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FMCSA proposes permanent crash preventability determination program

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After a two-year demonstration program to determine its viability and usefulness, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to make permanent a program to determine the preventability of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles. (Courtesy: FOTOSEARCH)

WASHINGTON – For two years, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been conducting a crash preventability demonstration program to see if it could more accurately recognize possible safety risks on our nation’s roads. Of primary importance to truckers, the program aimed to examine the feasibility, costs, and benefits of determining and displaying the preventability of certain types of crashes.

It appears the agency has seen enough. Back in March, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, while speaking at the Mid-America Trucking Show, said that based on the data that had come in since the demonstration program began in August, FMCSA intended to create a permanent version of the program its Safety Measurement System (SMS).

On Wednesday, FMCSA released an announcement that a permanent version of the crash preventability determination program had been designed, and the intention is to make it a permanent part of SMS as of October 1. In the meantime, the agency wanted the public to have a 60-day window to take an early look at the program and give comments.

Ever since the FMCSA initiated its SMS, the trucking industry has complained about how the Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Category, or BASIC, records all accidents without differentiating whether the accident was preventable. FMCSA began the demonstration program, accepting requests for data reviews (RDRs) to evaluate the preventability of certain categories of crashes through its national data correction system, called DataQs.

Based on input from the American Trucking Associations, FMCSA limited the RDR reviews to those that fell into one of eight categories of crash types:

  1. When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was struck by a motorist driving under the influence (or related offense);
  2. When the CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction;
  3. When the CMV was struck in the rear;
  4. When the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked, including when the vehicle was unattended;
  5. When the CMV struck an individual committing, or attempting to commit, suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV;
  6. When the CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal in the roadway;
  7. When the crash was the result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees, rocks, or other debris; or
  8. When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.

Between August 1, 2017, and May 31, 2019, a total of 12,249 RDRs from 3,558 carriers were submitted to FMCSA for review. Of those, 5,619 were determined to fit into one of the crash types.

After review, FMCSA reported, about 93% of the crashes were determined to have been “not preventable, which high percentages in all eight categories. For example, in the category, “When the CMV was struck in the rear,” 3,675 of 3,927 incidents were determined to be “not preventable.” In the category “When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was struck by a motorist driving under the influence (or related offense),” it was 386 out of 417.

Prior to starting the demonstration program, FMCSA specified that in cases in which it was determined the CMV operator was operating with an out-of-service condition at the time, that crash would automatically be deemed “Preventable.” According to FMCSA, the majority of incidents that were determined to be preventable were for that reason.

In its announcement Wednesday, FMCSA said with its revised crash preventability determination program, it plans to adjust and expand the categories of crashes that can be evaluated from eight to 15.

First, FMCSA would combine the crash type involving infrastructure failure and debris and involving CMVs struck by cargo and equipment into a single category. The “Motorist under the influence” category would be changed to “Individuals under the influence,” to include bicyclists and pedestrians.

Several new categories would also be added, based on RDRs that were submitted but did not meet the original categories. They are:

  1. When the CMV is struck on the side near the rear, when the other driver was in another lane before the impact,
  2. When the CMV is struck by a vehicle that did not slow or stop in traffic,
  3. When the CMV is struck by a vehicle that failed to stop at a traffic control device, such as a stop or yield sign or a red light,
  4. When the CMV is struck by a vehicle making a U-turn or illegal turn,
  5. When the CMV is struck by a driver experiencing a medical issue that causes the crash,
  6. When the CMV is struck by a driver who admits to falling asleep or to distracted driving,
  7. When the crash involved a person who was under the influence, even if the CMV was struck by another vehicle involved other than the one driven by the person who was under the influence, and
  8. When the crash involved a person driving in the wrong direction, even if the CMV was struck by a vehicle other than the one that was driving in the wrong direction.

FMCSA said it plans to review the results of these new categories for up to 24 months to determine their effectiveness.

Under the proposal, crashes on or after August 1 will continue to display in SMS, but with a notation of “Not Preventable,” “Preventable” or “Undecided.” Crashes deemed “Not Preventable will be removed from SMS Crash Indicator BASIC calculations.

“Data drives our agency’s decisions, and the information we’ve received and analyzed during the demonstration project informed our action today to expand and improve the crash preventability program,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez.  “We’ve listened to carriers, drivers, and other commercial motor vehicle stakeholders throughout each step of this process, and strongly encourage all interested parties to submit comments on our proposed changes.”

For more information about the proposal, including how to submit comments to the Federal Register docket, click  here.

Learn more about FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program here.

