National Academies Press: OpenBook

Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers (2012)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22741.
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5 1.1 Background The objective of HMCRP Project 13, “The Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers,” is to understand root factors and driver influences that are involved in—and good company practices that seek to mitigate—the approximately 1,200 cargo tank truck rollovers that occur each year in the United States. The risks and stakes are high with cargo tank trucks: liquid contents subject the vehicle to higher centrifugal forces than general cargo, leaving the driver with a smaller margin of error. In fact, the dynamics of many inci- dents are such that the rollover had already begun before the driver was aware. According to data from the Motor Carrier Management Information Survey (2007–2009), approximately 20% of cargo tank trucks that rolled over were placarded for hazardous material, raising the stakes in the event of a rollover. Fleet operators—both private and for-hire carriers—invest in technology, operations, and drivers to reduce rollover incidents. These drivers tend to be both more experienced and more highly compensated than the industry average (ATRI, 2011), but experience alone cannot be counted upon to effectively manage these risks. Safety training, company culture, constant reinforcement of awareness, vigilance against distractions and fatigue, health and wellness, and involvement of driver families are the key factors in preparing and maintaining drivers for the challenging assignment of driving a cargo tank truck. This research project identifies good practices in safety, management, and communication—practices that help cargo tank truck fleet operators reduce the likelihood of rollovers. The research also takes good practices (including training, hiring, dispatch, safety culture, technology, and other opera- tional components) from outside the industry that can be applied to achieve this result. 1.2 Scope The study encompasses driver-related factors in cargo tank truck rollovers. In order to properly assess root factors, however, crash data from a broader population of truck crashes were reviewed. Accidents that were identified as not being contributed to by driver-related factors were not included in the data analysis. In order to properly assess good prac- tices, those practices that apply on a broader safety scale and applicable practices both within and outside of the cargo tank truck industry were reviewed. 1.3 Approach The objectives of the study are (1) to identify and analyze the root factors of the major driver factors contributing to cargo tank truck rollovers and (2) to determine best safety, management, and communication practices that can be used to minimize or eliminate driver errors in cargo tank truck operations. The project activities were conducted over two phases. The first phase of the study analyzed driver-related root factors, as well as cultural and lifestyle driver influences, in cargo tank truck rollovers using federal crash databases and a sampling of over 400 Police Accident Reports (PARs) from seven states. This activity incorporated interviews with motor carriers, drivers, industry associations, regulatory agencies, and companies in other industries to identify good practices. At the conclusion of the first phase three areas of focus were identified for case studies that address the good practices in place within and outside of the motor carrier industry that can be applied by fleet operators. These Phase II case studies include training and safety programs, behavior management processes, and fitness-for-duty management programs. Identification of root factors involves the initial review of key databases identified in HMCRP Report 1: Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis. The databases are • Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents (TIFA) Survey Fact book, maintained by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI); C h a p t e r 1 Introduction

6• Hazardous Materials Information Resource System (HMIRS), maintained by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA); and • Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), also maintained by FMCSA. MCMIS and HMIRS are used to identify a sampling of over 400 PARs, as the elements in these databases are insufficient for the root factor analysis needed for this research. Seven states have provided PARs that, while varied in the depth and rich- ness of data, provide sufficient detail to identify most likely driver-related root factors. The TIFA database contains suf- ficient detail for analysis of root factors. Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) reports provide additional information that aid in the determination of cul- tural and lifestyle influences. Figure 1 describes the research approach of Tasks 1 and 2. The next tasks identify good practices employed by com- panies both within and outside of the cargo tank truck indus- try. These companies have been identified with the help of the National Tank Truck Carriers Association, American Trans- portation Research Institute (ATRI), and input from other pro- minent industry professionals and experts. The research team compiled interview guides intended to help gather responses in a consistent manner for effective evaluation, while at the same time being structured to allow the interviewer to probe as key practices were identified. All interviews have been conducted by senior research staff, enabling a rich dialogue in each of the over 40 interviews conducted. Participants range from small to large carriers; private and for-hire fleets; senior executives to drivers; domestic as well as foreign operations; other industries (including mining, barge, rail, and utilities); industry associa- tions; and federal regulatory agencies. Initial interviews also led to the identification of further interview candidates. Interviews were analyzed to determine the prominent good practices among the survey group. The factors and influences identified in Tasks 1 and 2 were incorporated into the analysis to ensure that the practices addressed critical driver-related factors in rollovers. The research team considered a number of practices for further case study research. In Phase II of the project, case studies were selected for three critical practice areas that could be quickly implemented and have long-lasting impact on operators of various sizes across the industry. The overarching goal in the selection was to ensure the applicability of the results—selecting practices that are significant enough to improve cargo tank rollover perfor- mance yet simple enough that they can be readily adopted by a broad portion of the industry. These three case studies are based upon programs and practices in place both within the industry and in other industries where operator safety is of paramount concern. Interviews, focus groups, and surveys of existing relevant technology and research are combined to first describe the current state and then to make practical recommendations on how these practices can be implemented. Appropriate tools, such as diagrams and checklists, are provided. The focus of the first case study is training and safety pro- grams, with particular attention on a VicRoads (Transportation Department of the State Government of Victoria, Australia) program on rollover prevention. The study also reviews other curricula in the United States to determine the extent to which the VicRoads curriculum and program would need to be modified to be an effective training tool in the United States. Useful training elements such as location-based incident mapping, root cause analysis, and a comprehensive rollover program evaluation checklist are also included. The focus of the second case study is on behavior manage- ment processes. The study assesses the role of on-board tech- nology, direct observation (i.e., ride-along), training, and other tools and methods in managing driver behavior. The study includes a survey of current technology and interviews with operators with demonstrated successful behavior management processes. The study provides useful information for operators to implement processes in their companies. The focus of the third case study is on driver fitness-for- duty management programs. The study looks closely at four key areas: 1. Fatigue management, 2. General health and wellness, 3. Understanding the effects of off-duty activities and sched- ule, and 4. Awareness of distractions that can affect the driver’s state of mind. Information useful to tank truck operators to better ensure the fitness and readiness of drivers through their shift is derived from interviews within and outside of the cargo tank truck industry, along with reviews of relevant initiatives and pro- grams within and outside of the United States. State PARs TIFA TASK 1: Root Factor Analysis TASK 2: Cultural and Lifestyle Influences Truck and Bus synthesis reports Figure 1. Tasks 1 and 2 research approach to identify root factors and influences.

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TRB’s Hazardous Materials Cooperative Research Program (HMCRP) Report 7: Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers analyzes the causes of the major driver factors contributing to cargo tank truck rollovers and offers safety, management, and communication practices that can be used to help potentially minimize or eliminate driver errors in cargo tank truck operations.

The report focuses on three areas of practice--rollover-specific driver training and safety programs, the use of behavior management techniques, and the use of fitness-for-duty management practices--that could have long-lasting benefits for motor carriers of all sizes across the tank truck industry.

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