[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 10 (Wednesday, January 15, 2020)]
[Pages 2481-2483]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-00557]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0277]

Request for Information Concerning Large Truck Crash Causal 
Factors Study

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice: Request for information.


SUMMARY: FMCSA seeks information on how best to design and conduct a 
study to identify factors contributing to all FMCSA reportable large 
truck crashes (towaway, injury and fatal). Methodologically, the Agency 
seeks information on how best to balance sample representativeness, 
comprehensive data sources, ranges of crash types, and cost efficiency. 
The methodology should also address the use of on-board electronic 
systems which can generate information about

[[Page 2482]]

speeding, lane departure, and hard braking. The study should be 
designed to yield information that will help FMCSA and the truck safety 
community to identify activities and other measures likely to lead to 
significant reductions in the frequency, severity, and crash rate 
involving commercial motor vehicles. As practicable, the study shall 
rank such activities and measures by the reductions each would likely 
achieve, if implemented. This RFI supports a two-part process to gather 
information for the development of a Large Truck Crash Causal Factors 
Study (LTCCFS) and to promote transparency and innovation by enabling 
the public, academics, experts, and industry to comment on how best to 
conduct this study. This study will help improve FMCSA and its State 
partners' ability to:
    1. Evaluate crashes involving large trucks and identify emerging 
    2. Monitor crash trends and identify causes and contributing 
factors; and
    3. Develop effective safety improvement policies and programs.

DATES: Comments on this notice must be received on or before March 16, 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2019-0277 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the 
docket number for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments 
received without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading 
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit Room W12-140 
on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. The on-line FDMS is available 24 hours each 
day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment that FMCSA received 
your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after 
submitting comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information 
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jenny Guarino, Statistician, Analysis 
Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001 by telephone at 202-366-4143 or by 
email, [email protected]. If you have questions on viewing or 
submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone 
(202) 366-9826.


I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    FMCSA encourages you to participate by submitting comments and 
related materials.

Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (FMCSA-2019-0277), indicate the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each 
suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material 
online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of 
these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing 
address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your 
document so the Agency can contact you if it has questions regarding 
your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
put the docket number, ``FMCSA-2019-0277'' in the ``Keyword'' box, and 
click ``Search.'' When the new screen appears, click on ``Comment 
Now!'' button and type your comment into the text box in the following 
screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual 
or on behalf of a third party and then submit. If you submit your 
comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no 
larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic 
filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they 
reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard 
or envelope.
    FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the 
comment period and may change this notice based on your comments.

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
insert the docket number, ``FMCSA-2019-0277'' in the ``Keyword'' box 
and click ``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket Folder'' button and 
choose the document listed to review. If you do not have access to the 
internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket 
Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West 
Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

II. Background

    In response to a statutory directive, FMCSA conducted a 
comprehensive large truck crash causation study (LTCCS) in 2001-2003. 
The original LTCCS provided the Department, and safety research 
community, valuable insight into the factors which contribute to 
crashes involving at least one CMV. For example, a primary finding of 
the study was that in the vast majority of crashes where the critical 
reason for the crash was assigned to the large truck, it was attributed 
to a driver-related action or inaction. The original study can be found 
at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/810646, 
and the report to Congress can be found at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot .gov/files/docs/ltccs-2006.pdf.
    The original study collected data on crashes at 24 sites of NHTSA's 
National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS/
CDS) from 2001 through 2003 and used a nationally representative 
approach. In order to be included in this study, the crash must have 
involved at least one large truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 
more than 10,000 pounds, and resulted in at least one fatality or at 
least one incapacitating or non-incapacitating but evident injury. Data 
were collected on up to 1,000 elements in each crash. To get the 
highest quality data possible, the onsite investigations began as soon 
as possible after the crash occurred. Data collection was performed at 
each crash site by a two-person team consisting of a trained NASS/CDS 
researcher and an inspector qualified to perform North American 

[[Page 2483]]

