Connect with us

The Nation

Trucking Alliance says greatest pressure on industry is reducing crashes

Published

on

In 2017, the last reportable year, there were more than 415,000 large truck accidents in the U.S. in which 4,761 were killed, including more than 600 truck drivers and 148,000 were injured. (Associated Press: RHONDA SCHOLTING/West Metro Fire Rescue)

WASHINGTON — Although it didn’t have a seat at the witness table for Wednesday’s “Under Pressure: The State of Trucking in America” hearing before the House Highways and Transit, the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, better known as the Trucking Alliance, submitted comments touching several key areas of the trucking industry.

Among other things, the Alliance said:

  • There should be no greater pressure on the trucking industry than to reduce large truck crash fatalities and injuries because large truck crash fatalities can be eliminated.
  • No industry segment should be exempt from installing electronic logging devices.
  • Thousands of commercial truck drivers are illicit drug users.
  • Truck drivers should be 21 years old or older to operate commercial trucks in interstate commerce.
  • Large trucks should adhere to a reasonable maximum speed of 65 mph.
  • Collision mitigation systems should be required on new commercial trucks.

Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA in Little Rock, Arkansas, who is co-founder of the Trucking Alliance and serves as the coalition’s president, noted that 2017, the last reportable year, there were more than 415,000 large truck accidents in the U.S. in which 4,761 were killed, including more than 600 truck drivers and 148,000 were injured.

“These statistics should alarm every trucking company employer, whose drivers share the road with millions of motorists every day,” Williams said. “The trucking industry is indispensable to the US economy,” Williams recently said. “But the industry has too many accidents. More truck drivers lost their lives in 2017, than in any year in the previous 10 years. We must aggressively address these tragic figures.”

Williams believes a first step is to reverse the industry priorities. “Support progressive safety reforms that make sense for our country and citizens first, our industry second, and our companies third,” he said. “Yet several trucking-specific bills before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee would propose the opposite – legislation to benefit companies first, the trucking industry second, and our country and citizens, third. This committee must adopt safety reforms to reduce large truck crashes and reject legislation that would appease special interests but sacrifice public safety in the process.”

Williams noted that ELDs play a major role in reducing truck crashes, yet rather than embrace ELDs for the safety benefits they will achieve, certain industry segments want an exemption from ELDs.

He said there are at least two bills before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that would allow thousands of truck drivers of agricultural goods to operate “off the grid” and without a reliable way to verify whether they are in compliance with on-duty regulations. These bills would compromise public safety.

Another bill would allow any motor carrier that operates 10 or fewer trucks to operate without an ELD.

According to data provided by the American Trucking Associations, over 90 percent of the nation’s motor carriers have 10 or fewer trucks.

In its comments, the Trucking Alliance also renewed its push for hair testing for substance abuse.

Williams said the Alliance recently submitted data to the Department of Transportation showing “compelling evidence” that thousands of habitual drug users are manipulating federal drug test protocols and obtaining jobs as commercial truck drivers.

He said the survey data compared the pre-employment drug test results of 151,662 truck driver applicants, who were asked to submit to two drug tests — a urinalysis and a hair analysis. Almost all applicants held an active commercial driver license. Williams said 94% of the truck driver applicants tested drug-free. However, thousands of applicants failed either or both drug tests.

“Alarmingly, the urinalysis, the only method recognized by USDOT, and relied on by almost all trucking company employers, actually failed to identify most drug abusers,” Williams said. “The urinalysis detected drugs in 949 applicants, about 1% of the population. However, 8.6%, or 8,878 truck driver applicants, either failed or refused the hair test. Put another way, the urinalysis missed nine out of 10 actual illicit drug users.”

The Trucking Alliance is probably the most prominent group that is lobbying against any efforts to allow drivers under 21 to operate in interstate commerce.

“Most states allow teenagers between the ages of 18-21 to operate commercial trucks within their state boundary,” Williams said. “While statistics are lacking, anecdotal evidence suggests these teenage truck drivers operate lighter weight, short trucks, such as delivery vans and straight or panel trucks. Few teenagers actually operate Class 8 tractor-trailer combinations within their state. These big rigs carry a laden weight of 80,000 pounds. These are the tractor trailers used in interstate commerce. Operating these tractor trailer combinations requires elevated skills, considerable experience, maturity and self-discipline.”

