Friday, April 1, 2016

FMCSA: 'Beyond Compliance' beyond technology

Seems like every time you turn around, there's another proposal to mandate adding more gadgets, more bells and whistles to the trucks on the road, all in the name of reducing crashes and improving safety.

Now there is a congressional directive for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to give “credits,” which could be used to reduce or erase a bad score that resulted from crashes or other safety problems, to motor carriers that put advanced safety equipment on their trucks or beef up their safety program.

To gather input from the truckers, motor carriers and those affiliated with the industry (which is usually product and service providers who push for more mandates), FMCSA held a listening session at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., on Friday, April 1.

OOIDA Life Member Monte Wiederhold took the opportunity to challenge the premise that more technology on a truck does not a better trucker make. That it takes training and active management at the motor carrier level to encourage safe driving practices.

Bill Quade, administrator for enforcement and program delivery at FMCSA, said that the Beyond Compliance is more than just technology.

"Technology by itself without a management program isn't the answer," Quade told Wiederhold.

He talked about the challenges FMCSA faces in implementing a program that gives credit to motor carriers as the Beyond Compliance program proposes.

He gave as an example a motor carrier that pledges to add collision mitigation systems to 100 trucks.

"When do we give the credit?" he asked. "When they put it on the first truck? When it's on 50 percent of the trucks?"

Quade continued detailing the challenge by adding that even with the technology is on trucks, how will the agency actually know that it's improving anything and reducing crashes.

The program, he said, is going to look at all "best practices" motor carriers can employ, things that go above and beyond the regulations.

"While technology is within the sphere, it is not strictly a technology program," he said.

Perhaps capitalizing on a bit of agreement, Wiederhold told the FMCSA panelists that his insurance company audits his business annually. He and four other drivers leased to him meet on a regular basis to discuss various safety and compliance issues. Wiederhold keeps a log of the meetings, complete with topics and the drivers signatures.

"My insurance company says those five or 10 minute discussions are better than big safety meetings," Wiederhold said. "You have to show consistency."

While many other topics  about flexibility in HOS, effects of electronic logs on the industry – were speculated on, Larry Minor, associate administrator for policy at FMCSA, circled back to Wiederhold's program.

"What sort of performance measures are there? How does the insurance company know the program is successful?" he asked.

Wiederhold responded rather simply: "No accidents ... no tickets."
carriers could voluntarily add technology to their trucks to better their compliance rankings, - See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryId=30811#.Vv6N2eKmCak
carriers could voluntarily add technology to their trucks to better their compliance rankings, - See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryId=30811#.Vv6N2eKmCak
carriers could voluntarily add technology to their trucks to better their compliance rankings, - See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryId=30811#.Vv6N2eKmCak
carriers could voluntarily add technology to their trucks to better their compliance rankings, - See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryId=30811#.Vv6N2eKmCak