Inspections. The researchers collected data at crash scenes through 
driver, passenger, and witness interviews. The 28-page truck driver 
interview form, for example, covered areas such as:
     Crash scene description, including roadway and weather;
     vehicle rollover, fire, jackknife, cargo shift, and 
component problems with brakes, tires, steering, engine, and lights; 
driver credentials, history, method of wage payment, physical 
condition, fatigue (sleep pattern, work schedule, recreational 
activities, etc.), inattention/distraction, perception, and decisions; 
     trip information, including intended start time, purpose, 
intended length, and familiarity with the route.
    After the crash, each truck and truck driver were subjected to a 
thorough inspection/evaluation. The inspection covered thirteen 
critical areas such as brakes, exhaust systems, frames, cargo 
securement, tires, wheels and rims, and fuel systems. It covered driver 
data on licenses, medical cards, duty status, and log books. After 
leaving the crash scene, researchers collected additional interview 
data by telephone from the motor carriers responsible for the trucks, 
and drivers of trucks and other vehicles when the actual drivers could 
not be interviewed due to a fatality or serious injury. Researchers 
also reviewed police crash reports, hospitals records, and coroners' 
reports. In addition, researchers often revisited the crash scene to 
make more accurate scene diagrams and search for additional data. 
Together the teams collected data on approximately 1,000 variables on 
each crash.'' (p.5 Report to Congress, March 2006.)
    In the more than 15 years since the original study, many changes in 
technology, vehicle safety, driver behavior and roadway design have 
occurred that effect how a driver performs. Since the study ended in 
2003, fatal crashes involving large trucks decreased until 2009 when 
they hit their lowest point in recent years (2,893 fatal crashes). 
Since 2009, fatal crashes involving large trucks have steadily 
increased to 4,415 fatal crashes in 2018, a 52.6 percent increase when 
compared to 2009. Over the last three years (2016-2018), fatal crashes 
involving large trucks increased 5.7 percent. This study will help 
FMCSA identify factors that are contributing to the growth in fatal 
large truck crashes, and in both injury and property damage only (PDO) 
crashes. These factors will drive new initiatives to reduce crashes on 
our nations roadways.
    This includes factors such as the dramatic increase in distraction 
caused by cell phones and texting, the level of driver restraint use, 
the advent of in-cab navigation and fleet management systems, as well 
as equipment designed to enhance safety, such as automatic emergency 
braking (AEB) systems. Therefore, FMCSA is interested in conducting a 
revised crash study and is seeking information on the most effective 
methodology for best collecting a representative set of crash data for 
identifying the primary factors involved in large truck crashes. 
Findings from the study can be used to inform technology developers in 
the autonomous vehicle environment of the kinds of driver behaviors 
that need to be addressed.
    This new study will develop a baseline of large truck crash factors 
to help guide mitigating crash avoidance strategies to prevent future 
crashes even in the SAE International driving automation level 4 and 5 
vehicles.\1\ Knowing more about driver behaviors will identify areas 
where new driving automation systems can be of help, and aid in 
formulating performance metrics and standards that may need to be 
considered if they are to reduce crashes involving large trucks. In 
addition, because some of the driver assistance systems are already 
deployed in many fleets, this study can provide data on their 
effectiveness in determining what crash avoidance capabilities may need 
to be incorporated in the Automated Driving Systems (ADS) that may be 
provided on the CMV platforms in the future.

    \1\ SAE Level 4 is High Autonomation, where the vehicle is 
capable of performing all driving functions under certain 
conditions. SAE Level 5 is Full Autonomation, where the vehicle is 
capable of performing all driving functions under all conditions. 
For more information on the SAE levels, and automated vehicles 
please refer to: https://www.nhtsa.gov/technology-innovation/automated-vehicles-safety.

    In your proposal please include the answers to the following:
    1. Should FMCSA pursue a nationally representative sampling 
approach or can convenience sampling serve the needs?
    2. What type of study are you recommending (e.g., nationally 
representative vs. convenience sampling), and what are the pros and 
cons of this approach?
    3. How important is it for the new study results to be comparable 
with findings of the original LTCCS?
    4. What other sources of data can enrich the new study? How can 
they be identified and included?

    Issued on: January 9, 2020.
Jim Mullen,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2020-00557 Filed 1-14-20; 8:45 am]