Williams said the Trucking Alliance supports a new federal safety standard that would require all large commercial trucks to maintain a maximum speed limit of 65 mph on the nation’s highways.

According to NHTSA, in 2017, speeding was one of the factors for almost 27% of motor vehicle crash deaths. The World Health Organization’s “Report on Road Safety” estimates that for every 1% increase in mean speed, there is a 4% increase in the fatal crash risk and a 3% increase in the serious crash risk. The top speed of large tractor trailer combinations should be limited.

The trucking industry has historically supported truck speed limiters.

As for safety systems, Williams said collision mitigation systems installed in commercial trucks can reduce large truck crashes.

He said the Trucking Alliance supports the conclusions of a 2017 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study. The study, entitled “Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains,” researched four truck safety technologies, all of which can greatly reduce injuries and fatalities in large truck crashes:

  • Lane departure warning systems, which detect when the vehicle drifts out of its lane and warns the driver
  • Video-based onboard safety monitoring, which utilizes in-vehicle video cameras and sensors.
  • Automatic emergency braking systems, which detect when the truck is in danger of striking the vehicle in front of it and brakes automatically, if needed.
  • Air disc brakes, which will eventually be superior to traditional drum brakes, as these systems are continually improved.

Some of the largest trucking companies in the U.S. are members of the Trucker Alliance, including Cargo Transporters, Dupre, J.B. Hunt, KLLM Transport Services, Knight Transportation, Maverick Transportation, Swift, U.S. Xpress and May Trucking Co.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Charles Stein

    June 13, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Most of what is being said in this article is correct. However what bothers me is the 65 mph maximum speed. If imposed on all trucks, this would essentially create a split speed limit. These have been proven over and over again to be counter productive to safety. You have disarmed the larger vehicle and made it a sitting duck in traffic. In many states that used to have a split speed, trucks were often involved in being rear ended by cars. The real problems are that drivers still are being pressed for time. Trying to make at times tough schedules, and having to put up with delays at the customer. To which many of the aforementioned members of trucker alliance say that paying drivers fifteen dollars an hour after giving up two hours is adequate. They have limited drivers pay for waiting now they also want to limit their speed as well. This translates into drivers being late having to babysit loads without compensation. The real problem for the most part is distracted driving, people in cars who don’t know how to drive around trucks, and horrible infrastructure. If a driver of a large truck keeps a good following distance in front of himself, it doesn’t matter how fast he is traveling.

  2. William

    June 13, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    This isn’t rocket science, you want to cut down on truck crashes, lose electronic logs. We realize they’re here to stay, but drivers are racing the clock, taking more chances etc…

  3. Randy

    June 14, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    What William said, and the members of the Trucker Alliance are the ones that are in the most wrecks and fatal collisions

  4. D Allen

    June 16, 2019 at 11:11 am

    No doubt focus should continue to be on safety on ALL on-road vehicles, but one frustrating item is the omission of the fact that the vast majority of fatality accidents involving heavy trucks are not the fault of the truck driver (or his/her truck). The latest statistics indicate over 75% of fatality accidents involving heavy trucks are the fault of the adverse.

  5. Dan g.

    June 30, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Sorry but turning trucks down to 65 mph? As a driver who has been driving a truck at 65 for pass 10 years, I can say u are dead wrong. It’s not safe it actually been proven to be unsafe.. elds are find. But the issue is unless u get shipper and receivers to stop keeping us at docks forever and get truck companies to set realistic safe transit time, and not force drivers to run bat out of hell, nothing going to change.. if there must be a speed limit it should be at a safe REASONABLE speed like 72..65 is way 2 slow.. engine works way too hard as it is and according 2 dealers, when trucks do less than 70 mph, the engine does not do a proper Regen because the engine doesn’t get hot enough. What is needed on the roads is more police in unmarked cars, NOT HARASSING truckers.. but going after other motorist who cut truckers off and do unsafe things around trucks.. other motorist who see mark police cars drive good but when they not around is when they do stupid things

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Nation

39 people found dead in truck container in southeast England

Published

on

Police officers attend the scene after a truck, in rear, was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England, early Wednesday October 23, 2019. Police in southeastern England said that 39 people were found dead Wednesday inside a truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria. (Associated Press: ALASTAIR GRANT)

LONDON — Investigators were trying to piece together the movements of a large cargo truck found Wednesday containing the bodies of 39 people in one of Britain’s worst people smuggling tragedies.

