The NAFA Fleet Management Association has issued some questions about straight truck safety recommendations released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NAFA Fleet Management Association, which represents over 3.5 millions vehicles including trucks, sedans buses, and public safety vehicles, claims the NTSB failed to present the distinction between vehicles manage in a fleet and vehicles operated by by independent drivers within unmanaged fleets.
The NTSB conducted a 5-year study, entitledCrashes Involving Single-Unit Trucks that Resulted in Injuries and Death, where they reported that single-unit trucks are involved in majority of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in crashes, in relation to the number of registered vehicles and vehicle-miles travel. As a result of the study, the NTSB recommends that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) looks into the potential benefits of lowering truck weight classes.
NAFA argues that the NTSB study is inconclusive, claiming that further analysis would prove the safety record of managed fleets to be significantly better than what the board initially found.
NAFA Executive Director Phillip Russo issued a letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, where he requested that the administration allow NAFA to be a stakeholder during assessment of the NTSB’s reports and recommendations.
Russo specifically called out the NTSB’s finding that reported that drivers of single-unit trucks involved in fatal crashes were found to be more likely to have invalid drivers licenses than drivers of tractor trailers involved in fatal crashes.
In the letter, Russo explained: “While this may be true for some trucks, 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.”
NAFA also issues a letter to David Strickland, Administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The letter informed the NHTSA that NAFA’s Safety Advisory Council was performing a thorough analysis of the NTSB recommendations, and ensured them they would share the results of their review with the NHTSA.
The NTSB issued 9 recommendations to NHTSA, 4 to FMCSA, 1 to the Federal Highway Administration, and 2 to the U.S. Transportation Department. Recommendations included:
- Side underride protection systems for newly manufactured single-unit trucks
- Rear underride protection systems for newly manufactured single-unit trucks
- Treatments on the sides and rears of single-unit trucks to make them more visible and conspicuous
- Requiring modifications to make pedestrians and cyclists more visible to drivers of single-unit trucks
- Improving federal and state data on large truck crashes, including the use of vehicle identification numbers to improve the coding of large trucks involved in crashes
- Examining the frequency and possible consequences of single-unit truck drivers operating with invalid licenses
The NTSB also suggests a requirement for a CDL to operate single-unit trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings less than 26,001 pounds, which Phillip Russo opposes, stating “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.”