Truckers and other transportation representatives will meet at the Department of Transportation for the second time this week to continue building DOT's strategic plan for improving truck and bus safety.
At the first session in July, the representatives forecast the major economic and technological trends that will shape the future of the truck and bus industries. This week, they will come up with the strategies that will lead to DOT's goal of reducing fatalities in truck- and bus-related accidents by 50% over the next 10 years.
Among the 70 invited attendees were truckers, trucking association executives and truck manufacturers, as well as stakeholders from labor, public interest groups and the safety enforcement community.
A central theme that emerged from the first meeting was that no matter what scenario is applied to the future, the safety challenge is only going to get tougher. If the economy stays strong, then there will be more freight, more congestion and a continuing driver shortage. If the economy weakens, then there will be less money to implement helpful technologies.
Another theme was that DOT is going to have to broaden its approach in order to achieve its goal. Trucks and buses can get safer, but it will not be possible to achieve the 50% improvement in truck-related fatalities without changing how shippers and receivers operate, and how automobile drivers behave, participants said.