Truck & Bus Safety Research Needs
Research Board (TRB) Truck & Bus Safety Research Committee (ANB70)
January 6, 2017
document identifies sixty (61) truck and bus safety research and development
needs in 11 different topical areas. Like
other TRB committees, the Truck & Bus Safety Research Committee (ANB70)
seeks to identify and articulate research needs in its discipline and to
encourage research organizations to perform needed research. To this end, the committee has identified research
needs in its major topic areas. For many,
the committee has written more detailed Research Needs Statements (RNSs) on the
TRB RNS website (http://rns.trb.org/). ANB70 asks both research-funding and
research-performing organizations to consider these research needs in their
strategic planning and allocation of resources.
ANB70 members are available to provide further explanations regarding
them. ANB70 also welcomes research needs
statements written by non-members. More
information is available on our website [http://www.ugpti.org/trb/truckandbus/]
or by contacting committee Chair Brenda Lantz (firstname.lastname@example.org) or committee
research coordinator Ron Knipling (email@example.com).
following 61 research needs are organized into 11 focus areas, corresponding to
topics within the committee’s scope and its subcommittees. Twenty-five (25) of these are further articulated
online as Research Needs Statements (RNSs); the other 36 may be written and
uploaded as RNSs in the future. This
list will be updated periodically. Those
with the designation “RNS” are online on the TRB RNS website. Readers interested in those topics should
review those RNSs since they contain extensive information. Although the needs below are classified by
principal category, almost all of them relate to other categories as well.
Problem Assessment & Data:
Naturalistic Driving Crash Representativeness. Develop crash and event profiling,
stratification, and data weighting schemes to make naturalistic driving
safety-critical event (SCE) datasets conform more closely to crash datasets
such as the LTCCS, thus increasing their validity and usefulness.
_Multi-Dimensional, Omnibus Crash Problem Size Analysis to Support
Countermeasure Assessments_. Generate en masse a huge
number (10,000) of specific, countermeasure-relevant crash problem
size statistics on different crash types, causes, other factors, vehicle types,
etc. to support countermeasure assessments.
_Single-Vehicle Crash Involvement as a Commercial Driver Risk Indicator_. Assess
the validity, safety benefit, and practicality of using involvements in CMV
single-vehicle crashes as indicators of driver risk.
_Survey Methodologies for Motor Carrier Research_. Review the fundamentals of survey research
methodologies in the context of CMV transport.
Generate guidelines for improving CMV transport surveys.
RNS: _CMV Crash Risk by Time-of-Day_. Review
the available data sources to determine large truck crash rates and risks by
time-of-day. This includes numerator
(crash number, harm) and denominator (exposure) measures.
_Exposure Data to Support Improved Truck Crash Risk Estimates_. Evaluate
existing and potential exposure measures corresponding to crash variables for
generating more valid and meaningful relative risk estimates. Publish a compendium of exposure (“denominator”)
variables and data similar to existing crash (“numerator”) reports.
*RNS: Analyze Injury Outcomes of Rural and Urban
Truck Crashes. * Review
characteristics and factors contributing to crash severity in rural and urban
areas. Generate strategies for
Carrier-Specific Exposure Risk Estimation.
Develop an algorithm whereby the exposure risk of any trip and, in the
aggregate, any larger operation could be estimated based on multiple known risk
factors such as trip length, types of roads traveled, traffic densities,
time-of-day, and day-of-week.
Representative CMV Driver Sampling.
There are wide variations in CMV driver operations types, vehicles
driven, traffic environment, physical job requirements, and other
characteristics. The envisioned study
would delineate key CMV driver characteristics for the development of
*Light Vehicle and CMV Following
highway vehicle-to-vehicle following distances, by vehicle type combinations
(both light vehicle types and truck types), to gain insights into light
vehicle-CMV rear-end crashes.
