies are NHTSA, FMCSA, the U.S. DOT Intelligent Transportation System Joint Program Office, the Truck Manufacturers Association, SAE (http://heavyduty.sae.org/), and the American Trucking Associations Truck Maintenance Council.
A Truck Manufacturers Guide Web site (www.cojoweb.com/truck_manuf.html) contains links to various heavy-truck and trailer manufacturers and equipment vendors.
The Transportation Research Board has a number of committees active in commercial vehicle design and other motor carrier safety issues. These include the Committee on Motor Vehicle Size and Weight (AT055) and the Committee on Truck and Bus Safety Research (ANB70). Information on these and other truck transportation committees can be found at http://www.trb.org/directory/comm_homepages.asp.
Key ReferencesAmerican Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets. (“Green Book”) 2001. American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). Comparative Data. State and Provincial Licensing Systems. Washington, DC, 1999a. American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). “Iowa Officers Do Police Work, Not Paperwork.” Harddrive. Arlington, VA, Winter 1999b. American Trucking Associations Foundation. SafeReturns: A Compendium of Injury Reduction and Safety Management Practices of Award Winning Carriers. ATAF Publication No. C0938. 1999. Baker, D., Bushman, R., and Berthelot, C. “The Effectiveness of Truck Rollover Warning Systems,” Transportation Research Record 1779, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 2001. Blower, D. The Relative Contribution of Truck Drivers and Passenger Car Drivers to Two- Vehicle, Truck-Car Traffic Crashes. Publication No. UMTRI-98-25, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, MI. 1998. Blower, D. “The Relative Contribution of Truck Drivers and Passenger-Vehicle Drivers to Truck/Passenger-Vehicle Traffic Crashes.” UMTRI Research Review, Michigan University Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, MI. Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 1–15, Apr–June 1999. Blower, D. “Vehicle Condition and Heavy Truck Accident Involvement.” Proceedings of the International Truck & Bus Safety & Policy Symposium, Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee, and National Safety Council, Knoxville, TN, pp. 311–322, April 3–5, 2002. Bryer, T. “Analysis of Pennsylvania Heavy Truck Crash Statistics” (mostly 1996–2000), Presentation to the Pennsylvania Truck Safety Symposium; Harrisburg, PA, January 23–24, 2002. Bushman, R., and Lindsay, C. “Improving Safety with Dynamic Warning Systems.” Proceedings of the International Truck & Bus Safety & Policy Symposium, Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee, and National Safety Council, Knoxville, TN, pp. 451–459, April 3–5, 2002. Chapman, E. Comparison of Accident and Conviction Rates for Commercial Drivers Tested Under the Employer Testing Program and Commercial Drivers Tested by DMV, Report #201, Sacramento: California Department of Motor Vehicles. 2003. Chatterjee, A., and Wegmann, F. J. “Overnight Truck Parking Along Tennessee’s Interstate Highways and Test Areas.” Transportation Research Record 1734, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, pp. 64–68, 2000. SECTION VII—KEY REFERENCES VII-2 Chen, K. J., Pecheux, K. K., Farbry, J. Jr., and Fleger, S. A. Commercial Vehicle Driver Survey: Assessment of Parking Needs and Preferences. Federal Highway Administration. Final Report No. FHWA-RD-01-160, March 2002. Clark, N. An Evaluation of California’s Commercial Driver License Drive Test, Report 149, Sacramento, CA: Department of Motor Vehicles, 1995. Corsi, T. M., and Barnard, R. E. Best Highway Safety Practices: A Survey of the Safest Motor Carriers About Safety Management Practices, Final Report, FMCSA Contract No. DTFH61-98-X-00006, 2003. Craft, R., and Blower, D. “Federal Crash Databases: Shifting the Paradigm; The Large Truck Crash Causation Study.” ITE Annual Meeting, August, 2003a. Craft, R., and Blower, D. “The Large Truck Crash Causation Study.” Presentation to the American Trucking Associations, September, 2003b. Craft, R. C., and Blower, D. “The U.S. Large Truck Crash Causation Study.” Proceedings of the International Truck & Bus Safety & Policy Symposium, Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee, and National Safety Council, Knoxville, TN, pp. 153–161, April 3–5, 2002. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Web-Based Encyclopedia. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2002. http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/ queryReport.cfm?stateid=0&year=2002. