LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The American Trucking Associations is calling on law enforcement to focus more on the unsafe behaviour of drivers, both commercial and non-commercial, in order to achieve the safety gains.
“About 90% of crashes are the result of driver error or unsafe driver behaviours, and only about 10% are attributed to vehicle factors,” said ATA vice-chairman Phil Byrd in a speech to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance yesterday. “With this in mind, we must commit ourselves to focusing on appropriate and effective countermeasures that will impact driver behaviour.”
Specifically, Byrd questioned why the enforcement community was reducing the amount of traffic enforcement activities it conducts under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, in favour of increased inspections of trucks and driver credentials at roadside.
“I think most would agree that examining credentials is not the most effective way to discourage unsafe driving behaviour,” Byrd said, citing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data. “In terms of crashes avoided, and lives and injuries saved the benefits of traffic enforcement, coupled with some inspection activity, was about three times more effective than roadside vehicle inspections.”
Byrd also called on the enforcement group to do more to address the role of passenger vehicles in causing fatal crashes.
“Passenger vehicle drivers are principally responsible for about 70% of fatal car-truck crashes,” he said. “We must increase our emphasis on the unsafe behaviour of those operating around trucks both through enforcement and education. Changing the unsafe behaviours that cause the majority of truck-involved fatal crashes must play a greater role in [enforcement programs] if we are to achieve the safety outcomes we all want.”