FHWA funds safety technologies

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is sponsoring a half-day forum Jan. 15 regarding its research and technology efforts in areas such as onboard safety technologies, employer notification of driver violations and the agency’s wireless roadside inspection and smart roadside activities. The forum begins at 8 a.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., and is being held in conjunction with the annual Transportation Research Board meeting. To register for the TRB meeting, go to www.trb.org. To attend the forum alone, contact FMCSA by e-mail at TRB2008@dot.gov.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health plans a survey of truckers’ health aimed at both company drivers and owner-operators and conducted at 40 truck stops nationwide. Officials hope to gather data on working conditions, health behavior, injuries, fatigue and sleep disorders. For more information, go to www.cdc.gov.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a final rule making various changes to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, which relates to lamps, reflective devices and associated equipment. For more information, go to www.regulations.gov and search NHTSA-2007-28322.

The American Sleep Apnea Association presented an award to Wendy Sullivan, vice president of Precision Pulmonary Diagnostics, which provides a sleep apnea detection and treatment program targeting the commercial vehicle industry.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded $1.59 million in grants to five companies developing innovative technologies to improve highway quality and safety. The grants will help move technologies from the prototype to the testing phase and were awarded as part of the Highways for LIFE program. The grants will finance the development of 3M’s wet reflective pavement markings seen under rainy conditions more easily, as well as Pine Instrument Co.’s imaging technology that tells if changes are needed to make pavement mix more durable before surfacing, saving time and money.

The grants also will fund Haskell Lemon Construction sensors that determine in real time when asphalt is set, saving the time it takes to compact the material; Stay Alert Safety Services Inc., devices that install pavement markers quickly into the roadway, reducing time and risk for workers who treat the highways; and EZ Asphalt Technology LLC devices that can indicate at what temperature levels asphalt can crack.

ITI adds new interactive lessons
Instructional Technologies Inc. has added a suite of 13 lessons for training OSHA and Workplace Safety practices to its Pro-Tread and Pro-Tread In-Cab offerings. ITI is adding these lessons to its hundreds of Tread-1 dedicated computers at fleet terminals across the United States and Canada. Along with these lessons, ITI’s revised “Summer and Mountain Driving” lesson also has been added to all systems.

As with all Tread-1 and Pro-Tread lessons, these additional lessons are computer-based and fully interactive, and they require 100 percent mastery to complete the lesson. Pro-Tread lessons are available anywhere/anytime to drivers and warehouse workers via the Internet. Pro-Tread In-Cab lessons are available in the driver’s cab via DriverTech Fleet Management Systems, and are expected to be available in-cab via both GeoLogic Solutions and PeopleNet Communications within the next few months.

The OSHA and Workplace Safety lessons, designed in partnership with Ryder System, meet the training requirements for new drivers and warehouse employees, ITI says, while the two forklift lessons meet the OSHA classroom educational requirements for training forklift operators.

Lessons include Back Injury Protection, Forklift Fundamentals, Forklift Operations, Pallet Jacks, Drug & Alcohol Awareness, Emergency Response Plans, Fire Prevention, Hazard Communication, Lift-Gate Safety, Lockout/Tagout, Personal Protective Equipment, Security Awareness, and Spill Response. These lessons also will be made available at www.rydersafetyservices.com.

ITI also has added a suite of tanker lessons – including Tanker Rollovers, Tanker PPE, and Tanker Pre-Trip – as well as two revised lessons on Air Brakes and Coupling/Uncoupling. ITI anticipates introducing a new HazMat curriculum during the first quarter of 2008, which will qualify for a commercial driver’s license endorsement, as well as federally-required three-year recurrent training.

Preventable or not: Doe goes slip-slidin’ away
During a breathtaking cold snap, tractor-trailer driver John Doe was assigned a trip to Paradise Gulch, Utah – essentially a ghost town that only could be reached via a dirt road through the mountains – to deliver fuel oil to a construction site. Arriving at the dirt road – which was covered by snow, and involved a series of ascending and descending grades with a deep ditch on both sides – Doe chained up his drive axle tires and slowly began his trip. It was 11 a.m. under a cloudy sky.

Doe had never been on this miserable road, which the construction company had skimmed recently with a grader, causing it to become unusually slick in some places. It took a whole bag of Spicy Ranch Doritos and a PowerAde to boost Doe’s nerve enough to continue the trek. While descending a grade, Doe – his heart pounding – took extra caution, traveling at one-half mph around a curve, when