According to the 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study1, 56% of all single and multiple-vehicle fatal truck crashes are linked to a truck driver-related crash factor. Truck numbers and mileage grow each year while roadside safety inspection resources remain constant. Also, the likelihood of a roadside safety inspection is far less than being weighed and does not appear to have the same deterrent effect when comparing violation rates. According to a 2003 FMCSA study2, there were 3 million truck inspections with a violation rate of 73 percent (including a 25 percent out-of-service rate). In that same year, there were 177 million roadside truck weighs3 with a violation rate of 0.29 percent (515,587 citations).
New technologies and enforcement strategies could dramatically increase the number of times a commercial vehicle and driver are examined, leading to better-targeted enforcement, creating a greater deterrence to operate unsafely, and reducing the number of truck and bus crashes. FMCSA Wireless Roadside Inspection program will evaluate the feasibility and value of assessing truck and bus drivers and vehicles up to 100 times more often than is possible using today's approaches.
A "wireless inspection" is a process where public sector entities (people and systems) examine the condition of the vehicle and driver by assessing data collected by on-board systems. The data used in the assessment is termed the "Safety Data Message Set". The Safety Data Message Set (SDMS) will be delivered using wireless communications in real time to the public sector infrastructure. The SDMS will contain basic identification data (for driver, vehicle, carrier, container, and cargo), record of duty status, and vehicle condition data that are typically available to safety inspectors during current roadside inspections. The roadside enforcement sites that will query and receive SDMSs from CMVs are envisioned to include fixed weigh stations, unmanned remote sites on bypass routes and state borders, and mobile police cruisers. Depending on the availability of enforcement resources, interdiction strategies acting on the SDMS will include real-time and non-real time scenarios.
The program will evaluate the potential benefits to both the motor carrier industry and government. Potential benefits to industry include keeping safe and legal drivers and vehicles moving on the highways without having to stop at roadside stations. This program supports the FMCSA Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010) Program. The purpose of the CSA 2010 initiative is to develop more effective and efficient methods for FMCSA, together with industry and state partners, to achieve its mission of reducing commercial motor vehicle (CMV) crashes, fatalities, and injuries. Key Features of CSA 2010 are to: 1.) Increase the opportunity to have contact with more carriers and drivers; 2.) Use more and better data to improve performance measurements for identifying high risk carrier and driver behaviors; and 3.) Apply a wide range of interventions to correct these high risk behaviors before they become chronic and habitual. Another potential major benefit to safe motor carriers participating in the program is to provide positive credit to fleets for "clean" wireless inspections of driver, vehicle, and carrier factors under the CSA 2010 measurement methodology.
The program is currently in the pilot testing phase. The following are a list of detailed accomplishments and near-term plans:
- In 2007, the technology to support wireless roadside inspections was successfully demonstrated at the FMCSA's CMV Roadside Technology Corridor (CMVRTC) along Interstates 40 and 81 in Tennessee.
- In 2008, a series of briefings to the motor carrier industry and state enforcement agencies have been conducted.
- Also, in 2008, a concept of operations document and a system architecture have been developed with close coordination and input from representatives of the COMPASS and CSA 2010 programs.
- In 2009 and 2010, several IT elements to support wireless roadside inspections will be developed and tested. These elements include a back office system prototype and roadside CMV identification systems at staffed and un-staffed weigh stations in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and New York.
- The Kentucky sites will look at license plate and USDOT # readers, the Tennessee sites (along the FMCSA CMVRTC) will look at cellular technology, the New York sites will look at transponders operating at the 5.9 GHz frequency.
- All of these roadside sites will be integrated and tested with the back office system prototype being developed by the members of the Volpe team also supporting the CSA 2010 program.
- The pilot testing phase will conclude in 2011 and followed by a decision to proceed to a full field operational test (FOT) involving several states and CMVs. The purpose of the FOT would be to evaluate the policy, IT, and economic viability of conducting tens of millions of wireless roadside inspections in support of the CSA 2010 program and other Agency goals.
For more information, contact Jeff Loftus, FMCSA technology division, at 202-385-2363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Development and Evaluation of Alternative Concepts for Wireless Roadside Truck and Bus Safety Inspections, FMCSA, 2003. http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/report/wireless-inspection-report.pdf
3 177 million truck weighs represents 82 million staffed and 95 million using weigh-in-motion.