Trucking Group Expresses Concerns Over NTSB’s Straight-Truck Recommendations

Questions Over NTSB Study (PRINCETON, NJ – AUGUST 20, 2013) – Safety is an integral part of responsible fleet management. When NAFA read through the safety recommendations for single-unit trucks issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Association recognized that the report made no distinction between those in a managed fleet versus those operated by the casual driver or within unmanaged fleets. In a letter addressed to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), NAFA’s Executive Director Phillip E. Russo, CAE offered the Association’s concerns.

The recommendations were initially developed with regard to the NTSB study Crashes Involving Single-Unit Trucks that Resulted in Injuries and Deaths, adopted by the agency earlier in the summer. NTSB’s safety recommendations stemming from the report address modifications to enhance the ability of single-unit truck drivers to detect pedestrians and cyclists, to prevent passenger vehicles from under riding the rear and sides of large trucks, and to improve visibility of single-unit trucks on dark and unlit roads. Another area identified for safety improvement includes the need for FMCSA to research the potential benefits of expanding the commercial driver’s licensure (CDL) requirement to lower weight classes.

“We are confident that a more detailed analysis of accident data will reflect that the safety record of most managed fleets is significantly better,” said Russo. “Managed fleets maintain robust driver training programs, with continual monitoring of driver performance and an ongoing emphasis on improving driver behavior.”

In a message addressed to FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro, NAFA’s Executive Director asked that FMCSA include NAFA as a stakeholder during their analysis and assessment period concerning NTSB’s recommendations. Russo expressed NAFA’s concern with the study’s finding that drivers of single-unit trucks in fatal crashes were more likely to have invalid licenses than the drivers of tractor-trailers involved in fatal crashes. “While this may be true for some trucks,” Russo said, “it is not relevant to drivers of single-unit trucks in managed fleets. For many reasons, including insurance, fleets are scrupulous about ensuring that drivers are properly licensed.”

Russo also questioned the suggestion that requiring a CDL to operate single-unit trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings less than 26,001 pounds might be an effective measure. Russo stated, “We believe that a CDL requirement for all single-unit trucks would be disproportionate to the risks associated with single-unit truck safety in the fleet environment.”

NAFA has long understood that fleet safety extends far beyond a company’s bottom line. Since driver behavior impacts fleet crashes, fuel consumption, and wear and tear on vehicles, collectively drivers represent the single biggest factor in a safe, productive, and efficient fleet operation.

About NAFA Fleet Management Association

NAFA is the world’s premier non-profit association for professionals who manage fleets of sedans, public safety vehicles, trucks, and buses of all types and sizes, and a wide range of military and off-road equipment for organizations across the globe. NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location or fleet composition. NAFA’s Full and Associate Members are responsible for the specification, acquisition, maintenance and repair, fueling, risk management, and remarketing of more than 3.5 million vehicles including in excess of 1.1 million trucks of which 350 thousand are medium- and heavy-duty trucks. For more information visithttp://www.nafa.org.