A trucking leader’s call for police to put more emphasis on traffic enforcement rather than roadside inspections yielded a polite “thank you” from the enforcement community – and disagreement with some of his message.
Traffic enforcement is important, but it must be done in concert with vehicle and driver inspections, said Stephen Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
Keppler was responding to a speech to CVSA this week by Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Highway Express and first vice chairman of American Trucking Associations. Byrd said on-road traffic enforcement is the best way to improve safety, even if it means taking resources away from roadside inspections.
“We very much appreciated Phil Byrd’s presentation,” Keppler said in response to an email query. “We would agree with some of what he said, we do not agree with all of it.”
CVSA brings together police and other enforcement officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as industry representatives, to set North American truck safety enforcement policies.
Keppler said traffic enforcement on trucks, buses and cars is effective, but it is part of a comprehensive enforcement effort that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction based on specific needs.
He pointed out that traffic enforcement gets to only one of three categories of behavior closely associated with crash risk.
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA safety enforcement program, the categories of Unsafe Driving, Hours of Service Compliance and Vehicle Maintenance are closely tied to risk, he said.
“Traffic enforcement alone only gets to one of these (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories), whereas traffic enforcement with an inspection gets to all three,” he said.
Keppler also took issue with Byrd’s assertion that traffic enforcement has been falling in relation to other types of enforcement.
The data on that point is not accurate, Keppler said.
“We, ATA and FMCSA have discussed this issue and FMCSA is looking into it. ATA knows this.”