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Commercial Driver’s License Effectiveness Study. Washington, DC, 1999a. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Commercial Driver Rest & Parking Requirements: Making Space for Safety. FHWA-MCRT-98-002. 1998. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Driver-Related Factors in Crashes Between Large Trucks and Passenger Vehicles. Office of Motor Carrier and Highway Safety, Tech Brief, Publication No. FHWA-MCRT-99-011, April 1999b. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Highway Statistics 1998. FHWA-PL-99-017, November 1999c. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Speed Management Workshops: Restoring Credibility to Speed Setting: Engineering, Enforcement, and Educational Issues, Workshop Report,” http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/fourthlevel/pdf/workshopreport.pdf, 2000. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Evaluating Commercial Driver’s License Program Vulnerabilities. A Study of the States of Illinois & Florida. Washington DC, 2000a. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). FMCSA Research & Technology Annual Report: Share the Road Safely, Publication No. FMCSA-RT-02-001, 2001a. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Large Truck Crash Facts 1999. DOT-MC-01-104. Washington DC, 2001b. SECTION VII—KEY REFERENCES Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Large Truck Crash Facts 2001, FMCSA-RI-02-011. Washington DC, January 2003a. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Large Truck Crash Profile: The 1998 National Picture. DOT-MC-00-055. Washington DC, 2000b. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Intelligent Vehicle Initiative Onboard Safety Technology Workshop. Washington, DC, August 7, 2003b. (Note: A program report of this workshop, “Roll Advisor and Controller Onboard Safety Development Plan,” is in preparation. Program Manager: Amy Houser.) Fitzpatrick, K., Carlson, P., Brewer, M. A., Wooldridge, M. D., and Miaou, S.-P., NCHRP Report 504: Design Speed, Operating Speed, and Posted Speed Practices. Transportation Research Board, 2003. Fleger, S. A., Haas, R. P., Trombly, J. W., Cross, R. H. III, Noltenius, J. E., Pecheux, K. K., and Chen, K. J. Study of the Adequacy of Commercial Truck Parking Facilities—Technical Report. FHWA Report No. FHWA-RD-01-158, March 2002. Garber, N. J., and Gadiraju, R. “Impact of Differential Speed Limits on the Speed of Traffic and the Rate of Accidents.” Transportation Research Record 1375, Transportation Research Board, 1992. Garber, N. J., Miller, J. S., Yuan, B., and Sun, X. “Safety Effects of Differential Speed Limits on Rural Interstate Highways.” Transportation Research Record 1830, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 2003. General Accounting Office (GAO). Truck Safety: Share the Road Safely Program Needs Better Evaluation of Its Initiatives. GAO-03-60, May 2003. General Estimates System (GES). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 1999. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-30/ncsa/GES.html. (Follow the “GES FTP site” link to obtain files containing data used to create the chart in Exhibit III-1.) Hagge, R., and Romanowicz, P. “Evaluation of California’s Commercial Driver Program.” Accident, Analysis and Prevention. Vol. 28, No. 5, September 1996. Hamilton, P. Rest Area Forum: Summary of Proceedings, Federal Highway Administration Report No. FHWA-RD-00-034, December 1999. Hanowski, R. J., Keisler, A. S., and Wierwille, W. W. Study of Light Vehicle-Heavy Vehicle Interaction, Phase A: Study of Light Vehicle-Local/Short Haul Vehicle Interaction. FMCSA Final Report, Contract DTFH61-96-C-00105, 2001. Hartman, K., Pritchard, R., Jennings, K., Johnston, J., Knipling, R. R., MacGowan, J., Oliphant, L., Onder, M., and Sanft, C. Commercial Vehicle Safety – Technology and Practice in Europe. FHWA Office of International Programs. FHWA-PL-00-010, May 2000. Harwood, D. W., Potts, I. B., Torbic, D. J., and Glauz, W. D. CTSSP Synthesis of Safety Practice 3: Highway/Heavy Vehicle Interaction. Transportation Research Board. 2003a. Harwood, D. W., Torbic, D. J., Richard, K. R., Glauz, W. D., and Elefteriadou, L. NCHRP Report 505: Review of Truck Characteristics as Factors in Roadway Design. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. 