NTSB Member Michael Graham will talk about truck safety at Heavy Duty Trucking Exchange.

NTSB Member Michael Graham will talk about truck safety at Heavy Duty Trucking Exchange.

Photos: NTSB

What’s more important to safety: the driver, management, or emerging technologies? That’s the question that National Transportation Safety Board Member Michael Graham will address during an opening keynote presentation at Heavy Duty Trucking Exchange Aug. 25 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

From safety culture to crash avoidance technologies, Graham will discuss lessons learned from recent highway crash investigations and actionable opportunities to improve fleet safety today. 

HDTX is a Heavy Duty Trucking event designed to facilitate networking and relationship-building among a select group of fleet management as well as between fleet managers and supplier representatives. Scheduled this year for Aug. 25-27, it includes select educational sessions and speakers, including a panel discussion with HDT’s Truck Fleet Innovators. Fleet managers apply to attend and if accepted, will be guests of HDT and the supplier hosts.

The NTSB investigates high-profile crashes in all modes of transportation. It has no regulatory power, but it makes recommendations following its investigations to other government agencies, as well as to associations, law enforcement, and other groups.

Every other year, the board publishes a Most Wanted List of transportation safety priorities. Its most recent list, announced earlier this year, addresses issues such as speeding, distracted driving, preventing impaired driving, and requiring collision-avoidance and connected-vehicle technologies on all vehicles.

More About the Speaker

Graham became the 45th member of the NTSB in January 2020. During a 2019 confirmation hearing, he told senators, “I’m not a lobbyist nor an academic. I’m a real-world operator who has been safely managing the risk of company operations by building a robust safety culture. I lead by example.”

He also said in written testimony that unmanned vehicles is an area of concern for the transportation sector. “Integration of these vehicles with manned vehicles will be an issue, but so will the analysis of technical shortfalls in the unmanned vehicles. This has the potential for causing accidents.”

In an early 2020 episode of the Behind-the-Scene @NTSB Podcast, Graham said one of the things he wanted to work on as a board member is the human factor in safety. “For us to really lower the accident rate in a lot of these different transportation modes, it’s going to take more than probable cause and contributing factors,” he said. “ I’d really love to see us focus in on human factors, and a standardization of human factors, so we’re all working off the same sheet from investigation to investigation and from mode to mode. Because until we really figure out why people did what they did, we’re not going to lower the rate significantly in any of these accident modes.”

(Human factors is an area where human behavior is studied in order to improve the interaction between people and technology, equipment, design or processes.)

Previously Graham was with Textron Aviation (which makes Cessna, Hawker, and Beechcraft), and since 2012 he served as Textron’s director of flight operations safety, security and standardization. He started the company’s highly successful Aviation Safety Program.

He began his career in the U.S. Navy as a naval aviator flying A-7s and F/A-18s and completed two operational deployments, including Combat Air Patrol missions over Iraq and Kuwait in support of Southern Watch. He served as FA-18 flight instructor, evaluator and model manager for all Navy and Marine F/A-18s. He received the Navy Achievement Medal for his development of an Occupational Safety and Health program. He went to work for Boeing/McDonnell Douglas before going to Textron in 1997.

Graham earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Mexico. He is also a certified Airline Transport Pilot with over 10,000 flight hours and is type rated in six different Citation models.

Other sessions scheduled for HDTX include:

  • HDT Truck Fleet Innovators awards and panel discussion, sponsored by ConMet
  • Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, will discuss NACFE’s latest findings on electric trucks, including an update on its upcoming Run on Less Electric demonstration program.
  • Lt. Col. Dan “Noonan” Rooney, a fighter pilot with three combat tours in Iraq, a PGA Golf Professional, and the founder of the Folds of Honor, will give a motivational keynote speech.

For more information on HDTX and to apply to attend, go to www.heavydutytruckingexchange.com.

Truck Safety's Most Wanted

Listen to Michael Graham and fellow board member Thomas Chapman talk on the HDT Talks Trucking podcast about the previous Most Wanted List and how the number of crash fatalities could be reduced if the recommendations were followed by regulatory agencies.

About the author
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Editor and Associate Publisher

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology.

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