How Enforcement and Education Can Reduce Fatalities
According to the latest numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there were 3,541 fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2013, resulting in 3,964 fatalities, an increase over previous years. The top 10 driver related factors in these crashes:
Given these statistics, it’s not surprising that in its 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared its vision to be: “Save lives by striving toward a crash-free and fully accountable CMV transportation life-cycle.” This has led to Large Truck and Bus Traffic Enforcement Training, which the administration has called “fast, free and effective.” In 2015, the government agency offered a Large Truck and Bus Traffic Enforcement Training Train-the-Trainer Course, held a National Symposium on Work Zones and Large Trucks, made available $25 million grants to states (with priority given to those who developed programs to alert CMV drivers to approaching work zones) and offered $15 million in high-priority MCSAP grants to the states for crash corridors and new enforcement strategies.
Reflecting nationwide trends, the South Carolina State Transport Police reports an “alarming spike” in traffic-related injuries and fatalities in CMV collisions, as overall fatalities have risen as well. When compared to this time last year, preliminary numbers show that CMV related fatal crashes are up 119 percent and CMV related fatalities are up 127 percent. And in 2015, there have been 59 deaths in South Carolina compared to 26 deaths in 2014.
As Commander and Deputy Director of the South Carolina State Transport Police, Colonel Leroy Taylor says one of the most challenging obstacles his officers face is ensuring the safety of truck drivers and protecting all elements of the state’s trucking industry, including infrastructure. In support of these efforts, the state’s Department of Public Safety has adopted the proactive mindset of “Target Zero,” which is also the theme of all State Transport Police educational, outreach and enforcement efforts. Police efforts are mirrored by Canal’s own robust RMS and safety training program, says Gary Flaherty, Assistant Vice President, Risk Management Services. “When we can reduce distracted, fatigued and impaired driving, as well as failure to use safety belts and other risky behaviors, we can and do impact real world safety statistics.”