Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM
Rollover prevention remains a major consideration for tank truck safety — and the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) has conducted a series of workshops addressing rollover prevention.
Rollover prevention and other safety issues the industry faces were discussed at the NTTC Tank Truck Safety Council Seminar April 2-3 in San Antonio, Texas.
Taking part in the various discussions throughout the meeting were John Conley, NTTC president; Steve Niswander, Groendyke Transport Inc; Joanne Cisneros, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA) in Texas; and Bill Hand, Harris County, Texas, hazmat team.
Conley and Niswander said that a rollover prevention campaign by NTTC, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which included three seminars last year, is moving forward.
Niswander said publicity materials on the issue, such as posters and pins, are being distributed throughout the industry. Conley pointed out that the group continues to look at ways to educate smaller companies that don't participate in associations.
On a similar subject, Cisneros said FMCSA is working with the states in an effort to obtain more accurate accident data, but she urged carriers to check their FMCSA safety records to insure accuracy. At the same time, she said truck crashes will continue to be rated higher than other infractions; hazmat carrier incidents will be rated higher than non-hazmat; and truck crashes with passenger vehicles will be rated highest of all.
Cisneros said the DOT goal is to significantly reduce crashes and fatalities by 2010 — and a large part of the department's budget is devoted to that effort. She said she anticipates that more carriers will undergo compliance tests. Carriers that complete compliance reviews subsequently show improved safety, she added, saying, “We are going to focus more on the problem drivers.”
Preliminary data show that unsafe drivers move from company to company, and companies with poor safety records hire bad drivers. At the same time, DOT is taking a look at drivers other than truckers to observe their driving behavior and how they react around truck traffic, Cisneros said.
Other points made related to safety ratings:
The FMCSA rating system will contain information about driver records as well as by carriers.
Drivers violating HOS rules will receive higher rating.
Driver information will be included in carrier records, but separate action may be taken against the driver.
Some drug testing information should be public, but this will require a“huge” rulemaking effort.
Crash reporting won't include an “at fault” category. The agency will look at preventability and is evaluating the definition of preventability.
Turning to emergency response activities, Hand said that most fire departments are not ready to handle incidents such as a gasoline truck fire. In addition, biofuels complicate response for those with a lack of training and skills.
He advised carriers to emphasize maintenance of internal valves so that product is not spilled in an event, such as a rollover. He also recommended that, when possible, carriers know the qualifications of the wrecker service used in recovering the vehicle.
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