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Safety and Human Factors
   
 

ATRI’s background in safety and human factors is extensive, ranging from development of driver recruitment, retention and training programs, to testing of highly sophisticated physiological systems that measure driver fatigue. Current research focuses on fatigue management, driver wellness and work zone safety.
 

Current Safety and Human Factors Research

Impacts of New Hours-of-Service
In 2004 ATRI began collecting carrier safety performance data on a number of metrics designed to measure the safety impact of the first Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules change which went into effect January 1, 2004.  Carriers were asked to provide driver safety data for 2003 (under the old HOS rules) and for 2004 (under the new HOS rules).   A total of 23 carriers participated, representing over 100,000 drivers.  The analysis found improvements across the metrics studied:  total crashes, preventable crashes, driver injuries and collision-related injuries.  With the second HOS rules change effective October 2005, ATRI continued its data collection asking carriers to provide data on driver safety performance under the new HOS rules.  That data, provided on a quarterly basis, is under analysis now and results should be available by August 2007.

 

Industry Involvement: Motor carriers continue to provide driver safety performance data for the analysis. 

 

Safety and Health Impacts of the New Hours-of-Service Rules -- one-page summary (PDF)

 

Click here to request a full hardcopy report

 

Speed and Truck Safety

To better inform the ongoing discussion on the role of speed in crashes, ATRI is conducting a multi-phased research study. 

 

Research components include:

  • A synthesis of existing research on the effect of speed on truck safety.

  • An analysis of the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) to determine the role high speeds play in causing truck accidents.

  • An online survey of current carrier speed policies, with an emphasis on speed governor implementation.

  •  An intra-carrier analysis of accident rates when operating under different speed configurations due to state speed laws, with an emphasis on the impact of car-truck speed differentials

  • An assessment of “ideal” truck speeds for maximizing safety, fuel efficiency, and productivity using other research components and consultations with industry experts.

Industry Involvement: Over 300 carriers have participated in the speed governor survey to date.  A number of carriers are providing company accident records for intra-carrier analyses.

 

Training Impacts on Safety

ATRI is undertaking a major research initiative aimed at examining the effect of different driver training regimen and techniques on safety outcomes.  The study may be the first ever to examine the relationship of individual training techniques to overall curriculum success and the first to test the effectiveness of training program designs against real-world safety outcomes.  ATRI is currently in the process of forming a technical advisory committee to oversee the research.  Data collection will begin in the early Fall.  

 

Industry Involvement: A Technical Advisory Committee comprised of motor carriers, driver training institutions and drivers is being utilized to provide oversight to the research. 

 




 

Employer Notification System

As a core team member, ATRI has been involved in several phases of a FMCSA-sponsored study looking at the benefits and costs of developing and managing a national online system for registering truck drivers into a real-time notification system.  The “ENS” system would provide employers with exception-based notices whenever an issue or event hits a driver’s motor vehicle record.  The ENS research team is now building and testing a beta version of the system using two states and 4,000 registered drivers.  Ultimately the system may dramatically improve carrier awareness time when safety issues arise, and lower overall safety costs. 

 

Industry Involvement: Hundreds of carriers have provided insight and data in the underlying research design, and the field test underway includes multiple carriers and approximately 4,000 drivers.

 

Driving Simulator Evaluation

ATRI is presently engaged in a major initiative designed to study the effectiveness of driver simulators in reducing specific driver behaviors that have been linked to future truck crashes.  The research couples the findings of the highly influential “Predicting Truck Crash Involvement” study published by ATRI in late 2005 with an experimental research design utilizing original simulator scenarios and testing among a sizeable driver population.  ATRI is currently in the process of designing and coding the simulator scenarios that will be used in the driver testing component of the project.  Driver testing is anticipated to begin later this year. 

 

Industry Involvement: During the scenario design process, ATRI is consulting closely with individuals and companies at the forefront of simulation theory and technology.  Additionally, nearly a dozen carriers are working with closely with ATRI by providing access to driver populations, safety data, and simulator equipment.  As this project enters the testing phase, these carriers will work extensively with ATRI to ensure a consistent testing environment is established and that test results are accurately reported.  Most importantly, they will provide grounded feedback on the effectiveness of these simulator scenarios when integrated into their existing training and safety programs.

 

Traffic Incident Management

TIM Performance Measures Focus States Initiative

Under contract to FHWA, ATRI is part of a team working with 11 Focus States to identify, collect and analyze Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Performance Measures.  The TIM performance measures are being used by FHWA and the states to measure the effectiveness of efforts to clear the road safely and quickly following a traffic incident (anything from debris on the roadway to a major accident causing all lanes to be shut down).  The 11 states involved are California, Washington, Utah, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Maryland and Connecticut.  Participants include representatives from the respective state Departments of Transportation and state law enforcement.  At the conclusion of the initiative, it is anticipated that the TIM performance measures will be promulgated across the 50 states. 

 

Industry Involvement: Depending on the area of the country, traffic incidents are responsible for anywhere from 25 to 50% of the congestion and the costs of that congestion to the trucking industry continue to mount.  FHWA estimates that trucks idling in congestion cost the industry $7.8 billion in 2004.  The series of traffic incident management studies in which ATRI is involved are designed to improve highway operations to mitigate the impact of traffic incidents and ultimately reduce congestion.

 

Traffic Incident Management Self-Assessment
Under contract to FHWA, ATRI conducts an annual analysis of the Traffic Incident Management Self-Assessments (TIM SA) completed by the 75 top metropolitan areas.  ATRI originally designed the TIM SA in 2003 as a tool for state and local TIM program managers and practitioners to evaluate TIM programs and identify program strengths and weaknesses in order to prioritize program activities and initiatives. At a national level the assessments enable FHWA to evaluate progress in traffic incident management and to identify national TIM program initiatives.  Since its development, ATRI has been responsible for the annual analysis of the results, tracking progress at the state and national levels. 

 

Industry Involvement: Depending on the area of the country, traffic incidents are responsible for anywhere from 25 to 50% of congestion, and the costs of that congestion to the trucking industry continue to mount.  FHWA estimates that trucks idling in congestion cost the industry $7.8 billion in 2004.  The series of traffic incident management studies in which ATRI is involved are designed to improve highway operations to mitigate the impact of traffic incidents and ultimately reduce congestion.

 

 




 

National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC)
ATRI is a Charter Member of the Coalition and leads the Coalition’s Research Task Force. One of the first activities ATRI undertook on behalf of the Research Task Force was to develop a compendium of traffic incident management research. The Compendium is continually updated as new research is identified. To submit research for inclusion in the Compendium, please contact ATRI at ATRI@trucking.org.

 
Completed Research
 
 
 

 

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