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Tag Archive for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Why Highway Hypnosis Is Every Truck Driver’s Achilles’ Heel?

Think about it. This is a type of job in the logistics industry requiring a ton of caffeine either in the form of energy drink, coffee, dissolvable, gummy, or pill. And loads of it – all to ensure that a driver doesn’t fall asleep behind the wheel. It’s a sad state when we see those driver’s ed videos about the truck driver who gets lulled into a meditative state, driving for hours and hours only to meet his or her horrible end in a head-on collision or a trip down a massive hill and explosion at the very bottom of a chasm. All by itself, it fits the mold of your standard horror movie!

This Is Why the White House Has Recently Nominated a ‘Sleep Specialist’ to Head the NHTSA

Highway hypnosis is no joke. It’s every truck driver’s worst nightmare. Each logistics corporation faces the prospect of a truck driver falling asleep at the wheel and causing some horrible accident, and the fact remains: such a truck driver can’t help but get fatigued. Logistics is truly a tough job.

Why do you think highways have those rest stops? Truck drivers do use them all the time. The problem, though, is that there are deadlines, and truck drivers can’t liberally use their time at their leisure to make sure they don’t rest their foreheads on the steering wheel while managing 60 miles an hour on the open road. It’s a lose-lose situation for these truck drivers, basically.

Hail Mark Rosekind, the new head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a federal crash investigator – and even better, a “sleep and fatigue specialist” – capable of really understanding what makes our truck drivers tick.

The Basic Credentials of Our Possible New NHTSA Head

Truck drivers all over America need the help to keep their eyes open, obviously, which is why Rosekind makes such a dent on the subject. Having been a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, this is a man with such in-depth knowledge to know just what our drivers need to stay safe while operating their semis.

Moreover, he’s an innovator, implementing technological solutions, a chief scientist and President of a company dedicated to finding revolutionary ways for drivers working in the logistics industry to combat fatigue and highway hypnosis. That company is “Alert Solutions.” Understandable name.

Rosekind Is Not the Head of the NHTSA…. Yet

He has to get a pass by the U.S. Senate, and then he’s good to go. Given his credentials and the endorsement by our United States President, though, the chances are good.

With him on board, though, you can bet we can get some insight on research and development for higher safety standards among logistics companies. This goes well beyond the need for caffeine pills or Monster drinks, just so you know.

As a graduate of Stanford and Yale, Rosekind doesn’t play around. With his work at NASA, leading initiatives to develop a fatigue countermeasure program, studying all sorts of human factors in aviation, you can only imagine if he can make sure an astronaut or pilot doesn’t fall asleep behind the wheel, he can probably do the same for just about any truck driver out on the highway.

And without a doubt – we need that kind of expertise.

What the NHTSA Does

The truth is evident that highway hypnosis may forever be an issue we will always combat. That’s why the NHTSA is an agency focused on research and policy. Additionally, safety recalls and oversight of fuel economy standards are key priorities, hence making the agency not only a right-now type of solution for every single driver, but a long-term environmental remedy for thousands of trucks out there consistently burning fuel.

I Think It’s Safe to Say….

We’re in good hands. We have to be. When we’re out there on the road – whether as a residential driver, or a commercial operator – there’s always that chance that something can go wrong. It’s a highway. It’s hypnosis. People get sleepy all the time.

As long as we have a team there to always find ways to minimize the danger, we’ll always be on the right track. The right people make a difference. Our drivers will always succeed at their truck driving jobs, even when it’s tough. Moves like this from our President remind us that our livelihoods are the most important thing to the American Dream.

What is the Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) Program?

Many people who drive their vehicles down the highway every day have no idea how to effectively share the road with large trucks. Most drivers fail to realize that commercial vehicles need a much longer distance to stop than small cars and trucks because of their size and weight. The inattention and lack of knowledge these drivers have causes hundreds of accidents each year, many of them deadly.

The Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks program, also known as TACT, is a Selective Traffic Enforcement program that is designed to educate drivers and deter unsafe behaviors by both drivers of passenger vehicles and drivers of commercial vehicles. Their goal is for all drivers to share the road safely and efficiently.

Unsafe Behaviors are Being Considered by the TACT Program

The Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks program focuses on unsafe driving behaviors that relate to cars and commercial trucks sharing the road in a safe manner. These behaviors include aggressive truck driving, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, speeding, failure to yield the right of way and failure to use a turn signal when changing lanes. Each program is responsible for identifying unsafe behaviors that contribute to fatalities and automobile crashes in their particular state.

Components of a Successful Program

Research conducted by many agencies has shown that each aggressive driving program should include the components of evaluation, communication and enforcement. Communication is designed to educate and build awareness. Enforcement is designed to stop drivers who are driving aggressively or unsafely. These components work together to increase driver awareness and raise the driver’s perceived risk of being ticketed for aggressive behavior like unsafe lane changes. The evaluation component is important because it provides feedback and structure for the program. States who address all of these components clearly may be eligible for a federal grant.

Enforcement

Each state should identify the areas where aggressive truck driving and other unsafe practices are most likely to take place and select a few of these areas where communications and enforcement will be applied. It’s also important for the state to develop enforcement tactics that cover the methods they will use and the departments that will be involved in enforcing the laws against unsafe driving. It is essential that the enforcement is visible and vigorous so that unsafe driving behaviors are highly discouraged.

Safe passing and following distances are one of the focuses of this program, unfortunately the distance that drivers should leave between their vehicle and other vehicles depends on many factors, including vehicle size, road conditions and speed. Officers should use their trained judgement to decide whether the following distance a driver is using is safe. Video may be used when available to gauge safe following distance and back up the officer’s judgement in court if necessary.

Some of the most effective enforcement strategies include unmarked cars, aerial surveillance and ride-alongs. Each program should document their own success with various enforcement methods to determine the most effective strategy for their area. It is impossible to directly compare the results of one state to another because of differences in their respective programs.

Timeline

Each state’s program is encouraged to create their own timeline based on the activities they are planning to include. Start and end times should be spelled out during the planning stages so that the state can use the timeline on their grant application and media campaigns. Different aspects of the program may have different timelines, as a detailed timeline is not needed by administrators, media and others who are not directly involved in the program.

The Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks program began in Washington state and is likely to become a national program. It combines the Click It or Ticket model from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Share the Road Safely model from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It is currently designed to be an 18-month long program, but may be extended or expanded into an ongoing program if it is implemented properly by each state. The highway department of each state is free to determine if their signs from this campaign will be up only for the duration of the program or if they will leave the signs up permanently. The states may also choose to transfer their signs to new locations after the campaign has ended.

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