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18 CHAPTER 7 KEY FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS The findings of this study show that the nation's roadside · Roughly 60% of stakeholders indicated that their top inspection resources are on the verge of being overwhelmed. priority is removing unsafe commercial vehicle drivers The increase in commercial vehicle traffic combined with the from the road because drivers are often at fault when decrease in enforcement resources and the addition of security- accidents occur. Despite this, few of the inspection and related responsibilities are straining the existing roadside sys- screening tools that are in use today support the identifica- tem. Alternative inspection strategies offer the opportunity to tion of unsafe drivers. maximize enforcement resources and improve the effective- · Jurisdictions' communication networks should be up- ness of commercial vehicle safety inspection programs. graded, in order to provide the level of access to data that Key findings from this study include: is critical for supporting mobile and virtual enforcement activities. · Despite significant increases in commercial vehicle · State commercial vehicle enforcement agencies should miles traveled, there has been only a modest increase be actively involved in their state's CVISN programs and in the total number of fatalities over the last 10 years. should support the development of state CVISN pro- During this same timeframe there has been a decrease gram plans that meet the needs of the roadside person- in the frequency of accidents involving commercial nel. These program plans establish the state's funding vehicles. This finding suggests that the inspection strate- priorities for Federal CVISN deployment grants and are gies that are being employed are having a positive effect required by FMCSA. on commercial vehicle safety in general. Other factors · There appears to be strong support for the continuation such as on-board safety devices, driver training, and car- of research aimed at identifying technology that facili- rier safety management programs clearly could be help- tates the screening of drivers, carriers, and vehicles at ing to improve the overall safety of commercial vehicles highway speeds. There is growing interest in leveraging as well. on-board sensors for purposes of collecting and assess- · All stakeholders agree that alternative inspection strate- ing information about drivers' fitness for duty, vehicle gies should be employed. diagnostics, etc. This information could be factored into · Alternative inspection strategies offer benefits to state the screening process. stakeholders (e.g., increased effectiveness, maximized · Research regarding new alternative inspection technol- resources), as well as to the industry (e.g., level playing ogies (e.g., wireless bus and truck inspections) should field, improved productivity). continue. · There are a variety of strategies and automated tools that · Privacy concerns should be considered when contem- are being used by the enforcement community today. plating new enforcement strategies. These strategies and/or tools include selection algo- · The inclusion of security-related activities in the roadside rithms, software to automatically capture inspection data, enforcement process dictates the development of new and electronic screening systems. Despite the prevalence driver and cargo-based screening tools and the sharing of of screening tools, the decision on whether to conduct an security-related data. inspection ultimately resides with the inspector and many inspectors continue to rely on their experience to Based on the key findings, the study team has reached the make this decision as opposed to the screening tools at following conclusions: their disposal. · Stakeholders agree that many of the current alternative · As inspectors become more mobile, and the amount of inspection strategies are not performing at their optimal information available to them increases, the need for level because of data quality issues (e.g., accuracy, time- improved wireless communication will grow propor- liness, integrity). As such, data quality improvement tionally. When evaluating the wireless communication was noted as a priority for both enforcement and indus- needs of the enforcement community, it will be impor- try representatives. tant to consider the best practices for exchanging data
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19 and for interacting with on-board systems. To reduce costs in the design and deployment of these systems in order and promote standardization, existing and emerging to ensure that their needs are met. In addition, it is standards such as WiFi, WiMax, existing cellular net- important for stakeholders to work together to identify works, etc., should be evaluated. the data that are critical to supporting roadside enforce- · Research currently is being conducted on the use of on- ment needs and issues with these data that should be board vehicle sensors, as part of the inspection process. addressed through a structured process. Sensors that monitor brakes, tires, and lights are avail- · Although the industry representatives that were inter- able today. The effectiveness of these systems, as well as viewed during this project are very receptive to increas- the potential institutional issues associated with using ing safety, agencies charged with conducting commercial them for enforcement purposes should be studied further. vehicle inspections should demonstrate to industry that · The need for timely and accurate information at the by working together there will be tangible, monetary roadside is critical. Programs like the Commercial Vehi- benefits that will accrue to the trucking industry at large. cle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) are For instance, enforcement agencies could demonstrate supporting the deployment of centralized data reposito- that qualification for participation in an electronic screen- ries that contain driver, vehicle, and carrier safety data. ing program will result in a decrease in the number of The enforcement community should be actively involved inspections for a carrier.