Safety & Compliance

ATA Leader Calls for More Traffic Enforcement

April 23, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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Byrd says a 2011 FMCSA study found traffic enforcement coupled with roadside inspections three times more effective than just roadside vehicle inspections in reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries.
Byrd says a 2011 FMCSA study found traffic enforcement coupled with roadside inspections three times more effective than just roadside vehicle inspections in reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries.

A trucking industry leader is calling on police to put more emphasis on traffic enforcement, even if it means taking resources away from roadside inspections.

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data, traffic enforcement has been falling in relation to other types of enforcement, says Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Highway Express and first vice chairman of American Trucking Associations.

In remarks scheduled today at a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance meeting in Louisville, Ky., Byrd says on-road traffic enforcement is the best way to improve safety.

CVSA provides a forum for police officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as industry representatives, to set North American truck safety enforcement policies.

Byrd says a 2011 FMCSA study found traffic enforcement coupled with roadside inspections three times more effective than just roadside vehicle inspections in reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries.

Byrd says he recognizes that it will not be easy for the enforcement community to change its approach.

“Migrating from a culture of examining vehicle components and driver credentials to directly addressing unsafe driver behavior will require some jurisdictions to make tough decisions,” he says.

“It may mean a shift of resources and personnel. But I hope you agree, we need to acknowledge that doing so is right and necessary.”

Byrd adds that police should put more effort into curtailing the bad habits of car drivers.

He says ATA data show that car drivers are at fault in about 70% of fatal car-truck crashes. The disparity may be related to higher levels of alcohol impairment among car drivers, he said: 31% of all traffic deaths result from crashes in which the driver was impaired, while the truck driver was impaired in 2% of fatal crashes.

Other factors may be the higher population of younger and older people in cars, and the stricter licensing barriers for truck drivers, he said.

"Changing the unsafe behaviors that cause the majority of truck-involved crashes must play a greater role in (federal) programs if we are to achieve the safety outcomes we all want,” he says.

The trucking industry, for its part, must emphasize defensive driving and consider adopting safety technologies such as blind-spot detection, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control, Byrd says.

Comments

  1. 1. Tony Bruton [ April 23, 2013 @ 08:29AM ]

    Finally someone, Mr. Oliver Patton, in this case, has the facts and courage to reveal what highway safety is about... TRAFFIC enforcement. If "car drivers are at fault in about 70% of fatal car truck crashes", shouldn't traffic enforcement of these cars (and trucks) be the primary objective of law endorsement? I guess roadside inspections are a "greater and easier money maker".

  2. 2. Jeff D. [ April 24, 2013 @ 07:51AM ]

    Actually, the newest statistics that I read have cars at fault 81% of the time when there's an interaction between a truck and auto. AZ LOVES it's roadside inspections, but you rarely see any patrolling. Personally, I think it's all about the $$$$ and the revenue it generates due to excessively high fines.

  3. 3. Michael Chellis [ April 25, 2013 @ 01:47PM ]

    I applaud Mr. Byrd for bringing up the issue of non-CMV drivers' behaviors. While I totally agree that CMV drivers, and motor carriers, be held to high standards of safety, training, performance, and accountability, there is absolutely NO reason that ALL drivers not be held to the identical standards. We see the statistics of causality. We see the non-CMV drivers' multiple arrests for DUI, DWI, repetitive moving violations, aggressive driving, distracted driving, you name it - and these individuals continue to be on our roads. Acquiring - and retaining - a license used to be viewed as a privilege. Today, it seems to be treated as a RIGHT - no matter how much damage is caused by those who have shown that they really do not belong behind a wheel. "They need to retain their licenses" for whatever reason. Earning a living seems to be the most common - they need to get to and from work. While that may be true, that should have been considered by that individual before he had the one for the road, cut the semi off to get off the exit, or what have you. A CMV driver, in a similar circumstance, could easily LOSE his license - which IS his work.

 

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