ATA calls for FMCSA to implement crash accountability
The American Trucking Association (ATA) has reiterated its call for action to remove innocent motor carriers’ details from crash records where it is evident that the carrier was not to blame.
Current procedures by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) score carriers in a safety monitoring system on their Compliance, Safety and Accountability based on all carrier-involved crashes. However, the present system records details of accidents where carrier drivers did not cause, and could not reasonably have prevented the accident, often leaving them victim to rising premiums despite being the innocent party.
In an online statement, ATA pointed to three key examples of crashes that have happened in the last year where truck drivers were not at fault. In one case, a man trying to escape authorities collided with a fuel tanker truck, and in another a man convicted of murder crashed into a tractor trailer when escaping police.
“Just last month, police gave chase to a driver of a stolen car who crossed a grassy median and struck a truck head-on,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “It is clearly inappropriate for FMCSA to use these types of crashes to prioritize trucking companies for future government intervention, especially when responsibility for the crash is so obvious.
“Including these types of crashes in the calculation of carriers’ CSA scores, paints an inappropriate picture for shippers and others that these companies are somehow unsafe,” he said.
Earlier this week, FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee heard from a crash reconstructionist who contended that FMCSA could not determine fault in many instances based solely on information from police accident reports.
“This may be the case with some crashes,” said Graves, “but not when a drunk driver rear ends a gasoline tanker or the driver of a stolen car crosses a grassy median and strikes a truck head on.”
Over a year ago, FMCSA shelved plans to make just these sorts of determinations in favor of further study. ATA subsequently called on FMCSA to establish an interim process to address crashes where it is “plainly evident” that the crash should not count against the trucking company.
“FMCSA has been evaluating this issue for years and is not due to complete additional research until this summer,” Graves said. “We don’t need more research to conclude that it is inappropriate to use crashes like these to paint the involved trucking companies and professional drivers as unsafe.”
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany