National Academies Press: OpenBook

A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks (2004)

Chapter: Section II - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Section II - Introduction." 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.
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Suggested Citation:"Section II - Introduction." 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.
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Page 7

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II-1 SECTION II Introduction The AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan identified 22 goals that need 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 this, the online form of the material uses hypertext link- ages 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 from independent activities of engineers, law enforcement officials, educators, judges, and other highway-safety specialists to coordinated efforts. The implementation process outlined in the series of guides promotes the formation of working groups and alliances that represent all elements of the safety system. The working groups and alliances can draw upon their combined expertise to reach the bottom-line goal of tar- geted 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. How- ever, 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. Measures that have been identified as worth pursuing include the following: • Reduce truck driver fatigue. • Strengthen the CDL program. • Increase 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. Heavy-truck crashes are more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities than are crashes involving only light vehicles. 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 cooper- ation and the participation of both public and private entities. State government officials can play a key leadership role in reducing truck crashes and resulting injury and death. Industry also plays a critical role, since truck drivers operate under the aegis and safety management of a motor carrier.

Truck crashes can be lessened by the following: • Reducing the number of tired truck drivers (increasing the efficient use of existing parking spaces for truckers, creating additional parking spaces for truckers, incorporating rumble strips into new or existing roadways to alert fatigued drivers who wander out of traffic lanes). • Strengthening CDL requirements and enforcement (strengthening CDL testing procedures and increasing fraud detection by both state and third-party testers). • Increasing general knowledge of how to share the road with trucks (incorporating Share the Road information into driver handbooks, knowledge tests, and license renewal notices). • Promulgating Share the Road information through print and electronic media reporting. • Improving the maintenance of trucks (promoting regular preventive maintenance and conducting postcrash inspections to identify major problems and problem conditions). • Identifying and correcting unsafe roadway infrastructure and operational characteristics (installing interactive truck rollover signing on hazardous off-ramps and modifying speed limits and increasing enforcement to reduce truck and other vehicle speeds). • Improving and enhancing truck safety data (increasing the timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of truck safety data). • Promoting industry safety initiatives (including vehicle-based safety technologies and carrier safety management improvements). SECTION II—INTRODUCTION II-2

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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.

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