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7 Safety INTRODUCTION As discussed in the following sections of this chapter, the committee was unable to find any convincing case that tech- Safety is an important goal of the 21st Century Truck nologies applied to reduce fuel consumption would degrade Partnership (21CTP), with an overall objective to “promote heavy-duty-truck safety. However, the wording of Goals 1 the development and early adoption of technologies and and 2 above could be interpreted by some that improving fuel processes to improve truck safety, resulting in the reduc- consumption could be accomplished at the expense of sacri- tion of fatalities and injuries in truck-involved crashes, thus ficing safety. The committee does not believe that this would enabling benefits related to congestion mitigation, emission happen, because the DOT and NHTSA have a primary focus reduction, reduced fuel consumption, and improved pro- on improving vehicle safety. Nevertheless, the Partnership ductivity” (DOE, 2010). While working in concert with the might consider rewording these goals to be less ambiguous. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and truck manufactur- The DOT agencies all contribute to safety through their ers, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which various areas of responsibility. The role of the NHTSA is has primary responsibility for safety, provides leadership to monitor highway safety in total (not just for heavy-duty for truck safety. Participating agencies within the DOT trucks) and to conduct analysis to determine the potential include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administra- benefit of vehicle safety systems, and to issue Federal Motor tion (NHTSA), with responsibility for safety regulations Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) when appropriate.1 for all motor vehicles; the Federal Highway Administration The Office of Freight Management and Operations of the (FHWA), with responsibility for highways, freight manage- FHWA strives to promote the efficient movement of freight ment, and operations; and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety and oversees the enforcement of federal regulations on the Administration (FMCSA), with responsibility for developing size and weight limits of trucks.2 The Federal Motor Carrier federal regulations that promote commercial carrier safety Safety Administration has as its mission to reduce crashes, and industry productivity. Presentations from all three agen- injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and commercial cies were given to the committee (see Appendix B) and are buses. The FMCSA is responsible for establishing safe oper- discussed throughout this chapter. ating requirements for commercial vehicle, drivers, carriers, vehicles, and equipment in interstate commerce.3 OVERVIEW OF GOALS AND TIMETABLES The FMCSA has set specific goals for truck and bus safety. These goals are set at fatality per 100 million vehicle The 21CTP works collaboratively with the DOT to miles traveled (VMT). In particular, the goals for 2007 enhance vehicle safety. The overall goals of this collabora- through 2011 are as follows: tion are as follows (DOE, 2010): 1. “To ensure that advancements in truck design and 1 R. Kreeb, DOT, NHTSA, “Safety,” presentation to the committee, technology to improve fuel efficiency do not have any November 15, 2010, Washington, D.C. 2 R. Schmitt, DOT, FHWA, “Overview of DOT Truck Safety and Pro- negative impacts on safety.” ductivity Activities,” presentation to the committee, September 8, 2010, 2. “Conversely, to ensure that efforts to improve safety Washington, D.C. do not reduce efficiency and, where possible actually 3 L. Loy, DOT, FMCSA, “Overview of DOT Truck Safety and Pro- contribute to improvements in overall motor carrier ductivity Activities,” presentation to the committee, September 8, 2010, industry system efficiency.” Washington, D.C. 107
