CVSA Adopts Policy Position on Beyond Compliance

Alliance Also Addresses Increased Heavy-Truck Size and Weight, Distracted Driving
Load securement inspection
A Virginia State Police officer conducts a load inspection. Among CVSA's newly announced policy positions is its opposition to increasing the size and weight of heavy trucks unless certain criteria are met. (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance)

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The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has adopted a slate of new policy positions in support of a “beyond compliance” concept, in opposition to increasing the size and weight of heavy trucks, and calling on regulators to create programs and resources devoted to “rigorous enforcement of distracted driving behaviors.”

The policy positions, adopted by the CVSA board of directors at the group’s annual closed-door summer meeting, were made public by Kerri Wirachowsky, director of CVSA inspection programs, at a Nov. 6 webinar.

The beyond compliance concept was mandated by Congress more than six years ago, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has yet to adopt the idea that would offer motor carriers some sort of extra credit or reward for early adoption of safety technologies or fatigue management programs before they are mandated.

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 8.2% of fatal crashes, 14% of injury crashes and 13% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021 were reported as distraction-affected crashes,” CVSA said.

Causes of Crashes

In 2021, 3,522 people were killed and an estimated 362,415 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. The sources include:

• Visual Distraction: Looking away from the road at 55 mph for as little as 3 seconds will result in the vehicle traveling 250 feet, almost the length of a football field.

• Manual Distraction: Removing one or both hands from the steering wheel to perform nondriving tasks, such as using a cellphone, texting or adjusting the radio.

• Cognitive Distraction: The most dangerous form of driver distraction, involves any activity that causes the driver to take their mind off the task of driving. Daydreaming is a common form of cognitive distraction. Even hands-free cellphone conversations can cause cognitive distraction.

Source: CVSA

In a separate policy statement, CVSA said it does not support increases to existing truck size and weight limits, unless the impacted vehicles are designed and manufactured to accommodate the additional weights they will carry; are being properly maintained with particular attention paid to the wear and tear of the vehicles’ mechanical and load bearing components; and can travel with consideration given to the possible impact to infrastructure and roadway design.

In addition, consideration should be given to whether a minimum set of performance requirements should be established for the subject vehicles.

CVSA’s nearly 4,000 members are dedicated to transportation safety and committed to helping the alliance achieve its goals of uniformity, compatibility and reciprocity of commercial motor vehicle inspections in North America.

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