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This report synthesizes current information on carrier operational efficiencies that may also provide safety benefits by decreasing exposure to risk. The report provides information that may assist motor carriers in deploying their trucks and buses in ways that minimize crash risk. This information was obtained through reviews of research; crash and naturalistic driving data; and commercial products relevant to both efficiency and safety. The project also obtained information from motor carrier safety managers and other experts who were surveyed with regard to driver and vehicle deployment practices relevant to both efficiency and safety. The report includes 11 short case studies of carriersâ operational practices that might reduce expo- sure to risk. It also reports research and development gaps that have come to light in the study. The report distinguishes between risk reduction and risk avoidance strategies in commercial motor vehicle transport. Risk reduction, constituting most of carrier safety efforts, improves the safety performance of individual âassetsââthat is, drivers and vehicles. Risk reduction usually involves making company investments in proven interventions such as improved driver selec- tion, training, management oversight, or vehicle safety equipment. Risk avoidance strategies are those in which carriers deploy their assets and otherwise conduct operations to minimize crash risk. In this conceptualization, risk avoidance takes the form of operational or route plan- ning, or both, before trips or during a trip, before any immediate crash threat. Risk avoidance strategies may also be conceptualized as carrier efficiencies with potential benefits to safety; hence the project title Safety Effects of Carrier Efficiencies. Most risk reduction strategies involve carrier resource allocations (costs) to achieve crash reductions (benefits). Here, the direct benefits are from operational efficiencies, but proven or potential indirect benefits also may come from crash reduction. The project surveys of motor carrier safety managers and other experts on truck and bus safety were based on convenience samples of individuals active in national industry and research organizations. The primary project survey, a written questionnaire, was of motor carrier safety managers. The survey was designed to assess how respondents view various driving situations and operational practices with regard to safety. It also asked what specific practices they used, and their assessments of the safety effects of those practices. Another perspective was provided by a similar survey polling other experts in motor carrier safety. These individuals included professionals in government, industry trade associations, safety consulting, and research. These individuals are highly knowledgeable and experienced, but are not current practitioners at the carrier level. Thus, their survey was limited to questions on views and opinions, as opposed to practices. Together, the project evidence and product review, surveys, and case studies indicate a number of common and beneficial risk avoidance strategies for carriers. In many cases, there is strong converging evidence of the safety benefits of particular strategies. â¢ Employing preventive maintenance; â¢ Reducing empty (âdeadheadâ) trips; â¢ Minimizing loading, unloading, and related delays; SUMMARY POTENTIAL SAFETY BENEFITS OF MOTOR CARRIER OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES
â¢ Optimizing routing and navigation â Providing navigational and routing aids â Assigning familiar routes to drivers; â¢ Selecting road type: divided versus undivided roads; â¢ Avoiding work zones; â¢ Avoiding traffic; â¢ Emphasizing efficient scheduling: optimal times for safe travel; â¢ Avoiding adverse weather; â¢ Using higher-productivity vehicles; â¢ Using onboard computers and mobile communications; â¢ Maximizing team driving; â¢ Using electronic onboard recorders; â¢ Optimizing fuel economy and safety: â Speed limiters â Monitoring driver fuel economy; and â¢ Monitoring vehicle condition. In others, the evidence is suggestive but not unequivocal. Not every strategy is practical for all fleets. Most of the strategies addressed are inherently more applicable to truck opera- tions than to buses. Many depend on economies of scale available in larger companies but not in smaller ones. Project reviews of operational risk avoidance strategies have identified gaps in current knowledge and tools. Research could seek to gather and analyze data to more rigorously test and elaborate on current findings relating to carrier efficiencies and safety. Development efforts could be made to improve information analysis and to improve communications tech- nologies to aid carrier operational planning and vehicle scheduling and routing. Industry recognition of the links between efficiency and safety, along with appreciation of the caveats, might enable more carriers to refine their operations in ways that also reduce their risks. 2