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108 REVIEW OF THE 21ST CENTURY TRUCK PARTNERSHIP, SECOND REPORT Total fatalities for bus-related accidents in 2008 were 307, of which 41 were occupants in motor coaches.6 Commercial • 2007: 0.175 per 100 million VMT; • 2008: 0.171 per 100 million VMT; buses represent a very small percentage of fatal crashes, • 2009: 0.167 per 100 million VMT; only 0.5 percent of the total. Very few fatalities occur due to • 2010: 0.164 per 100 million VMT; and school bus accidents. In 2009 occupants in a school bus had • 2011: 0.160 per 100 million VMT. 3 fatalities, although 91 pedestrian fatalities were associated with school bus accidents.7 (For comparison, it is noted that the fatality rate for all vehi- More details regarding the nature of heavy-duty-truck cle accidents in the United States in 2009 was 1.13 fatalities and bus accidents can be found in the NRC Phase 1 report per 100 million VMT.4 The extent to which these and other (NRC, 2008, Chapter 7), on the NHTSA website, or in the goals have been met is discussed later in this chapter. University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents Database.8 Because the Finding 7-1. The wording of 21CTP Safety Goals 1 and 2 vast majority of fatalities and injuries associated with truck as now written might be subject to misinterpretation by some and bus accidents are due to combination-truck accidents, as allowing the compromise of safety in the effort to improve most of this chapter focuses on technologies that might fuel consumption. reduce combination truck accidents. Recommendation 7-1. The Partnership should review the CRASH-AVOIDANCE STRATEGIES wording of its safety goals and consider rewording them so as to unambiguously state that safety will not be compromised Vehicle design and performance characteristics play an in reducing fuel consumption. important role in truck crashes. The 21CTP places emphasis on technology that can enhance truck roll stability, improve braking performance, and reduce jackknifing. Additional NATURE OF LARGE-TRUCK ACCIDENTS— crash avoidance technologies include driver warning, driver A BRIEF OVERVIEW assist, and driver monitoring as well as onboard safety sys- Combination trucks (defined as tractor-trailer and single- tem monitoring (DOE, 2010). In addition, the DOT is explor- unit trucks towing trailers) are involved in about 75 percent ing technologies to improve the frequency and thoroughness of the fatalities resulting from medium- and heavy-duty of in-service truck inspections. Many crash-avoidance tech- truck and bus accidents.5 In 2009, a total of 3,380 fatalities nologies such as electronic stability control (ESC) and roll were due to large-truck crashes—this was a reduction of 20 stability control are commercially available. percent from 4,245, the number of fatalities in 2008. Of the For research on heavy-truck safety, most of it devoted to 3,380 fatalities in 2009, 2,551 were occupants in the other crash-avoidance study, the NHTSA has an annual budget of vehicle, and 503 were occupants of the truck (DOT, 2010b). about $2.1 million. The FMCSA budget is approximately It is typically the case that in truck accidents involving two $17.4 million, including analysis and research. vehicles, 75 percent or more of the fatalities involve the Several crash-avoidance technologies are addressed in occupants of the other, usually smaller, vehicle. In accidents this chapter: (1) braking and stability control, (2) collision involving both a light vehicle and a large truck, the driver of warning, (3) safety system diagnostics, (4) driver behavior the light vehicle is cited as being at fault most of the time, and performance, (5) smart roadside, and (6) intelligent with some studies showing the driver of the light vehicle at transportation systems. fault as much as 78 percent of the time (see NRC  for more detail and additional references). Most of the fatal Braking and Stability Control crashes involving trucks occurred in rural areas (64 percent), during the daytime (67 percent) and on weekdays (80 per- Material prepared by the NHTSA suggests that improved cent) (DOE, 2010). braking performance could reduce heavy-duty-truck accidents, Only about 300 fatalities occur each year in accidents particularly those for which the truck would rear-end another vehicle.9 In 2009, the NHTSA published a final rule on amend- involving truck Classes 5 and 6 combined, primarily because of their typically lower speed in urban daylight settings 6 L. Loy, DOT, FMCSA, “Overview of DOT Truck Safety and Pro- and many fewer miles traveled compared to Class 8 trucks ductivity Activities,” presentation to the committee, September 8, 2010, (DOE, 2010). Washington, D.C. 7 See the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data tables, School Bus Related. Available at http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov. 8 See http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov, and www.umtri.umich.edu/expertis - 4 See http://www.NHTSA.gov/PR/NHTSA-05-11. Accessed June 22, eSub.php?esID=29. Accessed June 22, 2011. 9 R. Kreeb, DOT, NHTSA, “Overview of DOT Truck Safety and Pro- 2011. 5 Unless otherwise noted, accident statistics cited in this chapter are for ductivity Activities,” presentation to the committee, September 8, 2010, the United States. Washington, D.C.
