Crash Preventability Demonstration Program

Crash Preventability Demonstration Program

The FMCSA has unveiled yet another plan to help improve highway and road safety: the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program. This program is designed to assess the preventability of the most common types of motor carrier involved crashes, and is expected to run a minimum of two years, starting August 1, 2017.  If you were involved in a crash on or after June 1st and would like to report it, go to https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov.

The program allows motor carriers and drivers to submit Requests for Data Review through a FMCSA system; the data will then be looked over and the crash will be determined either Preventable, Not Preventable, or Undecided. Their preliminary decisions will be posted on the DataQ system and will make enforcers, as well as carriers, aware of the evaluations so that they can provide further documentation if available. For crashes found Not Preventable, the notice will provide the crash report number, DOT number, carrier name, date of the crash, the state the crash occurred in, and the crash type (i.e. infrastructure failure, being struck by a motorist/another carrier, etc.). However, before they issue their final decision, the general public can provide input in cases labeled Not Preventable, which provides insight from people that experience these problems first-hand. The final determinations will be located on the Safety Measurement System (SMS). 

The FMCSA will use the data obtained from this program, along with others, to improve the agency’s ability to identify risks imposed by motor carriers and institute measurements to help combat truck-trailer involved accidents in the future, as well as examine the costs and benefits of further testing. These crash ratings will not retroactively pardon carriers for violations, nor will they impact other systems within the FMCSA. They will be used to reduce the frequency of accidents in the future. The list of eligible crashes can be found here, and a step-by-step video on how to submit a request is available here.

Written by: Shayla Powers

Michigan Speed Limits

Michigan Speed Limits

After months of speed and safety tests, Michigan has begun the process of replacing speed limit signs on over 1,000 miles of highway across the state, following legislation that was passed at the beginning of the year. In January, Michigan passed a series of laws allowing the speed limits to be raised on certain stretches of road, including both freeways and trunk lines. This raised speed limits on a little over 600 miles of road, will give Michigan the highest legal speed limit of any of the Great Lakes states.

When considering these changes, experts looked at crash patterns and frequency, as well as the surrounding terrain. They also polled the people that travel on these stretches of road. These polls showed that drivers in these areas were already driving at these speeds prior to the new legislation, and newer safety regulations for vehicles make the higher speeds just as safe as the lower ones. Because of the newer safety regulations, residents of Michigan should not see an influx of car crashes, which should keep insurance premiums the same.

Michigan uses a split speed limit system that places the maximum speed for truckers lower than those for other motorists, which is meant to factor in the longer amount of time it takes for heavier vehicles to slow down. The new laws raise motorist speeds from 70 to 75, and the speed for trucks over 10,000 pounds from 60 to 65. The minimum speed limit remains at 55 MPH. Along with the new speed limit signs, MDOT will install advisory curve warning signs, shorten passing zones, move signs, and change pavement markings where necessary. Despite the added safety precautions and research, there is still a fair amount of opposition to the raised speeds– among these opposition groups are the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and AAA Michigan.

If you would like to learn more about these changes, visit http://www.michigan.gov/mdot., or if you would like to see specific areas being affected, visit http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_ProposedRoutesSpreadsheet_558270_7.pdf.

Written By: Shayla Powers

Electronic Logging Devices

 

Electronic Logging Devices

The newest wave in the trucking industry is Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). These devices synchronize with a truck to automatically record driving times, and are intended to create safer work environments and provide more accurate hours of service. The new ELD rule will be implemented over a four year period and will ultimately replace the old automatic onboard recording devices. This rule is not only for carriers in the United States– Mexico and Canada domiciled drivers will also be required to use ELDs when operating in the U.S. For more information on exemptions and specifications, visit the FMCSA website.

ELDs must be certified, and it will be mandatory to register them with the FMCSA, and in theory, will make it much easier to share and manage driving logs– this also means that it will be much harder to lie on logs. Unfortunately, they can also be a money drain on small businesses; the FMCSA examined a number of ELDs and set a benchmark for what business owners can expect to pay for each vehicle. Annually, the devices (per truck) range from $165 to $183, with the most popular devices running close to $500. The FMCSA predicts that the long-term savings will largely outweigh the initial cost, but for some, that may be too late. The FMCSA estimates total ELD adoption costs to be around $975 million dollars, including driver and inspector training.

Despite high costs, fleet management using ELDs can also be beneficial– the constant monitoring of truck activity can help reduce fuel costs, downtime, and total crashes. The regulation also provides definitive precautions and protocols for harassment, which is defined as “an action by a motor carrier toward one of its drivers that the motor carrier knew, or should have known, would result in the driver violating [a rule],” suggesting once again that one of the main concerns is the safety of drivers.

Checklist for choosing an ELD.

Written by Shayla Powers

Expansion in Shipping and Delivery

Expansion in Shipping and Delivery
By: Shayla Powers

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a drone? We’ve all heard about them, and some of us may have seen them in action, but what threat, if any, do they pose to the trucking industry? Over the past few years, companies such as

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