Automated vehicles a hot topic at Transportation Research Board conference

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | 1/15/2019

Automation has been a big topic of discussion at the 2019 Transportation Research Board conference in Washington, D.C.

That theme continued during FMCSA’s presentation on Tuesday, Jan. 15, said Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs.

“Automated vehicles and research on automated vehicles continues to be a priority for the DOT and FMCSA,” Grimes said.

The general message was that automated technology has the potential to improve safety for commercial motor vehicles but won’t affect truck driving jobs in the “foreseeable future.”

FMCSA announced in October that it plans to initiate an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to address automated vehicles and to identify regulatory gaps. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking is expected to be released in “early 2019.”

“I think the advance notice of proposed rulemaking will give us a picture of what FMCSA is looking at as far as amending or changing regulations for automated vehicles,” Grimes said.

The FMCSA presentation also touched on the 2017 crash statistics for large trucks and buses. The overall number of crashes were on the decline, but heavy-duty truck and bus crashes increased.

Grimes said FMCSA revealed that speeding, distraction/inattention, failure to yield to the right of way, and impairment/fatigue were the top four driver-related factors in crashes.

The five-day Transportation Research Board conference continues through Jan. 17.

The conference is expected to attract more than 13,000 transportation professionals from around the world and cover all transportation modes. More than 5,000 presentations were scheduled.



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