Speed limiters on cars? NTSB makes recommendation

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Nov. 20, 2023:

NTSB calls for speed limiters on cars

As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explores a potential speed limiter mandate for heavy-duty trucks, another government agency is calling for similar technology on new cars.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into a multi-vehicle crash in North Las Vegas last year that resulted in nine fatalities has led the board to recommend a requirement for “intelligent speed assistance technology” in new cars.

The board issued the recommendations Tuesday at a public board meeting after determining the crash was caused by “excessive speed, drug-impaired driving and Nevada’s failure to deter the driver’s speeding recidivism due to systemic deficiencies, despite numerous speeding citations.”

Intelligent speed assistance technology, or ISA, uses a car’s GPS location compared with a database of posted speed limits and its onboard cameras to help ensure safe and legal speeds.

Passive ISA systems warn a driver when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit through visual, sound, or haptic alerts, and the driver is responsible for slowing the car. Active systems include mechanisms that make it more difficult, but not impossible, to increase the speed of a vehicle above the posted speed limit and those that electronically limit the speed of the vehicle to fully prevent drivers from exceeding the speed limit.

[Related: 68 mph? FMCSA backtracks after ‘inaccurate’ reveal of speed-limiter intentions]

“This crash is the latest in a long line of tragedies we’ve investigated where speeding and impairment led to catastrophe, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. “We know the key to saving lives is redundancy, which can protect all of us from human error that occurs on our roads. What we lack is the collective will to act on NTSB safety recommendations.” 

Specifically, NTSB recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Require ISA systems that, at a minimum, warn a driver a vehicle is speeding

  • Educate the public about the benefits of ISA
  • Update the guidelines for state highway safety programs to include identification and tracking of repeat speeding offenders
  • Develop countermeasures to reduce repeat speeding offenses
  • Conduct research and develop guidelines to assist states in implementing ISA interlock programs for repeat speeding offenders
  • Incentivize the adoption of ISA through, for example, the New Car Assessment Program. This recommendation is reiterated from a 2017 recommendation.

NTSB also recommended to 17 car manufacturers that they install ISA in all new passenger vehicles that, at a minimum, warns drivers when a vehicle is speeding.

[Related: Safety groups urge Congress to oppose efforts to block speed limiters]

CVSA sets dates for 2024 Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will host its annual has set the dates for next year’s Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative (HTAI) for each of its three member countries. In the U.S., the initiative is scheduled for Jan. 8-12, 2024. Canada’s HTAI dates are Feb. 19-23, 2024. In Mexico, HTAI is set for March 11-15, 2024.

CVSA’s annual five-day human trafficking awareness, outreach, identification and prevention initiative aims to educate truck drivers, motor carriers, law enforcement officers and the general public about the crime of human trafficking, the signs to look for and what to do if you suspect someone is being trafficked.

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception with the aim of exploiting them for profit. Men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world, including North America. Human traffickers often use violence, fraudulent employment agencies, and fake promises of education and job opportunities to trick and coerce their victims.

In preparation for the 2024 Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative, CVSA is offering human trafficking awareness resources to its membership and working with Truckers Against Trafficking to distribute wallet cards, posters and window decals. Complimentary outreach materials can be ordered here.

During the five-day awareness initiative in each country, CVSA jurisdictions will note human trafficking awareness and outreach efforts and projects, and submit that data to the Alliance. The results will be released next summer.

[Related: The growing bond between transportation and global communities]

RK Logistics opens new Michigan logistics center

Third-party logistics provider RK Logistics Group recently held a grand opening event to commemorate the launch of its new facility in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, a suburb of Ann Arbor. 

Michigan has emerged as a key region for the development and manufacturing of electric vehicles, as well as their Tier 1 and 2 suppliers, particularly electric battery production. RK's new facility is supporting local "gigafactory" manufacturing of batteries with specialized, temperature-controlled warehousing, material handling and line-side delivery of raw materials to production plants, as well as storage and delivery of finished batteries ready for installation in vehicles. 

RK Logistics, headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, has been supporting EV manufacturing since 2014, and early next year, expects to surpass 5 billion battery units handled through its warehousing facilities.

RK Logistics provides warehousing, transportation and related supply chain management services to companies in leading industries through a network of facilities principally in Northern California, as well as in Michigan, Texas and Arizona. RK’s facility footprint includes sites in Fremont, Hayward, Newark and Livermore, California; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Austin, Texas; and Phoenix, Arizona. Overall, the company operates some 1.6 million square feet of warehousing.