2003b. VII-3 Hendrix, J. “Fatal Crash Rates for Tractor-Trailers by Time-of-Day.” International Truck and Bus Safety and Policy Symposium, Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee, and National Safety Council, Knoxville, TN, pp. 237–250, April 3–5, 2002. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Fatality Facts: Large Trucks. http://www.highwaysafety.org/safety_facts/trucks.htm. Accessed November 29, 2001. Iowa Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division. Resource Technology Information. Project Overview, http://www.dot.state.ia.us/natmodel/, National Model, Statewide Application of Data Collection & Management Technology to Improve Highway Safety. Accessed January 16, 2004. Knipling, R. R., Hickman, J. S., and Bergoffen, G. CTBSSP Synthesis of Safety Practice 1: Effective Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Management Techniques. Transportation Research Board. 2003. Knipling, R. R., and Shelton, T. T. “Problem Size Assessment: Large Truck Crashes Related Primarily to Driver Fatigue.” Proceedings of the Second International Large Truck Safety Symposium, E01-2510-002-00, University of Tennessee Transportation Center, Knoxville, TN, pp. 3–12, October 6–8, 1999. Kostyniuk, L. P., Streff, F. M., and Zakrajsek, J. Identifying Unsafe Driver Actions that Lead to Fatal Car-Truck Crashes. Washington DC: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, April, 2002. Mackie, R. R., Wylie, C. D., Shultz, T., Engle, R., Townsend, M., Lammlein, S. E., and Johnson, S. Development of a Recommended Testing Program for Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators (the CDL System). Washington, DC, AAMVA, 1989. Maryland Division of State Documents. PM Handbook: Preventive Maintenance Program. Annotated Code of Maryland, Transportation Article, Title 23, Subtitle 3. CODE OF MARYLAND REGULATIONS 11.22. Annapolis, January, 2000. (Also available at www.dsd.state.md.us/pm-faq.htm.) McKnight, A. J. AAMVA Guidelines for Knowledge and Skill Testing. Washington, DC, AAMVA, 1999. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Commercial Motor Vehicle Speed Control Devices. Report to Congress. Publication No. DOT-HS-807-725, NHTSA Office of Crash Avoidance Research, 1991. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 1999. DOT-HS-809-100. Washington, DC, 2000. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2000: Large Trucks. DOT-HS-809-325. Washington, DC, 2001. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2001. DOT-HS-809-484. Washington, DC, December 2002. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2002. DOT-HS-809-608. Washington, DC, 2003. National Transportation Safety Board. Safety Study: Fatigue, Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Medical Factors in Fatal-to-the-Driver Heavy Truck Crashes. PB90-917002, NTSB/SS-90/01, February, 1990. SECTION VII—KEY REFERENCES VII-4 SECTION VII—KEY REFERENCES Olsgard, P., Trostel, M., Bents, F. D., and Gilmer, D. ”Colorado Truck Safety 2000: Truck Crash Causality Study.” Proceedings of the International Truck and Bus Safety and Policy Symposium, Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee, and National Safety Council, Knoxville, TN, pp. 217–226, April 3–5, 2002. OOIDA Foundation, Inc. “Owner-Operator Opinion Survey on Trucker Rest Areas.” Paper presented at FHWA Conference on Large Truck Parking Needs, Atlanta, GA, June 30, 1999. Reported in Wegmann and Chatterjee, 1999. Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas, Inc.; Wilber Smith Associates, Inc.; The Sceintex Corporation; and Mizerak Bowers and Associates, Inc. Traffic Safety-Related Research: Truck Safety. Final Report. Project No. 359904, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT), April 2002. Patten, M. L. I-95 Corridor Coalition Field Operational Test 10: Coordinated Safety Management; Volume II: Survey of State Motor Carrier Safety Activities, Final Report, Pennsylvania Transportation Institute and PENNDOT, August 2001. Peck, R. C. “The California Driver Performance Evaluation Test—An Improved Method of Assessing Driver Competency.” New to the Road: Reducing Risks for Young Motorists, Herb Simpson, Ed., Los Angeles, CA: UCLA School of Medicine, 1996. Penn + Schoen Associates, Inc. User Acceptance of Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO) Services; Task B: Critical Issues Relating to Acceptance of CVO Services by Interstate Truck and Bus Drivers. Final Report, Contract No. DTFH61-94-R-00182, August 8, 1995. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT). Unified Truck Safety Strategy. January 2002. Powers, R. 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