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Focus should be more on unsafe driving behaviors, less on vehicles, CVSA members told

“About 90 percent of crashes are the result of driver error or unsafe driver behaviors, and only about 10 percent are attributed to vehicle factors,” said Phil Byrd, president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express. “With this in mind, we must commit ourselves to focusing on appropriate and effective countermeasures that will impact driver behavior.”

The Trucker News Services

4/23/2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Law enforcement officials need to focus more on the unsafe driving behaviors of both commercial and non-commercial drivers to achieve optimum safety, the president of a Charleston, S.C., trucking company told members of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance today.

American Trucking Associations Vice Chairman Phil Byrd, president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express, thanked law enforcement agencies for what they do, and also said they must do more to focus on the unsafe behavior of all drivers to achieve necessary safety on the nation’s highways.

“About 90 percent of crashes are the result of driver error or unsafe driver behaviors, and only about 10 percent are attributed to vehicle factors,” said Byrd. “With this in mind, we must commit ourselves to focusing on appropriate and effective countermeasures that will impact driver behavior.”

Specifically, Byrd questioned why the enforcement community was reducing the amount of traffic enforcement activities it conducts under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, in favor of increased inspections of trucks and driver credentials at roadside.

“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 also called on the enforcement group to do more to address the role of passenger vehicles in causing fatal crashes.

“Passenger vehicle drivers are principally responsible for about 70 percent 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.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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