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1 Comment

  1. Mike

    August 1, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    If you people in government knew just one thing when you make a brainiacs decision you mess it all up you want to save love .. bullshit you want big business money is all why did you ever deregulate tricking it’s to big and it worked before we have the same rates as in 1970’s yea today that’s the truth you opened up brokerage with a 75000 bond give authority for 500 dollars if you don’t speak English the dot can’t put them out of service over 1/2 of trucks have forgiveness driving most don’t have a class one just a drivers license oh don’t belive me call the fuel desk at pilot or loves or Petro and ask you make a job that use to have pride into a geto where is there a job that has a hourly limit and a %pay ,, you want to fix it keep the eld and change all rates to hourly pay 10 mph over the limit lost lisense for 3 months 170,000 for a tractor 50000 for a trailer and 2.00 per mile pay u got accounts tell them to figure that one out vans 100,flat125,rgn150 add for weight and permits then no more speeding no more old junk sales go up taxes go up profit or call the teamsters tell Hoffa to regulate it again for everyone the whole country but u won’t you just like Hillary money for play who do you think your kiddin

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The Nation

CDL Meals offering special promotion for driver appreciation week

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CDL Meals are chef developed using wholesome, organic ingredients and offer a flavorful balanced meal that includes protein, carbs, and vegetables. (Courtesy: CDL MEALS)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — CDL Meals, the division of Fresh n’ Lean that focuses on nutritious offerings for truck drivers, is offering a special promotion to help transportation companies celebrate National Driver Appreciation Week.

For National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW), fleet operators can purchase discounted meals and receive free Hot Logic heating bags.

There is a minimum purchase of 50 meals required to receive the free bag. Purchases of 100 meals receive two free bags.

Companies can also purchase gift cards for drivers to buy meals at their convenience. Orders are being taken through August 30.

The annual NTDAW, taking place this year September 8-14 commemorates and honors all professional drivers for their hard work and commitment to one of the country’s most demanding jobs.

“We are proud to support drivers across the country with delicious food that encourages better health,” said Bob Perry, director of CDL Meals. “This special promotion gives fleets a chance to support their drivers with something that’s good for them, too.”

The nature of truck driving can also lend itself to a less than healthy lifestyle, which is why CDL Meals focuses solely on this underserved profession.

CDL Meals are chef developed using wholesome, organic ingredients and offer a flavorful balanced meal that includes protein, carbs, and vegetables. The meals are delivered fresh and can be refrigerated for up to seven days. The vacuum sealed trays can be heated quickly and enjoyed any time. Along with the meals, CDL provides a driver wellness education booklet with tips and suggestions to improve your health with easy lifestyle changes. Meals are $10 each for purchases up to 100 meals, with cost savings when purchasing more than 150 meals.

CDL Meals was launched earlier this year and was a beneficial part of the healthful transformation for Danny Jewell, 2018 Owner/Operator of the Year, who lost more than 25 pounds with the meal plan and coaching from Bob Perry, the Trucker Trainer.

With more than 50 years on the road and 6 million miles without an incident, Jewell was recognized for his professionalism and commitment to the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nation

Safety council says motor vehicle deaths in 2019 projected to go below 40,000

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The estimate for 2019 caps a three-year period in which roadway deaths topped 40,000 each year for the first time since the mid-2000s. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

ITASCA, Ill. — Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council indicate the four-year upward trend in motor vehicle deaths that began in 2015 is ebbing with the number of fatalities in the first six months of 2019 dropping 3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2018.

An estimated 18,580 people died on U.S. roadways between January and June of this year, compared to the council’s revised estimate of 19,060 during the same period last year. An additional 2.1 million people are estimated to have sustained serious crash-related injuries during the first six months of 2018 – a 1 percent drop from 2018 six-month projections.

The estimate caps a three-year period in which roadway deaths topped 40,000 each year for the first time since the mid-2000s.

A total of 118,315 people died on the roadways between 2015 and 2017, and an estimated 40,000 additional people perished last year.

However, drivers still face the same fatality risk this year as they did when fatalities were eclipsing 40,000 annually, because the estimated annual rate of deaths per miles driven has remained stable – NSC estimates 1.2 deaths per every million vehicle miles traveled, unchanged from 2018 rates.

“While the numbers indicate a slight improvement, the rate of deaths remains stagnant, and 18,580 deaths so far this year is unacceptable,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We cannot accept death as the price of mobility. We urge all drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive defensively.”

The council’s early estimates indicate significant progress in some states. In the first half of this year, several states have experienced at least a 10% percent drop in motor vehicle deaths, including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah. A sample of states with increases through the first six months include Kentucky (6%), Hawaii (20%), Oregon (6%) and New Mexico (15%).

A complete list of state results is available here.