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109 SAFETY ing FMVSS No. 121 to improve the stopping distance of trucks. • Side object detection, and By 2011, most new trucks will be required to have the capabil- • Rear object detection. ity to reduce their stopping distance 30 percent more than had previously been required. (This is an important improvement, These systems use radar, video detection, ultrasonic, and but the stopping distance is still much longer than that of other sensor systems combined with sensor input analysis light-duty vehicles.) The improved braking performance can algorithms to determine if a crash situation is developing, be accomplished by the use of larger drum brakes or air disc and then they warn the driver (DOE, 2010). Some systems brakes. In time, the NHTSA would be expected to conduct not only warn the driver but also take control of the vehicle field tests to assess the effects of this new braking requirement. by de-throttling or braking. It should be noted that the field performance of antilock In the NRC Phase 1 report (NRC, 2008, Chapter 7), it was braking systems (ABSs) required by FMVSS No.121 on all reported that, based on field operational tests (FOTs) that had air-braked vehicles of 10,000 lb or greater manufactured after been completed at that time, LDW systems could potentially March 1, 1997, has shown mixed results. In a comprehensive provide a reduction in accidents for single-vehicle roadway study published by the NHTSA in July 2010 (Kirk, 2010), it departure of a little more than 20 percent. In a more recent was found that there was a statistically significant 6 percent study, estimates were made of the cost-benefit potential of reduction in the number of crashes where ABS is assumed to LDW systems (Houser et al., 2009). General Estimates System be influential, and a large reduction in jackknives and off-road (GES) data were used to estimate outcomes from different lane departure crashes.10 Then, using information from the overturns; yet it was found that there was not a statistically significant reduction in fatal crash involvement. Although aforementioned field operational test, efficacy rates were improved braking was influential in reducing the number of determined in order to estimate the types of crashes that could accidents as noted above, it is possible that accidents that are be prevented using LDW systems. Assuming that the systems so severe as to cause a fatality cannot be avoided simply by had been in place from 2001 to 2005, and recognizing that improved braking. In addition, drivers need to be trained not certain types of accidents could not have been prevented by to push the ABS technology to its limits. LDW (e.g., loss of steering control from brake lock-up), it was Over the past 5 years, truck manufacturers have been offer- estimated that the mean average annual preventable fatalities ing electronic stability control on several truck models, and could be 147 and preventable injuries could be 2,642. ESC has become standard on some truck models. DOE (2010) The DOT has taken an approach of integrating forward provides a detailed explanation of how ESC works. Because collision, rear-end impact, road departure, and lane changing the application of stability control systems is fairly recent, warning systems into what it calls Integrated Vehicle-Based there are insufficient real-world data to assess its effective- Safety Systems (IVBSS). This program also involves the ness. However, studies have shown that the systems do offer University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, potential for accident and fatality reduction. In Woodrooffe et Battelle, Eaton, PACCAR, Conway, Navistar, Takata, and the al. (2009), crash scenarios were selected from national data- Michigan Department of Transportation. A field operational bases and examined to assess the potential benefit of stabil- test was recently completed—it was a 10-month test involv- ity systems on 5-axle tractor semitrailers. Assuming that all ing 10 trucks and 20 drivers. Some key findings of the FOT 5-axle tractor semitrailers were equipped with ESC systems, were encouraging (DOT, 2010a): the expected annual safety benefit related to combined roll- over and directional (yaw) instability is a reduction of 4,659 • Drivers stated that the system made them more aware crashes, 126 fatalities, and 5,909 injuries. of the traffic environment; Anticipatory automatic braking and speed control systems • Most of the drivers would recommend the purchase of may also be used for accident prevention. However, these such a system, would prefer to drive a truck with such a systems were not included in the materials prepared by or system, and thought that such systems would increase presented by the DOE or DOT, and therefore were not evalu- driving safety; and ated by the committee. • Seven drivers said that the system potentially pre- vented them from having a crash. Collision Warning In an independent evaluation of the FOT results, the John A. Volpe National Transportation Center estimated that the Advancements in collision warning systems for heavy- integrated system would be 11 percent effective in preventing duty trucks have continued over the past several years. The accidents of the type targeted by IVBSS, and therefore could 21CTP supports this area, because it may have potential for prevent, annually, 13,000 crashes involving trucks.11 significant benefit in improving highway safety. Warning systems currently available include the following: 10 Seehttp://www.nhtsa.gov/people/ncsa/nass_ges.html. • Lane departure warning (LDW), 11See http://www.umtri.umich.edu/public/ivbss/IVBSS_Final_Public_ • Forward collision warning (FCW), Meeting_Presentations.pdf.
