Research Project

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Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Fracking-Related Crashes

Goal:

To identify and analyze CMV crash trends in the energy-producing regions of the country (e.g., the Dakotas, Texas and Louisiana, New York south into Alabama, Michigan, and Indiana) that are using hydraulic fracking mining methods.

Background:

Significant safety issues involving large CMV crashes have been identified in regions where CMVs are used to haul fracking materials (mostly water and sand) across the country to regions where fracking is occurring. These regions are described as areas that are rural and even unpaved. These rural areas are not typical for CMV travel or commercial vehicle operator navigation.

Summary:

Some of the challenges related to CMV transport of fracking materials to and from fracking regions are (1) the increase in truck traffic surrounding areas that are not typically exposed to the conditions, and (2) the availability of hours-of-service (HOS) exceptions for oilfield operations. There have been concerns raised about the consistency of State-by-State enforcement of HOS rules for CMVs involved in the transport of fracking materials. For example, there is a 24-hour restart exemption for operators—with “highly specialized training”—of equipment constructed for oilfield operations. These operators are not required to count detention time at well sites as on-duty time. This exemption is sometimes applied to CMV drivers who are transporting fracking materials; however, CMV drivers who are simply transporting fracking materials do not have the “highly specialized training” that oilfield equipment operators have, thus they fall outside of the applicable status for use of the exception. In addition to identifying and analyzing fracking-related CMV crashes based on the region and the materials being transported, this project will also (1) evaluate the CMV hauling hazards of this sector based on safety impact, (2) recommend safety countermeasures, and (3) reconsider current exemptions based on risk.

Outcomes:

Final report.
 

Milestones:

Completed:

Oct/Nov 2016: Kick-off meeting
April 2017: Final literature review
March 2018: Analysis o safety measures and trends in CMV transportion for fracking sector.
May 2018: Report on the analysis and evaluation of (and recommendations of safety countermeasures for) fracking-related CMV crashes.

Funding:

FY16 Funding: $200,000

Project Manager:

For more information, contact Nicole Michel of the Research Division at (202) 366-4354 or nicole.michel@dot.gov.

Contractor:

John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018
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