Details about the victims, including where they were from, were scarce. Police in southeast England said they have not been identified — a process they warned would be slow.

The truck’s driver — a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland — was arrested on suspicion of murder. He has not been charged and his name has not been released.

He and other drivers who may have been at the wheel before him would have taken advantage of the European Union’s generally open borders to travel in several countries without border checks. Britain remains an attractive destination for immigrants, even as the U.K. is negotiating its divorce from the EU.

In Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson put aside the Brexit crisis, at least for a few minutes, and vowed that the people traffickers would be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“All such traders in human beings should be hunted down and brought to justice,” he said.

Ambulance workers discovered the bodies after being called at 1:40 a.m. to a truck on the grounds of the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of London on the River Thames. It was unclear who called the ambulance service.

No cause of death has been made public. Police said one victim appeared to be a teenager but gave no further details.

Police initially said the cargo truck had traveled through Ireland and then to Wales via ferry. But Essex police later said they believe the container with the people inside went from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, England, where it arrived early Wednesday. Police said they believe the tractor unit traveled from Northern Ireland and picked up the container unit.

“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our inquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened,” Essex Police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner told reporters.

The cargo truck had a Bulgaria registration, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said in a news release. But Bulgarian authorities said they could not yet confirm that the truck had started its journey there. The Foreign Ministry said the Swedish-made “Scania” truck was registered in the Bulgarian Black Sea port city of Varna to a company owned by a woman from Ireland.

“We are in contact with our embassy in London and with British authorities,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tsvetana Krasteva said.

The number of victims was shocking, although it has become sadly common in recent years for small numbers of migrants to occasionally be found dead in sealed vehicles after having been abandoned by traffickers.

The tragedy recalls the death of 58 migrants in 2000 in a truck in Dover, England, and the deaths in 2015 of 71 migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who were found suffocated in the back of a refrigerated truck that was abandoned on an Austrian highway close to the Hungarian border.

It seems likely the traffickers shunned the most popular English Channel route from Calais, France, to Dover, England because of increased surveillance at those ports and instead chose a more circuitous route.

Dover and Calais, which have been under pressure from human traffickers for years, have sniffer dogs, monitors and more advanced technological surveillance due to the fact that they are the endpoints for the Channel Tunnel between France and Britain.

Groups of migrants have repeatedly landed on English shores using small boats for the risky Channel crossing, and migrants are sometimes found in the trunks of cars that disembark from the massive ferries that link France and England, but Wednesday’s macabre find in an industrial park was a reminder that trafficking gangs are still profiting from the human trade.

“To put 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil,” lawmaker Jackie Doyle-Price, who represents the region in parliament, told Parliament.

The National Crime Agency said its specialists were working to “urgently identify and take action against any organized crime groups who have played a role in causing these deaths.”

It said in May that the number of people being smuggled into Britain via cargo trucks was on the rise.

Continue Reading

The Nation

CDL Meals forms partnership with American Association of Owner-Operators

Published

on

CDL Meals offers a variety of organic chef-prepared meals that help drivers make healthy eating choices while on the road. (Courtesy: CDL MEALS)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — CDL Meals, the division of Fresh n’ Lean focusing on healthful meal options for professional truck and bus drivers, has formed a partnership with the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO).

CDL Meals offers a variety of organic chef-prepared meals that help drivers make healthy eating choices while on the road.

“We could not be more excited to launch our first healthy-eating alliance with AAOO,” said Bob Perry, director of CDL Meals. “We believe that people working in all industries deserve to live a healthy lifestyle and have access to the tools they need to ensure overall wellbeing, despite industry standards and limitations. CDL Meals has already made a positive impact on drivers and through this partnership, more operators can benefit from the quality meal plans.”

The American Association of Owner Operators is a nationwide organization dedicated to providing professional truckers and small fleet owners with the latest technology, benefits and assistance to advance in today’s trucking industry.

Perry said through the partnership, members of the AAOO will have access to CDL’s seasonal menus, free nationwide delivery and the promise of fresh, affordable meals on the road.

