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43 About 80% agreed that, "Deploying a defect-free fleet is the Although the case study interviewees affirmed the impor- most important thing we can do to ensure highway safety." tance of vehicle maintenance, they also complained about roadside vehicle inspections. Most often the complaints were More and more companies are using maintenance man- about lack of consistency in vehicle-related violation criteria. agement software to facilitate regular maintenance and Specific comments related to "gray areas" in vehicle compo- scheduling. In 2003, Corsi and Barnard found that 56% of nent and cargo securement inspections. their "safe carrier" respondents used such programs. Per- centages varied by fleet size; that is, 78% for large fleets ver- sus 23% for small fleets. Perhaps because they used such OPERATIONAL PLANNING AND RISK AVOIDANCE programs, large carriers also tended to perform routine inspec- CTBSSP Synthesis Report 21 (Knipling et al. 2011) explored tion and maintenance tasks (e.g., brake servicing) more often carrier operational efficiencies that may also provide safety than smaller fleets. benefits by decreasing exposure to risk. The report made a distinction between risk reduction and risk avoidance strate- A review of maintenance management software websites gies in CMV transport. Risk reduction encompasses most (Knipling et al. 2011) reveals numerous ways that truck main- CMV safety management practices and interventions such as tenance software can assist fleets. They help fleets and other vehicle maintenance and various efforts to improve drivers. truck maintainers to better manage PM schedules and tasks, Risk avoidance strategies are those where carriers plan and parts inventory, fuel and tire use, and other maintenance- conduct their operations in ways that minimize exposure to related needs. Software vendors claim that they reduce costs, crash risk. A good example is route planning prior to trips. improve productivity, increase warranty recoveries, improve Routes that maximize travel on Interstates and avoid urban auditing and billing, provide documentation of maintenance traffic are not only efficient, they are far safer as well. They actions (that may be critical in enforcement and liability avoid risk. Other carrier risk avoidance strategies include cases), and generally make equipment maintenance more reducing empty ("deadhead") trips, minimizing loading and systematic. However, their more sophisticated features (e.g., unloading and related delays, avoiding work zones, optimiz- generating maintenance-related bar codes for vehicle parts) ing travel times, use of higher productivity vehicles, and are probably beyond the needs of most small fleets. team driving. Survey Question 15 asked respondents to indicate the two Risk avoidance can be represented schematically. Figure 9 most challenging CSA BASICs, and Question 16 asked for the shows a simple timeline of crash risk, cause, and occurrence. two least challenging. Vehicle maintenance was rated as the Both crash risk factors and causes may be human, vehicle, or third most challenging of the CSA BASICs. Survey Question environmental. The extended risk timeline on the left side is 26 asked respondents if they maintained PM schedules and intended to show that pre-trip and pre-crash-threat decisions records for each vehicle. Overwhelmingly (109 of 112) respon- can reduce crash risk well before imminent crash threats are dents reported they did, and the practice received a high effec- encountered. Pre-trip practices affecting risk include trip tiveness rating of 3.2 on the 04 Likert scale. In Question 31 on scheduling to avoid high-traffic times and driver fatigue. the most important areas of safety management, the choice Once on the road, pre-crash threat avoidance includes route "vehicle PM" was rated second, behind only driver selection selection to eschew undivided highways, traffic congestion, and hiring. In survey comments, one respondent said, "Most and work zones. The dotted lines between the risk zones owner operators and small fleet operators do a good job of denote that many risk avoidance practices are operating across maintenance and safety but are lacking in the back up aspects the zones. such as paper work. I know owner operators that do their own maintenance work but don't keep very good records." Loading and unloading delays are pre-trip events that raise crash risk before a trip even begins. These delays usu- In the project interviews, approximately half of the small ally increase driver fatigue, driver frustration, and trip sched- carriers interviewed indicated that vehicle maintenance was ule pressure. CTBSSP Synthesis 21 (Knipling et al. 2011) their single biggest safety activity and concern. Cargo secure- noted that smaller carriers are more vulnerable to both trip ment was also a major concern, especially for flatbed opera- delays and schedule pressure by shippers because they do not tors, but for others as well. Vehicle maintenance was strongly have the economic leverage and wherewithal to assert carrier driven by the FMCSRs and the threat of violations, espe- interests and, if necessary, walk away from a shipper account. cially under CSA. The smallest carrier interviewed, Carrier A recent report by the U.S. General Accountability Office A, reported that its day-to-day safety practices were far more (GAO 2011) addresses the issue of commercial driver deten- frequently related to vehicle maintenance and cargo secure- tion times. GAO's summary findings included: ment than to driver issues. Regarding vehicle problems, if there is "anything DOT [regulation-related], it doesn't go Detention of drivers at shipper or receiver facilities is a down the road." Carrier C runs high-productivity, double- prevalent problem--of 302 drivers interviewed by GAO, trailer rigs with 42 tires and 20 brakes; it must be "obsessive" 204 (68%) reported being detained within the past about vehicle maintenance. month.

