TRUCK SAFETY: MOTOR CARRIERS OFFICE'S ACTIVITIES ARE LIKELY TO HAVE LITTLE SHORT-TERM EFFECT

This is the statement of Phyllis F. Scheinberg, Associate Director, Transportation Issues, Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives regarding the safety of large commercial trucks on our nation's highways. Specific issues discussed include: (1) trends in crashes involving large trucks, (2) factors that contribute to such crashes, and (3) the Office of Motor Carrier and Highway Safety's (OMCHS's) activities to improve the safety of large trucks. In summary, if the trend of increasing truck travel continues, the number of people dying from crashes involving large trucks could increase to more than 6,000 in the year 2000. While trucks are involved in fewer crashes per mile traveled than are cars, crashes involving trucks are more likely to result in a fatality. In 1997, 98% of the fatalities from crashes between trucks and cars were occupants of the car. Several factors contribute to these crashes, including errors on the part of car and truck drivers, truck driver fatigue, and vehicle defects. Of these factors, errors on the part of car drivers are cited most frequently as contributing to crashes involving large trucks. Specifically, errors by car drivers were reported in 80% of the crashes, while truck driver errors were reported in 28% of the crashes. OMCHS has undertaken a number of activities intended to achieve a goal of reducing the number of fatalities to below the 1996 level of 5,126. These activities include identifying high-risk carriers for safety improvements and educating car drivers about how to share the road with large trucks. However, for a variety of reasons, OMCHS is unlikely to reach the goal.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 14 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00797166
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-042 834,, GAO/T-RCED-99-89
  • Files: HSL, NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 28 2000 12:00AM