AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Traffic Safety Research Program (UMassSafe) is hosting a Commercial Vehicle Safety Research Summit Nov. 9-10 at the Hotel Northampton in downtown Northampton. The summit seeks to promote partnerships between universities, law enforcement and driver licensing agencies with the overall goal of preventing crashes involving large trucks and buses.
The summit is funded by a grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Participants have been invited from across the FMCSA Eastern Service Region, which encompasses all six New England states, Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Virgin Islands.
The summit will feature representatives from the transportation industry, state and local law enforcement, state driver licensing agencies, colleges and universities and other transportation partners, along with federal transportation officials.
“Innovation is rapidly changing the transportation sector,” says Daphne Jefferson, FMCSA deputy administrator and one of the speakers at the event. “The federal and state governments must keep up while never losing sight of protecting the traveling public. The summit enables us to learn from each other and build partnerships with universities to realize the safety benefits of innovation and automation.”
Michael A. Knodler, UMass Transportation Center and UMassSafe director, says, “We are really excited about bringing this unique grouping of safety stakeholders to discuss ways to prevent crashes involving large trucks and buses while forging partnerships and sharing best practices with each other.”
Other speakers are Anne Ferro, president and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, as well as representatives from the FBI and the trucking industry.
Key issues related to crash prevention that will be discussed include driver distraction and autonomous vehicles, as well as homeland security, drugged driving, social media and workforce development. Statewide partnerships will be developed and expanded in order for universities to assist state agencies in their crash prevention efforts, organizers say.
The goals of this summit are based upon the premise that an integrated approach and effective partnerships can reduce the number of truck and bus crashes and fatalities. Massachusetts has enjoyed positive safety results because of the successful partnership that now exists between UMassSafe, the Massachusetts State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section and MassDOT’s Registry of Motor Vehicles Division. Using this experience as an example, summit organizers hope to encourage other state participants to develop or expand the connection between universities and state agencies involved in crash prevention efforts.