The Top Two Safety Concerns For Commercial Trucks, Eighteen Wheelers and Semis.

We have discussed the National Transportation Safety Board's efforts to make the roadways safer here in the past. They routinely publish their "Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements" and one of the latest focuses on commercial trucking safety.

Eighteen wheelers and semis, are driven by trained professionals and yet when they are involved in crashes both locally in Maryland and the District of Columbia and nationwide, two factors always seem to be present.

The N.T.S.B. describes them "The two most important factors in safe motor carrier operations are the operational status of the vehicles (trucks) and the performance of the individuals who drive them."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was directed by Congress to establish procedures for examining just how safely commercial trucking companies operate.

This authority, derived from The Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984, has resulted in a compliance review system evaluating problems with regard to both vehicles and their drivers. Persistent problems can result in motor carriers losing their license to operate.

Six specific factors are weighed. These are ratings involving drivers, hazardous materials, accidents, operational issues, the vehicles and general matters. The basic system contemplates the FMCSA evaluating problems and if a commercial trucking operation receives more than two unsatisfactories, they may be given an out-of-service order, prohibiting operations.
Under this scheme, the vehicle and driver factors receive greater weight. The motor carriers are of course entitled to respond to or correct any problems or non-compliance.

Pursuant to its Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 Initiative, the FMCSA will create new systems of "performance-based" driver safety preventive measures.

What this means for the driving public both in Maryland and the District of Columbia, is that fewer tractor trailer crashes are likely. The FMCSA is focusing on so-called "evidence based crash causation patterns.

These include seven categories of unsafe behavior on the part of drivers and commercial trucking carriers. These  "Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories"  (BASICS) include fatigued driving, drugs and alcohol, driver fitness, unsafe driving, vehicle maintenance, crash experience and cargo securement.

 The bottom-line, improved safety for commercial trucks, eighteen wheelers, semis and tractor trailers, is a worthy goal.