Principal Technical Analyst
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released research this week on the benefits of using speed limiters (SLs), also known as speed governors, in large trucks. For more information, view the FMCSA's document, titled "Speed-Limiters."
SLs are a technology that allows trucking fleets or truck owners to program a preset maximum speed of travel. Many trucking fleets use SLs not only to increase safety by reducing their trucks’ top speed, but also to reduce tire wear, extend the life of the brakes and engine, improve fuel economy, and so on.
In January 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed limiting the speed of all heavy trucks to 68mph. NHTSA stated its intent to initiate the rulemaking process on this issue in 2012. Read NHTSA's notice in the Jan. 3, 2011 Federal Register.
Viewpoints differ on the issue of mandating the use of SLs in heavy trucks. Agencies and groups such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Road Safe America, and the Truckload Carriers Association, have stated their support for SLs in large trucks for reasons including reduced severity of crashes and various economic benefits. However, critics of government-mandated SLs, such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), have stated their opposition for reasons such as the potential for speed-governed trucks to become “rolling roadblocks” when operating in faster flows of traffic.
Research published in the American Journal of Public Health in March 2009, titled “The Effect of State Regulations on Truck-Crash Fatalities,” examines the effects of certain traffic safety policies and restrictions on fatality rates in truck-involved crashes.
Entries in FMCSA (11)
Principal Technical Analyst
On January 19, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice to drivers holding a commercial drivers license (CDL) regarding new requirements for medical certification.
Starting on 30 January 2012, the FMCSA will require that all drivers who hold a CDL present their local state driver licensing agency with information regarding the type or types of commercial driving that they are involved with.
The commerce categories are:
- interstate excepted,
- interstate non-excepted,
- intrastate excepted,
- intrastate non-excepted.
Drivers who are determined by state licensing agencies to operate in one of the non-excepted categories will be required to submit a medical examiner’s certificate to their state driver licensing agency. Once this certificate is submitted, it will become part of the driver’s CDL system record. Drivers who fall into one of the “excepted” categories will not be required to provide a medical examiner’s certificate.
Drivers who fall into either non-excepted categories who fail to provide a current medical examiner’s certificate will have a status of “not certified.” The consequences of having a “not certified” status will depend on the specific regulations of the state that issued the CDL; however, in many cases, this status will result in the loss of the commercial license. For example, a driver who falls into a non-excepted category and fails to submit a current medical examiner’s certificate in Alabama will have his or her CDL cancelled. View state-by-state instructions and information.
Principal Technical Analyst, MSC of MS
Stemming from a joint venture with DriverTech in late 2010, Rand McNally announced today that they are launching a new version of their electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) system, TruckPC. This system will be in compliance with the new requirements set by CSA and will be fully integrated with the vehicle.
TruckPC will provide navigation tools, mileage calculation, driver behavior monitoring, pre-trip inspection instructions, and interactive satellite mapping for fleets and their drivers. In addition, TruckPC will also automatically track hours of service (HOS) for drivers.
TruckPC, and other EOBR systems will make compliance with CSA easier for fleets that are facing the challenges of new governmental safety regulations.
Learn more about CSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's initiative to improve large truck and bus safety.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sent its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding a new Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule to the White House on July 26th. From this point, the agency has until July 2011 to publish the proposed rule, receive comments on it, and issue a new final rule.
During the past five years the FMCSA’s HOS Regulation has been one of their most hotly contested regulations. Because of policy changes and legal challenges to the FMCSA, the HOS rules have been changed—and then changed back—several times.
The last amendment to the HOS rules, which increased the maximum number of hours a driver could drive (after coming back on duty) from 10 to 11 hours, went into effect in January 2004. That amendment prompted concerns about driver fatigue, as well as the current lawsuit and settlement requiring the FMCSA to pen a new HOS rule.
Based on the amount of time typically needed by the Office of Management and Budget for reviewing regulations like these, the Federal Register will likely publish the proposed rule in late October / early November of this year.
Less-than-truckload (LTL) Con-way Freight recently invested $5.4 million toward the installation of several advanced safety technologies into 1,300 new Freightliner Cascadia 2010-model tractors, which the carrier has put into service. Con-way’s goals for incorporating the safety technologies are to reduce the frequency of accidents and the accident situations that trucks are most commonly involved in. They are also aiming to minimize driver distraction.
Examples of the technologies Con-way has installed include a forward collision warning technology with adaptive cruise control, developed by Meritor Wabco, to help with maintaining a safe following distance and to help with avoiding rear-end collisions by braking as needed. The lane departure warning system, developed by Iteris, monitors the vehicle’s lane position and sounds an alarm when the vehicle’s operator unintentionally moves out of the lane. The roll stability control, also developed by Meritor Wabco, senses when the vehicle is at high risk of a rollover and automatically intervenes. And in order to help minimize driver distraction, Con-way implemented factory-installed, in-dash AM/FM/satellite radios in place of portable radios. This means drivers have one fewer distraction to content with behind the wheel.
"With the anticipated release of FMCSA's Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 initiative and the potential for stricter safety regulations for truck drivers and trucking companies, Con-way Freight is proactively pursuing a high-tech approach to safety," said Bob Petrancosta, the company's vice president of safety. Petrancosta also stated that Con-way was very pleased to work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) in the year of testing and research that went into the implementation of the technologies which can provide “real-world, lifesaving results.”