National Academies Press: OpenBook

A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks (2004)

Chapter: Section I - Summary

« Previous: Front Matter
Page 1
Suggested Citation:"Section I - Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23424.
×
Page 1
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"Section I - Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23424.
×
Page 2
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Section I - Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23424.
×
Page 3
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Section I - Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23424.
×
Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Section I - Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23424.
×
Page 5

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

I-1 SECTION I Summary Introduction The AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan identified 22 goals to be pursued to achieve a significant reduction in highway crash fatalities. One of the hallmarks of the plan is to approach safety problems in a comprehensive manner. The range of strategies available in the guides will ultimately cover various aspects of the road user, the highway, the vehicle, the environment, and the management system. The guides strongly encourage the user to develop a program to tackle a particular emphasis area from each of these perspectives in a coordinated manner. To facilitate such use, the online form of the material uses hypertext linkages to enable seamless integration of various approaches to a given problem. As more guides are developed for other emphasis areas, the extent and usefulness of this form of implementation will become ever more apparent. AASHTO’s overall goal is to move away from independent activities of engineers, law enforcement, educators, judges, and other highway safety specialists, and to move to coordinated efforts. The implementation process outlined in the series of guides promotes the formation of working groups and alliances that represent all of the elements of the safety system. The working groups and alliances can draw upon their combined expertise to reach the bottom-line goal of targeted reduction of crashes and fatalities associated with a particular emphasis area. Goal 12 in the Strategic Highway Safety Plan is Making Truck Travel Safer. Truck safety is the result of many interacting factors, some more directly under state control than others. However, even those aspects of trucking that fall primarily into the private sector (motor carriers, shippers, and receivers) fall under the jurisdiction of state and federal regulations. Both the regulations and their enforcement can affect truck safety. Heavy-truck crashes, especially those involving other vehicles, are likely to result in serious injury. Because heavy-truck crashes have a variety of causes, a comprehensive effort to reduce them must focus on a range of targets, including behavioral, environmental, and operational targets. Effective solutions will require broad-based cooperation and the participation of both public and private entities. The private sector—the trucking industry and the many motor carriers composing it—plays the most fundamental role of managing carrier compliance with regulations and implementing safety processes beyond compliance that further enhance carrier safety. Federal, state, and local governments also play essential roles, focusing largely on regulation and enforcement, but also involving engineering and educational initiatives. In particular, state leadership and support can make a major difference in reducing truck crashes and resulting injury and death. General Description of the Problem The 2001 statistics from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) show that, of 42,116 persons killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States, 5,082, or 12.1 percent, were in

crashes involving heavy trucks, defined as having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [FMCSA], 2003a). One in eight traffic fatalities involved a heavy truck. Of these, most involved large trucks with a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds. Heavy trucks have continued to account for between 12 and 13 percent of all traffic fatalities, with the largest proportion occurring to persons outside the truck (mostly occupants of other vehicles, but also nonoccupants, e.g., pedestrians and bicyclists). In 2001 there were also about 131,000 persons injured in heavy- truck crashes; again, most of these injuries were to persons other than the truck occupants. Although large-truck involvement in fatal crashes has decreased from 5.0 per hundred vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) in 1980 to 2.1 per 100 million VMT in 2001, this rate is still much higher than that for passenger vehicles, which was 1.3 in 2001 (FMCSA, 2003a). Exhibit I-1 shows the distribution of fatalities in large-truck crashes in 2001. SECTION I—SUMMARY I-2 EXHIBIT I-1 Fatalities in Crashes Involving Large Trucks, 2001 (FMCSA, 2003a) Victim Type Number % of Total Occupants of Large Trucks 702 14 Single Vehicle 392 8 Multiple Vehicle 310 6 Occupants of Other Vehicles in Crashes Involving Large Trucks 3,953 78 Nonoccupants (Pedestrians, Pedal Cyclists, etc.) 427 8 Total 5,082 100 Yet drivers of heavy trucks appear to engage in fewer unsafe driving practices than do drivers in general. 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 (FHWA, 1999c; Blower, 1999). Studies of vehicle highway speeds in North America indicate that drivers of heavy vehicles generally exceed posted speed limits less often, and by smaller margins, than drivers of light vehicles (Tardif, 2003; NHTSA, 1991). In addition, crash-involved truck drivers are much less likely than passenger vehicle drivers to drive under the influence of alcohol. Even though truck drivers appear to be better drivers than those of other vehicles, truck crashes are more likely to result in fatality because of the vehicle’s size, weight, and stiffness. In 1999, heavy trucks accounted for 4 percent of all registered vehicles and 8 percent of total vehicle-miles traveled, but they accounted for 9 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes (NHTSA, 2001). Thus, heavy trucks are overrepresented in fatal crashes. Compared with passenger cars, when a heavy truck is involved in a crash, it is about 2.6 times as likely to result in a fatality. The average overall human and property “harm” in large-truck crashes is about twice the average of crashes involving only passenger vehicles (Wang et al., 1999). Heavy-truck crashes account for 23 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in

