NTSB calls for fatigue mitigation steps

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Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is accepting comments until Dec. 1 on proposed rules to implement certain authorities conferred by 2005 legislation. The proposal would establish procedures for (1) the inspection and opening of packages; (2) the temporary detention and inspection of suspicious packages; and (3) the issuance of emergency orders – restrictions, prohibitions, recalls and out-of-service orders – to address unsafe conditions or practices posing an imminent hazard. For more information, go to www.regulations.gov
and search Docket No. NHTSA-2008-0142.

U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration proposed more than $40 million in grants to help states and territories implement technologies to deliver wireless 9-1-1 calls with automatic location information. To see the proposed grant regulations, go to www.regulations.gov and search Docket No. NHTSA-2008-0142.

More Americans are buckling up than ever before, with 83 percent of vehicle occupants using seatbelts during daylight hours, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in its annual survey. States with primary belt laws average about 13 percentage points higher for seatbelt use than states with secondary laws, NHTSA says. The latest survey is available at www.nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811036.PDF.

Circadian, a provider of work-force performance and safety solutions for 24/7 businesses, announced a partnership with Sleep Pointe, providers of a sleep apnea management program for the transportation industry. Circadian and Sleep Pointe plan to provide sleep disorder screening and treatment services to trucking, rail, aviation, oil services and other businesses.

In response to a tractor-trailer rollover that triggered a collision with a motorcoach, the National Transportation Safety Board called on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take actions to counteract the effects of fatigued commercial drivers and to reduce the occurrence of fatigue in the first place. Specifically, NTSB recommended that:

* FMCSA develop and implement a plan to deploy technologies in commercial vehicles to reduce the occurrence of fatigue-related accidents;

* FMCSA develop and use a methodology that will continually assess the effectiveness of the fatigue management plans implemented by motor carriers, including their ability to improve sleep and alertness, mitigate performance errors, and prevent incidents and accidents; and

* NHTSA determine whether equipping commercial vehicles with collision warning systems with active braking and electronic stability control systems will reduce commercial vehicle accidents and to require their use on commercial vehicles if they are found effective.

NTSB also reiterated its previous recommendation that NHTSA complete a rulemaking on adaptive cruise control and collision warning system performance standards for new commercial vehicles. Those standards should address obstacle detection distance, timing of alerts, and human factors guidelines, such as the mode and type of warning, NTSB said.

The crash that sparked NTSB’s recommendations occurred just before 2 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2005. A tractor-trailer traveling westbound on Interstate 94 near Osseo, Wis., departed the right-hand lane and traveled along the earthen roadside before re-entering the highway where it overturned, coming to rest on its right side and blocking both westbound lanes. About a minute later, a chartered 55-passenger motorcoach, carrying members of a high school band and traveling at highway speeds, crashed into the underside of the overturned truck. The crash killed the motorcoach driver and four passengers, while 35 passengers and the truck driver received minor-to-serious injuries.

FMCSA adopts policy on hazmat crash reviews
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced in the Sept. 16 Federal Register that it will consider preventability when reviewing crash rates for the purposes of deciding whether to deny a hazardous materials safety permit. By regulation, FMCSA may not issue a hazardous materials safety permit to a motor carrier that has a crash rate or driver, vehicle or hazardous material out-of-service rate in the top 30 percent of the national average.

The new enforcement policy will apply when a motor carrier contests the denial of a safety permit based upon a crash rate in the top 30 percent of the national average and presents compelling evidence that one or more of the crashes listed in the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) was not preventable.

ATA’s S&LPMC announces 2008 award winners
ATA’s Safety & Loss Prevention Management Council announced its 2008 award winners at its Safety and Human Resources National Conference and Exhibition in Nashville, Tenn.:
2008 ATA President’s Trophy:

* Large fleet winner (more than 100 million miles annually): Roehl Transport, Marshfield, Wis.

* Mid-size fleet winner (between 25-100 million miles annually): Central Freight Lines, Waco, Texas

* Small fleet winner (less than 25 million miles annually): CLI Transport, Claysburg, Pa.

ATA National Driver of the Year: David May, Con-way Freight, West Seneca, N.Y.
National Safety Director of the Year: Douglas Cook, Covenant Transport, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Human Resources Professional of the Year: Leslie Lundberg, Con-way Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Excellence in Safety Award: North Carolina Trucking Association Excellence in Human Resource Management: Roehl Transport ATA S&LPMC Leadership Award: Douglas Cook, Covenant Transport

Preventable or Not: Doe meets an Ozark Mountain daredevil
Breakfast at Myrtle’s Café in Fort Smith, Ark., had been especially amusing, thanks to tank trucker Billy Joe Legsweak, who, with a perfectly straight face, had tried to convince everyone that his load of Mrs. Miller’s Moovelous Milk was hazardous material! Legsweak was always good for a tall tale or two, John Doe mused as he negotiated the Boston Mountains with a trailer full of produce and a giant bag of Spicy Ranch Doritos riding shotgun.

It was a sunny and brisk fall morning, but still a fine day for driving, Doe thought to himself. Approaching the Harrison Highway turnoff, Doe slowed to a crawl, actuated his right-turn signal, checked his mirrors, moved to the extreme right of the roadway to discourage a squeeze play and cautiously began to execute the sharp right turn.

Out of nowhere, a blue Chevy pickup truck driven by teenager Luke “Leadfoot” Finch materialized to Doe’s right, halfway off the road and moving fast. So Doe hit the brakes hard! Finch, suddenly realizing he couldn’t squeak past the 18-wheeler, also attempted to stop, but found himself in an uncontrollable slide. WHAMMO! SQUEEERUNCH! The pickup had torn Doe’s front bumper clean off!

Doe’s safety director charged him with a preventable accident, which he contested. Asked to settle the dispute, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee quickly voted in Doe’s favor, concluding that there had been no way for him to avoid Finch’s moronic move.