*Suicide by Truck. *A European study reports that 65 of 379
fatal truck crashes (17%) are suspected suicides by car drivers. Assess this problem in North America and
determine implications for crash reporting, carrier safety management, and
*State Practices Relating to Exempt
Motor Carrier Operations. *Examine
state laws, regulations, and practices relating to MC operations that are
exempted from HOS and other regulations; e.g., which industries/commodities,
actual exemptions, safety data comparing exempt to regulated
Effects of New Hours-of-Service Rules. Assess effects of the 2013 HOS rule changes
using large, nationally representative samples; this includes effects on CMV
safety (driving and non-driving), driver health, driver income, the driver
shortage, and the overall safety and economic performance of the industry.
*Enforcement & Compliance: *
_Optimized CMV Enforcement Field Test_. Conduct a large-scale regional field test to
determine the optimal mix of MCSAP-supported enforcement strategies, and likely
involving a shift toward relatively more traffic enforcement.
_Understanding What Violations Report on the CDLIS_. Examine state and
other jurisdictional practices (e.g., reporting criteria) and performance
(e.g., completeness, accuracy) in reporting traffic convictions to other states
and to the Commercial Drivers License Information System (CDLIS).
_Traffic Violation-Triggered Carrier Audits_. Assess the merits of initiating carrier audits
following extreme traffic violations such as overspeeding, based in part on the
Australian experience using this approach.
Characterize Non-MCSAP Traffic Enforcement. Quantify and characterize CMV traffic enforcement
activity (stops, violations, convictions) by non-Motor Carrier Safety
Assistance Program (MCSAP) police officers, and determine its significance as a
supplement to MCSAP-funded traffic enforcement.
Note: Also see “Optimized CMV
Enforcement Field Test” RNS below.
Driver Health & Wellness:
RNS: Why Are Commercial Drivers So Unhealthy? *Determine the
relative roles of different job factors, and also _non-job_ factors
including demographics, personal traits (resulting in self-selection for the
job), and health-related attitudes. *
_Work-Related Distress & Mental Disorders in Commercial Drivers_. Determine the prevalence, health effects, and
safety effects of work-related distress and mental disorders among CMV drivers.
*_Commercial Driver Health and Wellness Programs to Impact Driving
Safety. _ *Test two hypotheses: (1) CMV
drivers who adopt a health and wellness lifestyle will be safer drivers; (2)
Employee H&W programs (e.g., screenings) will promote driver behavioral
changes and additional carrier wellness initiatives.
Sleep Disorder Screening Criteria. Determine efficacy and cost effectiveness of
implementing new sleep disorder screening criteria for CDL certification in
driver medical examinations. FMCSA is
contemplating new criteria (e.g., BMI) for requiring driver sleep lab
testing. Examine the costs and benefits
of such changes in terms of health, driving safety, and operational
Nutrition, Diet, Weight Management for CMV
Drivers. Elucidate driver eating
habits as part of health and weight management factors for their implications
in overall driver wellness and fitness.
Study driver’s nutritional knowledge, accessibility of healthy food
especially during over-the-road operations, and the willingness of drivers to
engage in healthy eating.
Large & Small Carrier H&W Program
Assessment. Conduct case studies of
programs geared toward drivers in both large and small carriers to identify
viable H&W interventions, return-on-investment, and best practices that can
improve human capital strategies to viably serve both employer communities.
*CMV Driver Physical, Medical, Fitness
Standards Linked to Functional Abilities.
*Conduct research to elucidate medical and H&W selection,
placement, and retention standards linked to transient states, diseases and
medical conditions, and to specific functional abilities to drive and to crash
CMV Driver Injuries from Slips, Trips, and
Falls. *Conduct research that
identifies the causes and solutions of CMV driver injuries due to lifting and
vehicle egress and ingress. _ *_
*CMV Driver Distress. *Determine the prevalence, health effects, and safety
effects of work-related distress and mental disorders among CMV drivers. In addition, determine best approaches for
providing CMV drivers with health services.
Note: See RNS on same topic,
*Assess Truck Stop Rest &
Hygiene Services. *Assess
and compare the driver rest, sleep, and hygiene-related facilities and services
available at North American truck stops, including any obstacles drivers face
(e.g., cost, availability) in using them.