“We are so thankful the team at Fresh n’ Lean saw an opening to help improve the wellbeing of those in the trucking industry,” said David Huff, CEO of AAOO. “We are committed to helping drivers stay safe while out on the road so they can get back home to their family and friends. “Good nutrition is the most important part of staying healthy and staying healthy is a huge factor in staying safe. That’s why we are so excited to partner with CDL Meals and provide great tasting meals at an affordable price to our members.”

Perry said CDL Meals is a service formulated especially for commercially licensed drivers to deliver chef-prepared food items anywhere within the U.S. using organic ingredients to create balanced, wholesome meals. Each menu option consists of a combination of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and vegetables. All meals are delivered fresh and can be refrigerated for up to seven days. The vacuum-sealed trays can be heated quickly and enjoyed at any time.

Along with the meals, each purchase comes with a 14-page driver wellness education booklet that includes dietary tips, an exercise plan, and suggestions to improve overall health through simple lifestyle changes.

For more information on CDL Meals, visit www.cdlmeals.com.

For more information on AAOO, visit https://aaofoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

The Nation

NHTSA: Overall traffic fatalities in 2018 decline 2.4%, 2019 drop likely

Published

on

NHTSA said the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Tuesday released highway crash fatality data for 2018, showing a 2.4% decline in overall fatalities, the second consecutive year of reduced crash fatalities.

“This is encouraging news, but still far too many perished or were injured, and nearly all crashes are preventable, so much more work remains to be done to make America’s roads safer for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.

The data, compiled by NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), shows that highway fatalities decreased in 2018 with 913 fewer fatalities, down to 36,560 people from 37,473 people in 2017. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014.

The 2018 FARS release also clarifies previously released data on large trucks involved in fatal crashes. NHTSA reexamined supporting material and reclassified several light pickup trucks to an appropriate large truck category (10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). As a result, the 9% increase in large-truck-related fatalities reported for 2017 has been revised to 4.9%. For 2018, large-truck related fatalities increased by 0.9 percent. The details of the scope of the changes are documented in the 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes overview research note.

No data was available on Class 8 tractor-trailer combinations.

Other findings from the 2018 FARS data include:

  • Fatalities among children (14 and younger) declined 10.3%
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities declined 3.6%
  • Speeding-related fatalities declined 5.7%
  • Motorcyclist fatalities declined 4.7 percent.

“New vehicles are safer than older ones and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said. “NHTSA has spent recent years partnering with state and local governments and safety advocates to urge the public to never drive impaired or distracted, to avoid excessive speed, and to always buckle up.”

Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governor Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said the organization was pleased to see the 2018 decline and the estimated 3.4% dip thus far in 2019.

“A decline in 2019 would mark three straight years of fewer fatalities despite a strong economy, which typically correlates with increased traffic deaths,” he said. “However, the only acceptable level of deaths is zero, and we will not rest until that is achieved.”

Adkins said GHSA was glad to note progress in reducing alcohol-related, speeding-related and motorcyclist fatalities in 2018.

“The tremendous investments made today in highway safety have been beneficial, but clearly not commensurate with the need,” Adkins said. “GHSA is committed to working with our partners in the federal government, advocacy community and at the state and local level to accelerate the momentum toward zero deaths on our nation’s roadways.”

NHTSA said the projected 2019 decline translates to an estimated first-half 2019 fatality rate of 1.06, the lowest first-half level since 2015. The estimates for the second quarter of 2019 represent the seventh-consecutive year-over-year quarterly decline in fatalities, starting in the last quarter of 2017.

NHTSA is identifying opportunities to leverage its resources and collaborate with modal partners within USDOT to reduce fatalities among pedestrians and pedalcyclists (bicyclists and riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals), among whom 2018 fatalities unfortunately increased by 3.4% (to 6,283) and 6.3% (to 857), respectively.

With the release of the 2018 and 2019 data, NHTSA also introduced its new Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST), a modernized crash query tool that lets users not only query fatal crash data but also generate estimates of crashes and people injured in crashes. The upgraded functionalities in the new tool include generating multi-year trends, estimates of alcohol involvement, and charting/tabulation/mapping of query results. The tool, along with instructions on its usage, can be accessed here.

Continue Reading

Trending