Less regulation requires more government and corporate responsibility!

In an age of deregulation safety probably will not be required by law! You must remember that legal and moral liability and responsibility do not end with the extermination of a regulation, they actually increase! We end regulations as common sense safety procedures and equipment are expected, safe behaviors are now expected and taken for granted. When expected and common sense behaviors do not exist then courts must take action to enforce personal or corporate responsibility. Does your trucking school provide extensive parking safety training, does your safety manual require extensive safe parking knowledge and procedures, does your new hire training include extensive safe parking training? Strict liability must exist in the law in an age of deregulation, we must ask was common sense used in this case!

Fatal truck shoulder and off lane crashes are increasing when we should know better! Media reporting on parked truck crashes is non-existant! The Underride Network had four national media reports on rear underride crashes in the last 20 years, I am unaware of any other national media during this period that related to parked truck crashes or use of triangles. Fatigue was national media darling even though statistics indicated it was a smaller problem mostly killing truck drivers in drive off road crashes! 12% or more of fatal truck crashes in 2016 occurred on shoulders or on roadsides.

Truck shoulder crash statistics 2016, full crash statistics document at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2016

Truck drivers have a moral responsibility to render aid if an accident happens. The truck is equipped with an extinguisher and usually crowbars. Tow chains and shovels might be available and the extra set of hands could save multiple lives. The truck driver should be trained in emergency procedures. If the vehicle is trapped under the truck or trailer and a spilled fuel fire is raging pulling the truck forward to drag the car away from the spilled fuel might be an last ditch safety maneuver. If the driver refuses to exit the cab then equipment and safety procedures will not be available to save lives and the driver should be charged for refusing to render aid possibly causing fatalities. Fire departments and emergency rescue should train police and local governments in crash procedures.

Moth to flame phenomenon, moth effect, direction of gaze, or target fixation. You tend to steer towards what you are looking at and at night we have severe depth perception issues. We expect to see red lights in the lane ahead of us and thus without warnings may steer towards the expected lights! See http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/motheffect.html for a discussion of the issue and modern studies.

Reaction time is critical in rear end accidents, seeing danger and then reacting to the situation at highway speeds takes several critical seconds. Triangles provide several thousand feet of this critical reaction time as do warning flashers. All truckers should be trained in reaction time, highway speeds, and safety measures.

Red Dot Confusion, red is touted by government and industry as a warning color but at night everything on our roadways is either red or white lights? Crashes into red firetrucks decreased when they were painted flourescent green, red is not a warning color and may never have been. Green stop signs are many times more visible and we all have driven past red stop signs as they can blend into background colors.

Red and White Tape, Red versus fluorescent tape and reduced candle-power. Red tape has a very low candle-power rating when compared to fluorescent tape and has been proven less effective in studies for 30 plus years. Clinton administration in the 90’s over-ruled victims and their safety organizations recommendations for requiring fluorescent colors, TTMA and ATA lobbied for red tape as companies already commonly used this less effective safety color as part of TTMA recommended practices. Stop signs and fire trucks are lime green for a reason, less parked crashes into trucks and very poor daytime performance of red or even usually dirty white tape!

Road film can reduce tape candle-power by up to 90%. Rag and Windex should be part of pre-trip preparation that includes cleaning tape, reflectors, and all lighting.

Nothing to distinguish slow-moving or parked trucks, all trucks have the same ineffective red lighting. There is no warning system required such as flashing lights for the motoring public to determine if a truck is stopped, parked, or slow-moving!

Truckers think if parked voluntarily they do not need emergency equipment such as triangles as there is no emergency. I am not emergency parked, why would I need emergency equipment? Answer, to provide several thousand feet of critical reaction time.

States do not enforce triangle use and many allow their State Patrols and local law enforcement to ignore safe parking laws.

States do not inspect for dirty tape, a lethal safety danger.

Truckers do not understand rear guards are only effective to about 25 mph max speed and that speeds above this have a high fatality risk. Injury crashes become fatal crashes at around 30 mph and roadway speeds can often exceed posted limits.

Interstate Highways allow truck parking even though crashes are common and lethal at highway speeds.

In studies truckers commonly parked on shoulders, on ramps, and exits voluntarily even if parking was available. Paid parking was a negative and simply not used by many truckers.

There is no requirement that truckers pre-plan their trip to include safe parking availability even though it is common knowledge in many large city corridors at certain hours there might be shortages. It is common for truckers to wait during morning hours for parking availability at companies to discharge their loads. If your receiver does not open their lot until 7 AM and you arrive at 5 AM, you might illegally and unsafely park for two hours. The receiver has a responsibility to warn drivers or to open at appropriate hours and the driver has a responsibility to pre-plan his or her trip for arrival at the opening hour!

Safety signs used to exist that warned of dangers of unsafe truck parking such as sign by ATA warning that “Trucks are targets on shoulders”. Political influence and money have virtually stopped government and industry safety training and warnings.

It is not a practice to train truckers to use much safer lower-speed roads if they must park illegally or if they can safely choose their emergency parking location. The chances of a fatal crash rapidly rise with roadway speeds above 25 mph. Truckers should know fatal speeds for underride guards and fatal speeds for roadways, safety manuals and trainers should include this basic safety knowledge or suffer the liability of lacking common sense safety awareness. Safety manuals should include safe parking pre-trip planning tools and procedures.

Illegal parking is not fatigue related, unsafe parking crashes are just as common and lethal as fatigue crashes. Waking a fatigued illegally parked truck driver on a highway shoulder will prevent, not cause a crash. Truck drivers in America have majority membership even in so-called victim safety organizations which causes even expulsion of parking victims for requesting that truck drivers obey parking laws.

Large cities should have programs and laws to reduce the parking safety problems especially in rush pre-morning hours. Apartments are not required to be built with adequate parking causing street congestion and safety issues. Cities can set aside low-speed streets for safe truck parking and use other methods to reduce illegal street parking. Rest areas are for rest and local law enforcement and authorities have a responsibility to insure adequate safety and parking locations. They can work with truck stops and industry to monitor parking locations and availability and make this information available to truckers.

FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and NHTSA (National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration) and all local government and law enforcement agencies and trucking companies have a legal and moral liability to publicly train and recommend safe and common sense truck parking procedures and practices. Does your agency or company have parking procedures in your employee handbook or manual, on your website? Safe parking posters in your employee lounge or gathering area? Does your agency recommend safe parking to the public and all drivers? What if you are sued for a fatality due to lax safe parking training or procedures, can you present your extensive parking training in your manual as evidence, unfortunately in America, the answer at 99% of companies and public agencies is NO! NHTSA and FMCSA simply blame victims as inattentive! They have refused for twenty years to include safe parking posters and information on their websites, in this age of deregulation we have to do the right thing as we will not in many cases be required to provide zero cost life saving information!

A statement by the captain of the ATA America’s Road Team in the February 14, 2000, issue of Transport Topics further underscores the need for information and planning. He had been on a 2-week roundtrip from Vermont to the West Coast and, because of his careful planning, was able to find parking each night. He said, “Less experienced drivers or drivers who work for carriers that put a lot of pressure on them [to reach their destination on time] tend to have trouble finding places to park.” (NTSB Special Investigation Report -Truck Parking Areas.)

 

Parking safety links:

 

Truck crash statistics 2016 at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2016

http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/motheffect.html

 

Mini-Guide to Safe Truck and Car Parking

 

Unsafe Parked Trucks

 

 

 

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