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110 REVIEW OF THE 21ST CENTURY TRUCK PARTNERSHIP, SECOND REPORT Safety System Diagnostics Driver Behavior and Performance The DOT has two initiatives in the area of safety system The FMCSA, with the help of the NHTSA, conducted a diagnostics: tire pressure monitoring and brake systems study to determine the causes of truck crashes (Craft, 2007). diagnostics. Tire pressure monitoring systems have become In 963 crashes involving trucks, from April 2001 to Decem- common on light-duty vehicles and could be of particular ber 2003, there were 249 fatalities. Of the crashes studied, importance for both safety and life–cycle costs if used on it was concluded that 87 percent were caused by driver heavy line-haul trucks, particularly as the industry moves behavior, that of either the truck driver or the driver of the toward single wide-base tires. Properly inflated tires not only other vehicle; 10 percent were caused by vehicle failure; and enhance safety and durability, but also reduce fuel consump- 3 percent were caused by the environment. (Of the vehicle tion. In a recent study it was found that 1 in 14 tires was as failures, brake problems were most often cited.) Critical much as 20 psi underinflated (approximately 20 percent of reasons for driver faulty behavior, in descending order of fre- recommended pressure). This can lead to higher tire procure- quency, included the following: interruption of traffic flow, ment costs, and it is estimated that underinflated tires on unfamiliar roadway, inadequate surveillance, driving too fast, heavy-duty trucks results in fuel consumption increases of illegal maneuver, inattention, fatigue, illness, false assump- about 0.6 percent.12 Yet to date, only about 5 percent of the tion about the other driver’s action, and distraction inside the heavy-duty truck fleet has tire pressure monitoring systems. vehicle. Impaired driver behavior due to alcohol and drugs The industry has been moving aggressively with more also contributes to truck crashes, but in most cases involving powerful braking systems. However, with 10 wheel ends on a truck and a light vehicle, the driver of the light vehicle is a typical tractor-trailer, brake maintenance is a challenge for the one who is impaired (DOT/NHTSA, 2006). However, in most fleets and one of the highest-cost maintenance compo- a study of driver distraction in commercial vehicles, it was nents. In general, there is no feedback to the driver until an found that drivers were engaged in non-driving-related tasks emergency stop is necessary. A road-check study conducted in 71 percent of crashes (Olsen et al., 2009). (The apparent in 2002 found that of the 49,032 vehicles checked at random, difference between the two studies as to the frequency of 22 percent were pulled out of service for noncompliance, and “distraction” as a causal factor is due to the fact that in the more than half of those pulled were because of brake-related Olsen et al. study, “distraction” included inattentiveness, issues (Lang, 2005). drowsiness, and secondary driving tasks such as checking In a study of the effectiveness of brake monitoring sys- the rearview mirror.) tems, the FMCSA conducted a field trial to evaluate several Clearly, driver behavior and performance are important systems to measure brake stroke, shoe lining wear, and tem- factors in highway safety, and the DOT has for this reason perature on a fleet of buses: in-city buses were selected to put significant emphasis on the subject. It is beyond the provide a harsh braking protocol and because the fundamen- scope of this report to cover in detail all the studies and tal brake design on transit buses is similar to that of heavy- programs in place on driver behavior, but a few highlights duty Class 8 trucks. In general, the systems tested performed are addressed. well (see Order et al., 2009, for more detail). The NHTSA has engaged in a number of driver-distrac- To date the market penetration of onboard brake monitor- tion research studies, including an observational study of ing systems on trucks is near zero, although there is some driver cellular telephone use; driver distraction with wireless application (10 to 15 percent) of the systems on transit communication systems and route guidance systems; and buses. Trucking and bus companies that have rigorous pre- the impact of inattention on crash risk (DOE, 2010). The ventive maintenance inspection programs would not benefit FMCSA has initiated a program to determine the effective- sufficiently to justify the added cost of onboard systems. ness of onboard monitoring in reducing accident risk, includ- Currently there is no plan to introduce regulations requiring ing the observation of driver behavior, fatigue monitoring, onboard systems. Instead, the FMCSA has added the use of lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and hours Performance Based Brake Testers (Performance Based Brake of service monitoring. Onboard monitoring systems will be Tester [PBBT] Test and Procedure Guidelines, Commercial installed in 270 trucks across three motor carrier fleets, to Vehicle Safety Alliance Training Course, Revised January be deployed by 2011, with results from the field operational tests in 2013.14 In the meantime, President Obama, on Octo- 2010) to the standard North America Vehicle inspection procedure (FMCSA, 2002).13 ber 1, 2009, issued an Executive Order, Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving, stating that federal employees shall not engage in text messaging when driving government vehicles or in personal vehicles while 12 L. Loy, DOT, FMCSA, “Overview of DOT Truck Safety and Pro- ductivity Activities,” presentation to the committee, September 8, 2011, Washington, D.C. 13 Personal communication regarding onboard brake testing from Bob 14 L. Loy, DOT, FMCSA,,“Overview of DOT Truck Safety and Pro - Kreeb, NHTSA, and Luke Loy, FMCSA, to committee member Larry ductivity Activities,” presentation to the committee, September 8, 2010, Howell, December 8, 2010. Washington, D.C.