To help ensure safer roads, NSC urges motorists to:

  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions. Visit nsc.org for defensive driving tips.
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from cannabis and opioids. Visit StopEverydayKillers.org to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis.
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. Visit DriveitHOME.org for resources.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. Visit MyCarDoesWhat.org for information.
  • Fix recalls immediately. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.
  • Ask lawmakers and state leaders to protect travelers on state roadways. The NSC State of Safety report shows which states have the strongest and weakest traffic safety laws.
  • Get involved in the Road to Zero Coalition, a group of more than 900 organizations across the country focused on eliminating roadway deaths by 2050. Visit nsc.org/roadtozero to join.

The National Safety Council has tracked fatality trends and issued estimates for nearly 100 years. All estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as the data mature. NSC collects fatality data every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, so that deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways – such as parking lots and driveways – are included in the estimates.

Supplemental estimate information can be found here.

The NSC defines “serious” injuries as those requiring medical attention.

The National Safety Council uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics – an arm of the CDC – when calculating its estimates, because these data are the most comprehensive and inclusive numbers available.

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The Nation

TTI report: Travel demand growing faster than system’s ability to absorb that demand

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas — If more Americans are working, a new report confirms, more of us are also tied up in traffic.

The picture is painted clearly in the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, published by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).

Along with illustrating the problem, researchers also stress the same straightforward solutions they’ve long advocated: more of everything — roads, transit, squeezing as much efficiency out of the existing system as possible, reducing demand through telework, better balancing demand, and roadway capacity by adjusting work hours, and smarter land use.

“No single approach will ever solve this complex problem,” said Tim Lomax, a report author, and Regents Fellow at TTI. “We know what works. What the country needs is a robust, information-powered conversation at the local, state and national levels about what steps should be taken. We have many strategies; we have to figure out the right solution for each problem and a way to pay for them.”

The United States added 1.9 million jobs from 2016 to 2017 — slower growth than the 2.3 million-plus growth in four of the five previous years, but more than enough to exacerbate the nation’s traffic woes. TTI’s gridlock data extends back to 1982, when Ronald Reagan was in his first term, a postage stamp cost 20 cents, and gas was about $1.25 a gallon. Since that time, the number of jobs in the nation has grown almost nonstop by just over 50 percent to the current total of 153 million.

Furthermore, since 1982:

  • The number of hours per commuter lost to traffic delay has nearly tripled, climbing to 54 hours a year.
  • The annual cost of that delay per commuter has nearly doubled, to $1,010.
  • The nationwide cost of gridlock has grown more than tenfold, to $166 billion a year.
  • The amount of fuel wasted in stalled traffic has more than tripled, to 3.3 billion gallons a year.

“The value of investing in our nation’s transportation infrastructure in a strategic and effective manner cannot be overstated as these added costs impact our national productivity, quality of life, economic efficiency and global competitiveness,” said Marc Williams, deputy executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, which funded the TTI research. The 2008–2009 recession produced only a brief pause in traffic congestion growth, which bounced back at an even quicker pace than associated job recovery.

The result of today’s urban congestion is that the average freeway traveler has to allow almost twice the expected trip duration to ensure dependable arrival for time-sensitive things like medical appointments, day-care pickup, and airline flights compared to what would be required without congestion. Instead of the 20 minutes needed in light traffic, it’s best to plan a 34-minute trip.

“Those minutes don’t sound like much, but they add up quickly over a year,” says David Schrank, a TTI senior research scientist, and report author. “Eventually, we’re talking billions of wasted hours, and the cost of delay at that scale is just enormous.” Simply put, travel demand is growing faster than the system’s ability to absorb that demand. Once considered a problem exclusive to big cities, roadway gridlock now afflicts urban areas of all sizes and consumes far more of each day, making “rush hour” a long-outdated reference.

“The problem affects not only commuters, but also manufacturers and shippers whose travel delay costs are passed on to consumers,” said Bill Eisele, a report author, and TTI senior research engineer. “While trucks constitute only 7 percent of road traffic, they account for 12 percent of congestion cost.”

Researchers emphasize that it’s urgent for the nation to develop consensus on specific strategies for each urban travel corridor now, since major projects, programs, and funding strategies take a decade or more to develop and bear fruit.

Almost every strategy works somewhere and in some situations, they say, and almost every strategy is the wrong idea in certain places at certain times. Using a balanced and diversified approach that focuses on more of everything — tempered by realistic expectations — is the best way forward.

The 2019 Urban Mobility Report examines conditions in 494 urban areas across all states and Puerto Rico. The research was supported by INRIX, a leading provider of transportation data and analytics.

For a nationwide interactive map of congestion conditions visit https://mobility.tamu.edu/umr/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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