Regs must focus on risky behavior, crash causes: ATA

WASHINGTON — Future programs and government-issued rules will only succeed to the degree that they address crash risk and causation, a high ranking American Trucking Associations exec told the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

While the trucking industry "has made great strides to improve safety," more can be done, ATA Senior Vice President Dave Osiecki told legislators. But "improving motor carrier and highway safety is about understanding the behaviors that cause crashes and addressing the factors that raise crash risk."

ATA offered three specific recommendations to truck regulators to help better target carriers and drivers most in need of intervention. They are:

— Make crash accountability or “causation” determinations on truck-involved crashes before entering them into a carrier’s profile so drivers and carriers are held accountable for crashes they cause.

— Use vehicle miles traveled, not number of trucks, as a carrier’s exposure measure.

— Focus on using actual citations and not unadjusted “warnings” from law enforcement.

Osiecki said ATA shares FMCSA’s goals for its CSA 2010 initiative, which is more sophisticated than the current safety scoring system, but the system can be improved.

He also told the subcommittee that the current HOS rules are working and should be retained; but the sleeper berth rule should be modified to allow for limited flexibility to encourage greater use of circadian-friendly naps.

Osiecki also recommended a national speed limiter policy capping trucks at 65 mph, similar to what Ontario and Quebec have done in their jurisdictions.

Requiring new carriers to complete a safety training class, including an exam, before commencing operation is something else Osiecki said legislators should consider.

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