SECTION I—SUMMARY multivehicle crashes and 12 percent of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2001). The factors contributing to truck crashes are many and include other drivers, truck driver errors, environmental characteristics, vehicle condition, and operational practices. Exhibit I-2 shows the proportion of each vehicle type in crashes and in registered vehicles for 1999. I-3 Objectives of the Emphasis Area To reduce the number of heavy-truck fatality crashes, the objectives should include the following: • Reduce truck driver fatigue. • Strengthen commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements and enforcement. • Increase public knowledge about sharing the road. • Improve maintenance of heavy trucks. • Identify and correct unsafe roadway and operational characteristics. • Improve and enhance truck safety data. • Promote industry safety initiatives. EXHIBIT I-2 Vehicle Type by Crash Severity and Registered Vehicles (NHTSA, 2001) Fatal MotorcyclesHeavy Trucks Light Trucks Cars Injury MotorcyclesHeavy Trucks Light Trucks Cars Property Damage MotorcyclesHeavy Trucks Light Trucks Cars Registered MotorcyclesHeavy Trucks Light Trucks Cars

EXHIBIT I-3 Emphasis Area Objectives and Strategies Objectives Strategies 12.1 A Reduce fatigue- related crashes 12.1 B Strengthen CDL program 12.1 C Increase knowledge re: sharing the road 12.1 D Improve maintenance of heavy trucks Explanation of Objectives In general, safety can be enhanced by improvements to drivers, vehicles, or the roadway environment. In the case of truck safety, improved fleet safety management by motor carriers is an additional desirable focus. This report describes a variety of initiatives relating to all four focus areas; most are interventions likely to be implemented by state DOTs or departments of motor vehicles (DMVs). Truck crashes can be lessened by reducing the number of tired truck drivers (e.g., increasing the efficiency of existing parking spaces, creating additional parking spaces, and incorporating rumble strips into new or existing roadways to alert fatigued drivers who wander out of traffic lane); strengthening CDL requirements and enforcement (e.g., strengthening CDL testing procedures and increasing fraud detection with both state and third-party testers); increasing general knowledge of how to share the road with trucks (e.g., incorporating Share the Road information into driver materials and promulgating Share the Road information through print and electronic media); improving the maintenance of trucks (e.g., promoting regular preventive maintenance and conducting postcrash inspections to identify major problems and problem conditions); identifying and correcting unsafe roadway infrastructure and operational characteristics (e.g., identifying and correcting unsafe roadway configurations, installing interactive truck rollover signing, and modifying speed limits and increasing enforcement to reduce speeds); improving and enhancing truck safety data (e.g., increasing the timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of truck safety data); and promoting industry safety initiatives (e.g., including vehicle-based safety technologies and carrier safety management improvements). Exhibit I-3 lists the objectives and several related strategies for reducing heavy-truck crashes. Details of these strategies are covered in the following narrative. Of course, this does not SECTION I—SUMMARY I-4 12.1 A1 Increase efficiency of use of existing parking spaces 12.1 A2 Create additional parking spaces 12.1 A3 Incorporate rumble strips into new and existing roadways 12.1 B1 Improve test administration for the CDL 12.1 B2 Increase fraud detection by state and third-party testers 12.1 C1 Incorporate Share the Road information into driver materials 12.1 C2 Promulgate Share the Road information through print and electronic media 12.1 D1 Increase and strengthen truck maintenance programs and inspection performance 12.1 D2 Conduct postcrash inspections to identify major problems and problem conditions

SECTION I—SUMMARY represent a listing of all possible strategies to reduce heavy-truck crashes. Many other activities occurring in the states are aimed at improving truck safety. However, each of the strategies included here either is currently in use by one or more states or has a sound rationale for implementing the strategy, e.g., data that support the measure. Targets of the Objectives Objective 12.1 A, reduce fatigue-related crashes, would primarily be implemented by state DOTs, which are responsible for building and operating driver rest areas along Interstates and other major highways. Strengthening the CDL program, Objective 12.1 B, will require action primarily on the part of state licensing agencies (usually DMVs). Objective 12.1 C, increasing knowledge on sharing the road with other vehicles, is aimed at drivers of both commercial vehicles and personal vehicles, but especially the latter, since there is strong evidence that, in car-truck crashes, the driver of the car is much more likely to be the precipitating factor. Objective 12.1 D, improving the maintenance of heavy trucks, is aimed at state enforcement and crash investigation. Objective 12.1 E, identifying and correcting unsafe roadway infrastructure and operational characteristics, will primarily be the responsibility of state DOTs and local governments. Objective 12.1 F, improve and enhance truck safety data, can be instated by states, local governments, and motor carriers. Finally, Objective 12.1 G, promoting industry safety initiatives, is for use by the trucking industry, including manufacturers and motor carriers, as well as state agencies interfacing with motor carriers. I-5 EXHIBIT I-3 (Continued) Emphasis Area Objectives and Strategies Objectives Strategies 12.1 E Identify and correct unsafe roadway infrastructure and operational characteristics 12.1 F Improve and enhance truck safety data 12.1 G Promote industry safety initiatives 12.1 E1 Identify and treat truck crash roadway segments—signing 12.1 E2 Install interactive truck rollover signing 12.1 E3 Modify speed limits and increase enforcement to reduce truck and other vehicle speeds 12.1 F1 Increase the timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of truck safety data 12.1 G1 Perform safety consultations with carrier safety management 12.1 G2 Promote development and deployment of truck safety technologies

Next: Section II - Introduction »
A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks Get This Book
×
 A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks
Buy Paperback | $22.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 500 Volume 13: Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan -- A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks provides strategies that can be employed to reduce the number of collisions involving heavy trucks.

READ FREE ONLINE

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!