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111 SAFETY on government business.15 Moreover, in 2009, the FMCSA vehicles (DOE, 2010). Specific truck-related applications issued a rule, effective October 27, 2010, prohibiting texting would include the following: by commercial drivers while operating in interstate com- merce.16 Many states have banned texting and/or cell phone • Electronic No-Zone, a V2V communication system usage while a person is driving (GHSA, 2011). that will allow the truck driver to be aware of nearby vehicles, including any that might be in blind-spot areas, and vehicles close to the truck will be made Smart Roadside aware of the truck; The FMCSA is conducting research to improve the man- • Technology that will alert drivers that they are approach- ner in which state, local, and federal officials interact with ing a slowed or stopped vehicle; and commercial vehicle operators and drivers at the roadside. • Curve speed information to warn the driver if the The objective is both to improve the efficiency and com- truck that he or she is driving needs to slow down as it prehensiveness of operations and at the same time to ensure approaches a curve. that operators are adhering to applicable regulations. As an example, Level 1 inspections include the examination of the More information is available from the Intelligent Trans- driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificate and waiver, portation Systems Joint Program Office of the U.S. DOT Research and Innovation Technology Administration.19 hours of service, seat belt, brake system, fuel system, light- ing, and many other vehicle systems. A Level 1 inspection Finding 7-2. Vehicle crashworthiness and occupant protec- usually takes about 40 minutes (DOE, 2010). With about 4 million trucks in service, it is likely that many will go more tion systems have seen extensive deployment, have contrib- than a year without being inspected because of the time uted greatly to improved highway safety, and have achieved required. Smart roadside will use wireless technology to extensive North American fleet penetration. The next impor- transmit driver, vehicle, and carrier information, including an tant step is to prevent crashes altogether. electronic hours-of-service log to an inspection station.17 Recommendation 7-2. T he committee supports the S mart roadside Phase 1, concept development, was completed in 2008, and Phase 2, prototype testing, in 2009. e mphasis that the DOT and the 21CTP are giving to Phase 3, field operations testing, is in progress and expected crash-avoidance technologies and recommends that crash- to be completed in 2011. In Phase 3, real-time and automated avoidance technologies continue to be given high priority safety checks are being demonstrated. The data include and technical support. driver identification, license status, and log information, as well as vehicle lights, brakes, and tires.18 This technology COMMERCIAL VEHICLE WEIGHT AND SIZE looks promising for ensuring that more trucks and drivers are operating safely. The DOT recognizes that it may be possible to increase motor carrier efficiencies by allowing increases in commer- cial vehicle weight or trailer size. Consideration must be Intelligent Transportation Systems given to the potential of greater highway damage. Although The vision of intelligent transportation systems is that heavy-duty trucks weighing more than 40,000 lb account every vehicle operating on the nation’s highways will be for only 5 percent of total highway traffic, they account for more than 50 percent of highway damage.20 (Damage can a sensor probe with the capability to communicate with all other vehicles (vehicle-to-vehicle, V2V) and with the be mitigated by distributing the load over more axles.) Safety infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure). The objectives are could be an issue, too, although the use of heavier vehicles to enhance traffic management, reduce congestion, enable could be offset by a reduction in the total number of heavy on-road vehicle inspection by means of wireless transfer of vehicles on the road. The Transportation Research Board data, and prevent crashes. Realization of this capability will (TRB) has recommended additional study to assess the require the installation of dedicated short-range communi- impact on highway safety of the use of heavier commercial cation devices at intersections, on roadsides, and within the vehicles and of longer or multiple trailers (TRB, 2010a). In any case, the National Research Council report Technolo- 15 See http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order- gies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of federal-leadership-reducing-text-messaging-while-driving. Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles found that when allowed 16 See Docket No. FMCSA-2009-0370, Limiting the Use of Wireless over the entire fleet, increasing vehicle size and weight could Communication Devices, also, in the Federal Register, September 27, 2010 yield fuel savings of 15 percent or more (NRC, 2010). Fur- (Vol. 75, No. 186, p. 59118). 17 S ee http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/presentations/6_ wireless_roadside_inspections_Loftus_vid_508.pdf. Dated March 4, 2008. 18 L. Loy, DOT, FMCSA, “Overview of DOT Truck Safety and Pro- 19 Seehttp://www.its.dot.gov/index.htm, Accessed April 6, 2011. 20 ductivity Activities,” presentation to the committee, September 8, 2010, J. Nicholas, DOT, FHWA, “Safety,” presentation to the committee, Washington, D.C. November 15, 2010, Washington, D.C.
