Preventing and Mitigating Commercial Motor Vehicle Crashes with Technology
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) supports legislation and policies that encourage the deployment of safety technologies proven, through independent research, to improve commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety, either through preventing crashes or mitigating the severity of crashes.
As budgets continue to tighten and technology continues to advance, it is imperative that those in the safety and enforcement communities take full advantage of technological advancements that improve safety and demonstrate a net benefit to society.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2011 alone, CMVs were involved in nearly 130,000 crashes, resulting in just over 4,000 fatalities and injuring another 80,000 people.1 With the forecasted growth in population and the corresponding increase in movement of freight and passengers, truck and bus traffic on our roadways will only continue to rise. Taking full advantage of technologies that can assist in anticipating and preventing crashes will help reduce fatality and injury rates. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly called for deployment of safety technologies on both commercial and personal vehicles to help reduce crashes and save lives. In fact, NTSB has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish performance standards and mandate deployment of collision avoidance technologies on CMVs in its annual ‘NTSB Most Wanted List’.2
Examples of such safety technologies include, but are not limited to:
- Electronic Brake Stroke Monitoring Systems;
- Enhanced Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Monitoring Systems;
- Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems;
- Vehicle Stability Systems;
- Lane Departure Warning Systems;
- Collision Warning Systems;
- Electronic Logging Devices;
- Speed Limiters; and,
- Video-Based Driver Performance/Management Systems.
CVSA believes that encouraging the voluntary adoption of these safety technologies, through grant programs and/or tax credits, will help deploy the devices more quickly, preventing future crashes and saving lives. In addition, encouraging deployment of the technologies will provide additional data for testing and evaluation, which can assist in any future consideration of industry-wide mandates. Further, incentivizing deployment could help bring down the costs of any industrywide mandate and help increase the percentage of fleets being equipped with these technologies.
It is imperative that the U.S. Department of Transportation, when developing performance standards and specifications for safety technologies, work with industry and the enforcement community to ensure that the devices are effective and that any regulations put into place are enforceable. For example, the recent Electronic Logging Device requirement included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) contained language instructing FMCSA to ensure that the devices are ‘tamper resistant’ and accessible by law enforcement. These technologies are only beneficial and effective if they are operating properly, as originally designed. Provisions, similar to those already existing for lights, tires, brakes, etc., must be put into place for new technologies to enable inspectors to verify their functionality. Furthermore, Congress should put into place strict penalties for tampering with safety technology installed on a CMV.
To help reduce CMV related crashes, fatalities, and injuries, CVSA supports legislation and policies that encourage the deployment of safety technology proven, through independent research, to improve commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety, either through preventing crashes or mitigating the severity of crashes.
1 Motor Carrier Safety Progress Report (as of September 30, 2012), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
2 2013 Most Wanted List. National Transportation Safety Board. November 14, 2012.