National transportation center evaluates commercial driver risk, in-vehicle monitoring, and return on investment for safety technologies

National transportation center evaluates commercial driver risk, in-vehicle monitoring, and return on investment for safety technologies

Trucking companies face a variety of industry challenges, including an aging workforce, driver shortages, injuries and fatalities, and the cost of implementing advanced safety technologies. The National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence (NSTSCE) has issued several new reports on these topics to help fleets navigate them successfully and improve their safety outcomes.

Dr. Rich Hanowski, director of the Center for Truck and Bus Safety at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) commented on the reports, saying, “As recent events have demonstrated, truck drivers are critical to maintaining our economy, and it is imperative that we support driver safety. Moreover, developing and maintaining a safe truck driver workforce supports the wellbeing of all road users. These three new NSTSCE studies provide important new data, and key recommendations that are scientifically based, to aid our nation’s truckers.”

Chris Hayes,Second Vice President of Transportation, Risk Control at Travelers added, “A safe work environment does not happen by accident. As these studies show, engaging drivers in safety conversations and employing technology to deliver data that can be used as part of an ongoing feedback and coaching program can help reduce the potential for accidents.”

Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC), supported the reports’ findings.

“Truck drivers play an important role in delivering needed goods and products across the U.S., a fact highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Martin said. “Motor vehicle data recently released by the NSC indicates our roads have become more hazardous during COVID-19, even with less traffic, and truck drivers – essential workers – share the roadways with these dangerous drivers. We must do more to protect truck drivers with tools like those from NSTSCE. Such efforts will support our valued truck drivers and in turn benefit all road users.” Each study is outlined below, along with recommended best practices for fleet managers:

Using data collected and compiled in a study sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from more than 9,000 commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers (21-65 years old), the NSTSCE project team analyzed the impact of age and CMV driving experience on crash rates, crash involvement, and moving violations.

Based on these findings, NSTSCE recommends the following best safety practices to fleet managers:

Evaluation of an In-vehicle Monitoring System Among an Oil and Gas Well Servicing FleetFull report:

The pilot study, which was conducted among a fleet of oil and gas well servicing vehicles, sought to evaluate the effects of an in-vehicle monitoring system (IVMS) on fleet performance. The NSTSCE team also wanted to better understand the risks that exist in the field through the recording of driver behaviors, vehicle near-miss incidents, and driver schedules.

Data collected from the fleet were handled anonymously across 21 light vehicle pickup trucks, which were instrumented with the IVMS, as well as from four participating drivers (one manager and three site workers), whose vehicles were also instrumented with data collection systems.

Oil and gas fleets may wish to consider the following guidance from the project team on how best to incorporate IVMSs into their operations:

Advanced safety technologies, such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and video-based onboard safety monitoring, have the potential to greatly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roadways. However, CMV carriers may not have the data they need to fully evaluate their return-on-investment (ROI) for deployment.

To assist, the NSTSCE project team has created a research-based ROI calculator designed to help carriers make realistic estimates.Carriers can input data specific to their fleets—number of trucks, mileage, number of crashes, and so forth—to calculate the potential benefits and costs of implementing these technologies.

Download the ROI calculator and user guide here:

These studies were funded through the support of the following NSTSCE stakeholders: VTTI, Travelers, the National Safety Council, General Motors Corporation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Transportation Research Council.

About NSTSCE NSTSCE at VTTI was established by the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2005 to develop and disseminate advanced transportation safety techniques and innovations in both rural and urban communities.

About National Safety Council The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

About Travelers The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $32 billion in 2019. For more information, visit

About Virginia Tech Transportation InstituteThe Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducts research to save lives, time, and money and protect the environment. As one of seven premier research institutes created by Virginia Tech to answer national challenges, VTTI is continually advancing transportation through innovation and has impacted public policy on national and international levels.

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