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112 REVIEW OF THE 21ST CENTURY TRUCK PARTNERSHIP, SECOND REPORT ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES ther, in that report, it is recommended that Congress give serious consideration to liberalizing vehicle weight and size Clearly, significant progress in highway safety has been (NRC, 2010, Recommendation 7-2, p. 177). A similar sug- made in the United States, but when it comes to highway gestion has been made by the TRB in the aforementioned safety, there should always be efforts to strive to do even bet- study. To acquire real-world data, with the support of the ter. And there are additional opportunities. In a comprehensive FHWA, commercial truck weight pilot studies are being con- study comparing U.S. progress in highway safety with that of ducted in Maine and Vermont to assess the benefits as well other developed countries, the TRB found a number of areas as potential safety issues with road and bridge infrastructure that deserve further attention (TRB, 2010b). The TRB found as combination-vehicle weights up to 99,000 lb travel on the that although the United States achieved a 19 percent reduction interstate system (DOE, 2010). in fatalities from 1995 to 2009, other nations have done better. Annual traffic fatalities have declined in France by 52 percent PROGRESS TOWARD GOALS and in the United Kingdom by 39 percent, for example. Traffic fatalities have declined by about 50 percent during that time In 2009, there were 33,808 highway fatalities in the span in 15 high-income countries. The reader is referred to the United States, the lowest number of deaths since 1950 TRB (2010b) 188-page report for more detail, but a few high- (DOT, 2010b). Fatalities declined in 2009 from 2008 in all lights of the report’s conclusions are noted. First, at a general vehicle categories, including motorcycles, for which the level, the TRB found that successful national safety programs number of fatalities had been increasing for the previous are characterized by the overall management rather than by several years. For truck accidents in which there was a fatal- particular interventions. The elements of the management ity, the total number of fatalities decreased from 4,250 in program include a systems perspective that integrates engi- 2008 to 3,380 in 2009, a decrease of 20 percent. The goals neering design, traffic control, regulatory control, and public of the FMCSA for reducing truck and bus fatalities per 100 health methods to identify and reduce risk; specific goals and million vehicle miles traveled were met in 2006 (target, milestones, and accountability to meet those goals; and regular 0.179; actual, 0.176); 2007 (target, 0.175; actual, 0.169); monitoring to measure progress and to identify problems. The 2008 (target, 0.171; actual, 0.152); and 2009 (target, 0.167, report notes that the U.S. programs are typically deficient with actual, 0.121). respect to this ideal management model. The significant decline in highway fatalities is certainly The Phase 1 NRC review of the 21CTP recommended good news. There have been a number of studies aimed at (NRC, 2008, Recommendation 7-1) that the 21CTP and identifying the contributions to the reduction. One potential the DOT should develop a prioritized list of all heavy-truck contributing factor could be the recession that began in 2008. safety projects. The 21 CTP’s response to this recommen- People typically travel less during a recession; in particular, dation (see Appendix C in this report) was that it could not nonessential travel is reduced. Data have confirmed a month- be done because of the various independent federal agen- to-month reduction in fatalities during every recession going cies that are involved. Yet, the TRB has recommended an back several decades (DOT, 2010c). However, there is evi- approach that would require a higher level of management dence that many other factors are contributing as well. In integration by the DOT and the states than currently exists fact, there is a long-term trend of highway fatality reduction (TRB, 2010b). Although it is beyond the scope of this com- in spite of the up-and-down cycles associated with recessions mittee’s charge to make recommendations covering highway (DOT, 2010c). During the past 10 years, there has been an safety overall, it is clear that a more integrated management increase in seat belt usage and continuing improvements approach to highway safety would also be beneficial to truck in occupant protection systems in most vehicles, including safety and should be given serious consideration. the application of frontal and side air bags. Better occupant The TRB (2010b) report also notes specific suggestions protection in light-duty vehicles could be contributing to the that are worthy of consideration. In the area of alcohol- reduction of light-duty vehicle occupant fatalities in truck impaired driving, the TRB report notes that the legal blood V2V accidents. Unfortunately, however, even with seat belt alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08 BAC in the United States, usage at about 85 percent, more than half of the passenger whereas it is only 0.05 BAC or lower in Australia, Canada, vehicle occupant fatalities in 2009 were unbelted (DOT, Japan, and nearly every country in Europe. Fatalities in 2010b). Thanks to advocacy groups and stricter laws, the accidents in which alcohol was a factor have remained nearly number of alcohol-related highway fatalities had declined constant, at about 37 percent of all fatalities during the past from the 1980s into the 1990s, but that number has leveled decade in the United States.22 The TRB report suggests that it off for the past decade at approximately 37 percent of all may be possible to reduce alcohol-related fatalities by reduc- fatalities.21 Certainly, more rapid response of emergency ing the legal BAC limit and by enforcing it more strictly. vehicles plays an important role. 22 See http://www-fars.nhsta.dot.gov/trends/trendsalcohol.aspx. Ac- 21 See http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Trends/TrendsAlcohol.aspx. cessed April 6, 2011.
