Yesterday, ATA Vice Chairman Phil Byrd spoke before the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, urging the agency to balance its focus and efforts on both commercial and non-commercial drivers, a move that would benefit all drivers.
Byrd questioned the agency on why truck and driver inspections were increasing while traffic enforcement is declining.
“About 90% of crashes are the result of driver error or unsafe driver behaviors, and only about 10% are attributed to vehicle factors,” said Byrd, president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express, Charleston, S.C. “With this in mind, we must commit ourselves to focusing on appropriate and effective countermeasures that will impact driver behavior.”
“I think most would agree that examining credentials is not the most effective way to discourage unsafe driving behavior,” Byrd said, citing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data. “In terms of crashes avoided, and lives and injuries saved the benefits of traffic enforcement, coupled with some inspection activity, was about three times more effective than roadside vehicle inspections,” Byrd continued.
Additionally, Byrd urged the agency to do more to address the role of passenger vehicles in causing fatal crashes.
“Passenger vehicle drivers are principally responsible for about 70% of fatal car-truck crashes,” he said. “We must increase our emphasis on the unsafe behavior of those operating around trucks both through enforcement and education. Changing the unsafe behaviors that cause the majority of truck-involved fatal crashes must play a greater role in [enforcement programs] if we are to achieve the safety outcomes we all want.”
To read the full text of Byrd’s speech, click here.