June 1, 2023

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FMCSA’s hours-of-service exemption implicated in fatal truck crash

FMCSA’s hours-of-service exemption implicated in fatal truck crash

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Security Board arrived down challenging on the Federal Motor Carrier Security Administration after the board observed that a fatigued driver of a milk-hauling tank truck was abusing the hrs-of-assistance agriculture exemption — with tiny oversight of the exemption from FMCSA — when he was included in a lethal crash.

The NTSB fulfilled on Tuesday to focus on the conclusions and staff members tips of an investigation into the multivehicle crash on June 9, 2021, that killed four folks and hurt 11.

“Unfortunately, the FMCSA lacks the info relating to how numerous agriculture-exempt carriers exist, and has no data regarding their crash price or severity of crashes,” Michael Fox, an NTSB staff members member, instructed the board.

“The use of the exemption was hardly ever intended to be an unmonitored operation. Staff observed that owing to constrained oversight and lack of monitoring of motor carriers’ operation below the ag exemption, the extent to which these motor carriers work outside of conventional hours-of-assistance limits — which can improve the possibility of fatigued procedure by a driver — is unclear.”

Fox cited investigation displaying that drivers who operate following 10 several hours of driving have a 3.5 occasions increased crash rate than those operating inside the initial hour. “Surprisingly even though, motorists running below the agriculture exemption could function unlimited hours” in the exemption’s 150-mile radius.

“That’s astounding,” responded NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. “And we don’t even know evidently who’s doing that, for the reason that we really don’t keep track of them so we have no concept who’s making use of [the exemption]. That’s preposterous to me.”

The accident involved a 49-year-aged truck driver who was hauling a totally loaded 2015 Walker stainless equipment tank trailer underneath the exemption from a regional dairy to the United Dairymen of Arizona cooperative plant around Phoenix. A fireplace resulted soon after the driver, traveling at more than 60 mph in a 2016 Freightliner, plowed into a queue of slowed site visitors. A complete of 8 automobiles were associated in the collision.

Investigators observed the driver had a lot less than a 6-hour opportunity for rest the day of the crash and regularly labored 70-80 hours for each 7 days.

“Although exempted from hours of service, Arizona Milk Transportation did not have a method to deal with driver fatigue,” according to NTSB. “The investigation found the firm had bad oversight more than its motorists and did not enforce its have insurance policies pertaining to the utmost hrs employees could get the job done.”

As a consequence of the investigation, NTSB advisable that the U.S. Section of Transportation “develop and carry out a method to ascertain the prevalence of for-seek the services of motor carriers operating below agricultural HOS exemptions and examine their security general performance, and to report the conclusions and any tips to boost basic safety to Congress.”

The agency even more proposed that DOT need interstate motor carriers running below an agricultural HOS exemption to “implement a tiredness management method or, if important, search for congressional authority to do so.”

Also cited as contributing to the crash was a remaining rule issued by the Federal Communications Fee in 2021 that purchased states to terminate the use of a band of wi-fi frequency for such items as collision avoidance technologies so that it could be deployed in its place for other commercial utilizes.

“Had some of the vehicles in the crash been geared up with the know-how, the techniques may well have been alerted early ample that the collision may well have been mitigated or prevented altogether,” in accordance to NTSB workers. “A distinguished job by the FCC and USDOT is needed to make sure an best environment for linked car deployment with adequate protection spectrum apparent of interference.”

NTSB encouraged that the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Basic safety Administration create expectations for forward collision avoidance units in professional cars and mandate linked auto engineering on all new cars.

NTSB also voted to reclassify two tips to DOT and the FCC related to related motor vehicle or automobile-to-all the things implementation.

Click on for a lot more FreightWaves articles or blog posts by John Gallagher.