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113 SAFETY Successful speed management programs in other coun- Traffic Saftey Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other tries target major road systems and use intensive enforce- Nations of highway safety in other nations, and consider the ment. This has led to reduction in top speeds by from 3 to possibility of establishing more aggressive initiatives and 4 miles per hour and is credited with an estimated fatality goals for highway safety in general. The DOT should also reduction of from 15 percent to 20 percent. Seat belt usage consider establishing more aggressive goals for heavy-duty is another area assessed by the TRB study. Although the truck safety. average seat belt usage in the United States is near 85 per- cent, it is more than 90 percent in most of the other nations HEAVY-DUTY TRUCK SAFETY AND FUEL studied in the TRB report. The TRB suggests that an increase CONSUMPTION in seat belt usage in the United States by 5 percent might save an additional 1,200 lives annually (TRB, 2010b). The As noted in the section above titled “Overview of Goasl TRB report offers suggestions for actions that state and and Timetables,” an overarching goal of the 21CTP is to federal agencies should consider in response to the report’s ensure that new systems and technologies to reduce truck fuel recommendations. consumption do not degrade safety and that improvements in As noted earlier, the majority of accidents involving heavy-duty truck safety do not increase fuel consumption. As tractor-trailer combinations occur as a result of a smaller shown in Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel vehicle striking the tractor or trailer. A significant number of Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, (NRC, such crashes occur because a light-duty vehicle runs into the 2010, p. 29), the primary energy losses of a heavy-truck- back of the trailer. In some cases, the smaller vehicle under- and-trailer combination are due (in decreasing order) to the rides the trailer, causing intrusion into the passenger com- power plant, vehicle aerodynamics, tire rolling resistance, partment. The NHTSA issued a rule requiring the installation auxiliary loads, and drivetrain. Modifications to the engine of structural guards on the back of trailers for the purpose for reduced fuel consumption generally have no direct impact of preventing underride. These guards were to have been on vehicle safety. installed on all trailers with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) Modifications for reduced aerodynamics drag typically of 10,000 lb or more, manufactured on or after January 24, include efforts to reduce the drag coefficient. The committee 1998 (DOT, 2010d). The DOT (2010d) study found that the is aware of no negative impact on safety due to improved structural guards have had little success in reducing the num- aerodynamic performance of heavy-duty trucks except for ber of fatalities that occur as a result of accidents in which the potential of side panels on trailers or other devices fall- a smaller vehicle rear-ends a trailer. More recent testing by ing off. the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has shown that The primary goals for reducing rolling resistance are to midsize cars impacting certain underride guards at closing ensure proper inflation pressures on existing truck tires and to speeds of 35 miles per hour can result in significant passen- eventually replace dual tires with single wide tires. Although ger compartment intrusion and that certain guards failed at it is worthwhile to further explore the potential changes in speeds as low as 25 miles per hour.23 In the spirit of looking stopping distance in going to single wide tires, any changes for additional opportunities, the committee suggests that the most likely would be offset by new stopping distance require- DOT explore the potential benefit of modifying the require- ments for heavy-duty trucks. ments for the structural guards going forward. Highway accidents are often caused by excessive speed, which also increases aerodynamic drag and therefore fuel Finding 7-3. The DOT has met its heavy-truck safety goals consumption. Thus, in this example, adhering to posted for the past 4 years. However, the committee observes that speed limits should both improve highway safety and reduce the TRB’s 2010 study Achieving Traffic Saftey Goals in the fuel consumption. United States: Lessons from Other Nations has shown that A reduction in highway accidents in general will reduce other nations have established more aggressive initiatives congestion due to the slowdown at the crash site. As noted and goals with impressive results, and those results suggest in NRC (2008, Chapter 7), congestion is an important that even greater improvement in highway safety is possible cause of increased and unnecessary fuel consumption; thus, in the United States. The committee also notes that overall reducing congestion-causing accidents will also reduce fuel improvements in highway safety also yield improvements in consumption. heavy-duty truck safety, because most heavy-duty truck fatal There is some possibility for interaction between fuel accidents involve a light-duty vehicle. consumption and safety. For example, side panels on trail- ers and other devices for improving aerodynamics should Recommendation 7-3. The DOT should evaluate the con- be adequately secured to ensure that they do not fall off clusions and recommendations of the TRB study Achieving and present a road hazard. And the rear structural guards on trailers add weight to the trailer, albeit a very small percent- age relative to the weight of the tractor-trailer combination. 23 See http://iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4602.pdf. Accessed June Should a next-generation wide-base single tire fail, it is 15, 2011.