*Health & Safety Communication
Strategies with Commercial Drivers. *Determine
the best media and formats for contacting and communicating with commercial
RNS: Driver Performance and Other Causal
Mechanisms in Quasi-Experimental Hours-of-Service (HOS) Studies. _Validate
and elucidate findings from major HOS studies using quasi-experimental designs
without controls for likely confounding factors such as time-of-day. Discern causal mechanisms._
Self-Assessment Bias among Commercial Drivers. *Survey drivers regarding self-assessments
of their safety and health, and relate these self-assessments to other driver
characteristics, including risk perception, openness to improvement, and
objectively measured safety and health.
Cabin Ergonomics. _Assess truck cab ergonomic configurations for the
purpose of improving driver comfort and safety.
Goals include reduced back pain, reduced fatigue, reduced distraction,
and increased safety belt use.
_Investigating School Bus Driver Distraction_. Collect
naturalistic data on school bus drivers performing their normal driving tasks
on bus routes to determine distraction sources.
of Crash Causes & Countermeasures. Conduct a comprehensive, top-down review of
truck and bus safety efforts (Federal, State, industry, public education, etc.)
as related to our knowledge of crash causation and characteristics. Identify under-targeted causes and under-supported
Personal Risk. Validate and elucidate personal risk
dimensions, and design safety programs based on this understanding. Dimensions may include performance vs.
behavior and temporary states vs. enduring traits.
Multi-Component Model of Fatigue’s Role in
CMV Crashes. Driver fatigue’s most
obvious crash causal role is seen when asleep-at-the-wheel is the Critical
Reason (proximal cause). The envisioned
study would define, verify, and quantify other crash causal mechanisms and
scenarios traceable to fatigue.
Isolate the Fatigue and Other Driving
Effects of Time Awake. Time awake is
well-established as an independent physiological factor in alertness. Yet, in almost any CMV driver schedule,
driving/work hours co-vary with time awake to a high degree. The envisioned research would differentiate
the two types of temporal effects and their implications for fatigue management.
Evaluate Driving Simulators as a Testbed
for CMV HOS Studies. Driving
simulators offer numerous advantages over real driving as research testbeds; i.e.,
subject safety, scenario and test event standardization, repeatability, and
sophisticated measurement. A research
question, however, is whether subjects can sustain long, HOS-relevant hours
driving a simulator.
Carrier Safety Management:
_Women Commercial Drivers & Safety_. Examine the safety and operational performance of women
commercial drivers with the potential outcome of increasing their numbers.
Improved Safety Management for Prime Contractor & Subcontract
Carriers. Analyzse and document safety
challenges which might exist in large transport operations making extensive use
of subcontract carriers and drivers.
Identify and articulate effective safety management practices for such
organizations, both from the perspective of “parent” companies and their small
_Case Studies of Carrier Safety Advancement_. Conduct in-depth case studies of motor
carriers which have progressively improved their safety programs. Motivate and enable other carriers to
undertake similar safety advancement programs.
_Carrier Based Validation of Driver Selection Tools_. Conduct
carrier-based validation studies of various tests and measurements used for
driver selection and other assessments to improve driver selection.
Validation of Driver Analytic Modeling. As part of the above project or separately, validate
analytic modeling of driver safety and retention to prevent spurious inferences
due to Type I errors (false positives generated randomly by multiple post hoc comparisons), regression to the
mean, and similar pitfalls.
*Improving Carrier Risk Management
Identify means for motor carriers to identify and understand their crash
risks and available countermeasures in areas beyond regulatory compliance.
Crash Investigation and Analysis
for Carriers. Identify and
delineate effective carrier practices to investigate and analyze their crashes,
considering carriers’ multiple needs to learn from their mistakes, reduce
future risks, avoid undue liability and adverse publicity, and treat
crash-involved drivers fairly.
*Media for Communications with
Small Carriers and Drivers. *Determine
the best media and formats for messages regarding safety information, including
new regulations, enforcement, best practices, and time-critical (e.g., traffic,
weather, safety recalls) information.
Ecodriving Pilot Tests and Program
Development in North America.
Ecodriving is a primarily
European initiative that promotes fuel economy and lower-risk driving. There is a need for demonstration pilot tests
and other activities to develop and promote the concept in North American
Measuring the Safety Effectiveness of Professional Driver Training. **Determine the effectiveness of
pre-employment commercial (truck and bus) driver training in increasing
pro-safety behaviors and in reducing collision and incident rates.
International Review of CMV Driver Training
and Knowledge/Skill Requirements. Review regulatory requirements and industry
best practices in various developed nations (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Europe) to
identify possible models for improved training of commercial drivers in the
CMV Driver Advanced Competency Training
& Certification. Identify
training and performance criteria for “Master Driver” certification, either by
governments, carriers, or independent standards organizations. Create recognized and standardized higher
levels of driver competency beyond the CDL.
Cargo Securement Training Needs Assessment
and Training Development. Analyze
driver training needs associated with cargo securement for various trailer and
operations types, based on both regulations and “beyond compliance” best
practices. Design and develop needed
Analyze CMV Driver Trainer Competencies. Analyze competencies essential for success as
a CMV driver trainer. This would include
generic training competencies as well as those specific to CMV driving.
Pre-Driver Training Candidate Screening
Tool. **Develop and validate a
self-test questionnaire to screen potential CMV drivers prior to basic
training, thereby reducing “wash outs.”
The instrument would likely address vocational interests, personality,
values, and behavioral history (e.g., past crashes/disqualifiers).
- Alternative Compliance
Pilot Test. Pilot test carrier
safety management strategies which improve upon, or in some cases supplant
certain traditional Commercial Vehicle Operations safety management regulatory
and compliance practices. Develop, evaluate and promote new safety
strategies, including technology applications, for appropriate carriers using
discrete incentives or inducements, such as tax credits or exemptions relating to FMCSA's Compliance,
Safety, Accountability (CSA) system. The evaluation would involve both federal and
state agencies and would determine the effectiveness of alternative
compliance concepts, and the potential for expanding such concepts as a means
to expand the reach and coverage of enforcement efforts throughout the
nation. It would consider audit,
documentation, or certification schemes to verify and document best practices and
safety outcomes. It would support
FMCSA’s planned Beyond Compliance
initiate to recognize non-mandatory carrier safety initiatives.
_Vehicle Design & Technology:
_Technical Characteristics of Paratransit Buses Currently Built In The
U.S_. Develop a database with technical information on the construction,
fueling, safety, passenger securement and durability of current paratransit
buses built in the U.S.
_Crash Harm per Freight Ton-Mile for Different Large Truck
Configurations_. Determine which
large truck transport vehicles (and specifically which sizes) provide the
greatest freight haulage while resulting in the least crash harm.
_Indirect Visibility Systems (IVSs) on Buses_. Conduct literature review and focus groups to identify
potential indirect visibility system configurations for certain bus types to
improve visibility, increase driver situation awareness, and reduce crashes.
Pilot Test of Truck Platooning. Conduct a pilot test to determine the safety
and fuel efficiency benefits of truck platooning employing vehicle-to-vehicle
communications and synchronized braking and acceleration.
*Assess Foundation Brake
Performance Monitoring Systems. *Examine and
test existing monitoring systems for foundation brakes (particularly drum
brakes), such as systems that can detect failures and/or excessive
wear and alert the driver through electronic systems.
*_Roadway Design & Operations:
- Safety Effects of Differential Speed Limits. Resolve the long-debated question of whether
differential highway speed limits for trucks and light vehicles contributes to
safety, or degrades it.
Safety Ramifications of Small Motorcoaches. Assess occupant protection and other safety
concerns regarding the use of smaller capacity motorcoaches.
Safety Evaluations of Dedicated CMV Lanes. Pilot test bus and truck dedicated lane and
traffic light prioritization schemes with potential safety benefits for CMVs
and motor vehicles in general.