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44 FIGURE 9 Risk-cause crash timeline with extended pre-crash risk segments. Reproduced from Knipling et al. (2011). Of those drivers who had experienced detention, 80% They are likely to instead choose a parallel undivided high- stated that it affected their ability to meet HOS require- way with far greater crash risks. Undivided highways have ments, and 65% reported losing revenue as a result of crash risks that are higher than those of toll roads "by at least being detained. a factor of 3 or 4 . . ." (Harwood 2006). Shippers and receivers control many of the factors lead- ing to driver detention, such as facility staffing, loading The problem of loading and unloading was the primary and unloading equipment, quality and promptness of operational planning issue addressed explicitly in the project service, and the readiness of products for pick up. questionnaire. Question 10 asked respondents to rate the Shippers often disagree with carriers and drivers about safety importance of "Delays associated with loading and the amount of detention time and its causes. unloading cargo." For truck respondents, this safety problem Carriers have some ability to mitigate the problem by received a mean importance rating of 2.9 on the 04 Likert charging detention fees to shippers, developing better scale, placing it in the top half of the items. This was not an working relationships with customers, improving com- important issue for bus respondents. munications, and abandoning shipper accounts where detention is a problem. In the survey section on operational practices, Question 27 Larger carriers have greater resources and more lever- asked respondents if they charged detention fees for loading age with clients than smaller carriers and thus are gen- and unloading delays. Among truck respondents, 62 of 79 erally able to mitigate the problem more effectively. respondents charged them, and the practice received an aver- age effectiveness rating of 2.5 on the 04 scale. On Question Drivers and carriers know that delay costs them money; 28, 98 of 111 respondents indicated that they reimburse toll however, it appears that they do not fully appreciate the cost. charges to drivers or provide "EZ Pass" transponders. The A recent analysis by Texas Transportation Institute (Miao practice was rated 2.8 on the 04 Likert scale for effectiveness. et al. 2011) used a mathematical simulation model to esti- mate travel delay costs to tractorsemitrailer drivers and their In Question 31 on the most important areas of safety man- carriers. They estimated the cost at $80 to $121 per hour, agement, three of the ten items presented might fall (fully or depending on conditions and assumptions in their model. partially) under operational planning and risk avoidance: Concurrently, they conducted a survey of drivers and carri- ers, asking them to estimate the cost to them of travel delays. Item (e), driver scheduling and dispatching practices Their mean estimates were in the $26 to $68 per hour range. was rated 4th in importance. The authors concluded that the many in the trucking industry Item (f), trip planning, routing, and navigation was rated do not fully realize the costs they incur owing to travel 6th in importance. delays. Drivers paid by the mile perceived the cost to be Item (g), loading, cargo securement, unloading, and dock/ higher, but it was still below actual costs, as estimated by the yard practices was rated 9th in importance. study. This study focused on roadway (e.g., traffic) delays, but its results apply to loading and unloading delays as well. Loading and unloading delays were discussed in almost all of the truck case study interviews. In general, managers were Reimbursing toll charges to drivers is a way to reduce frustrated by them and believed that small carrier efforts to operational risks caused by "diversion." Diversion occurs reduce them were not always effective. Even when shippers when truck drivers (or other motorists) choose not to drive on or receivers paid detention fees, excessive delays disrupt car- toll roads in order to avoid paying those tolls (Short 2006). riers' operations and the drivers' personal schedules.