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114 REVIEW OF THE 21ST CENTURY TRUCK PARTNERSHIP, SECOND REPORT possible that wheel damage could occur as the vehicle pulls DOT/NHTSA (DOT/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). 2006. Large Truck Crash Causation Study: An Initial Overview. DOT off the roadway. These interactive effects are expected to be HS 810 646. August. Washington D.C. negligibly small. However, as vehicle manufacturers adopt FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). 2002. U.S. new components and systems to reduce fuel consumption, Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces FMCSA Rule Permitting it will be important for the DOT to monitor these and other Performance Brake Testing Technology. DOT FMCSA 15-02. August vehicle modifications to ensure that safety issues do not 9. Washington, D.C. Available at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/news/ news-releases/2002/080902.htm. Accessed September 8, 2010. emerge. GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association). 2011. Cell Phone and Texting Laws. June. Available at http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/ Finding 7-4. Some of the potential safety improvements laws/cellphone_laws.html. Accessed June 21, 2011. considered by the committee may have negligible impact Houser, Amy, D. Murray, S. Shackelford, R. Kreeb, and T. Dunn. 2009. on fuel consumption and, in some cases, appear to have Analysis of Benefits and Costs of Lane Departure Warning Systems for the Trucking Industry. FMCSA-RRT-09-022. February. Washington, positive implications. However, further study of the poten- D.C.: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. tial highway safety impact of high productivity vehicles is Kirk, A. 2010. The Effectiveness of ABS in Heavy Truck Tractors and warranted. Trailers. HS 811 339. July. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation. Lang, M. 2005. Technical Brief: On-Board Sensors for Determining Brake REFERENCES System Performance. FMCSA-PSV-05-001. July. Washington, D.C.: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Craft, R. 2007. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), Analy - NRC (National Research Council). 2008. Review of the 21st Century Truck sis Brief, LTCCS Summary. FMCSA-RRA-07-017. July. Washington, Partnership. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. D.C.: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. NRC. 2010. Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consump - DOE (U.S. Department of Energy). 2010. White Paper on Safety. Work- tion of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. Washington, D.C.: The ing draft, September 1, 2010. Updated 21st Century Truck Partnership National Academies Press. Roadmap and Technical White Papers. Washington, D.C.: Office of Olsen, R., R. Hanowski, J. Hickman, and J. Bocanegra. 2009. Driver Distraction Vehicle Technologies. in Commercial Vehicle Operations. FMCSA-RRR-09-042. September. DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation). 2010a. Integrated Vehicle-Based Washington, D.C.: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Safety Systems: Heavy-Truck Field Operational Test, Key Findings Order, D., D. Skorupski, R. Stinebiser, and R. Kreeb. 2009. Fleet Study of Report. DOT HS 811 362. August. Washington, D.C. Brake Performance and Tire Pressure Sensors. FMCSA-PSV- 09-001, DOT. 2010b. Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes. Traffic Safety FMCSA-PSV-05-001. July. Washington, D.C.: Federal Motor Carrier Notes. DOT HS 811 363. August. Washington, D.C. Safety Administration. DOT. 2010c. An Analysis of the Significant Decline in Motor Vehicle Traffic TRB (Transportation Research Board). 2010a. Regulation of Weights, Fatalities in 2008. DOT HS 611 346. June. Washington, D.C. Lengths, and Widths of Commercial Motor Vehicles. Special Report DOT. 2010d. The Effectiveness of Underride Guards for Heavy Trailers. 267. Washington, D.C. DOT HS 811 375. October. Available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/ TRB. 2010b. Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States, Lessons Pubs/811375.pdf. from Other Nations. Special Report 300. Washington, D.C. Woodrooffe, J., D. Blower, G. Timothy, P. Green, B. Liu, and P. Sweat- man. 2009. Safety Benefits of Stability Control Systems for Tractor- Semitrailers. DOT HS 811-205. October. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation.