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2007 Meeting Minutes

Truck and Bus Safety Research Committee - ANB70
Mid-Year Meeting, Oct. 22, 2007
Keck Center of the National Academics, Room 202
9:30 am - 5:00 pm EST


  • Joel Ticatch, Chair
  • Richard Pain, TRB Staff Liaison
  • Michael Belzer
  • John Brock
  • Gerald Donaldson
  • Deborah Freund
  • Michael Griffith
  • Edward Hitchcock
  • Ronald Knipling
  • Gerald Krueger
  • Edwin Miller
  • Duane Perrin


  • Tom Costello (Supporting Joel Ticatch)
  • Laurie Hellinga (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Representing Anne McCartt)
  • Azita Mashayetkhi (International Brotherhood of Teamsters)

Opening Discussion

At 9:30 am, Joel Ticatch called the meeting to order, welcomed members and guests, and opened the floor to self-introductions. Joel explained the committee rotation process, noting that the committee recently completed its first rotation cycle. This meeting, therefore, is the first for the current membership. Part of the goal for this meeting is to establish the committee's directions and focus.

A committee roster was circulated. The roster also lists each committee member's specialty areas or areas of expertise. This information will continue to need updating.

The committee received 11 papers for this year's annual cycle, and Joel thanked those on and outside the committee who reviewed the submitted papers. Feedback from the reviewers showed that the quality of papers was weak this year; however, this situation was not unique to this committee. The biggest problems were quality of writing, particularly among authors for whom English is not the primary language, insufficient editing, insufficient literature review, and lack of understanding in how to use or apply data from databases to authors' topics. The committee discussed how quality could be improved for future papers.

Mike Belzer proposed a review process similar to TRR, with a double-blind review process and encouraging proper use of citations. NHTSA, RITA, and FHWA are sponsoring significant research, and the committee discussed looking for where good work is being done and potentially recruiting papers from those areas.

Brainstorming and Discussion: Committee Directions and Focus

The committee's circular was published earlier this year, and the committee discussed its future direction and focus. Jerry Donaldson recommended greater attention to vehicle design and over-the-road bus and motor coach crashworthiness, and representation from these areas on the committee. Jerry Krueger suggested identifying new research areas from the circular. A third suggestion was for FMCSA to consider hosting another "Futures Conference." Lastly, the committee discussed developing a printed version of its circular, which requires funding; FMCSA may be able to furnish some funding for printing.

Rick Pain noted that TRB has created a research needs database for all its committees. Many researchers in academia and industry are enthusiastic about its use in identifying research needs. The committee could help TRB identify, prioritize, and add research needs to the database.

There was a discussion about forming new subcommittees. Currently, there is only one active subcommittee, which is the Driver Training Joint Subcommittee, sponsored jointly with ANB30, Operator Education and Regulation. However, there is potential interest in revitalizing the Industry Self-Evaluation Subcommittee and forming subcommittees for Driver Health and Wellness and Motorcoach Safety. Ted Hitchcock agreed to chair the Subcommittee on Health and Wellness and to contact prospective members. Jerry Donaldson consented to chair the Motorcoach Safety Task Force and to establish a working group to begin developing a task force scope.

Debbie Freund suggested a task force for discussing ways to access data. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact Debbie at 202-366-5541 or deborah.freund@dot.gov. Another possible subcommittee could be organized around vehicle dynamics, and the committee will revisit this suggestion at a later date. Rick and Joel reminded the committee that subcommittees are not subject to membership constraints and can include members not on the committee. The upcoming Annual Meeting will be a good opportunity to reach out to prospective subcommittee members.

Joel noted that Brenda Lantz continues to oversee the committee's website, which is hosted by North Dakota State University. The committee wishes to update the materials and possibly create a repository for subcommittee and member activities.

FMCSA Update

Mike Griffith provided an update on FMCSA's activities.

  • FMCSA's Office of Policy is developing a strategy in response to the Supreme Court's ruling on hours of service.
  • A study on the causation of bus fires is scheduled to begin this fiscal year.
  • There are plans to do a more rigorous evaluation of on-board safety systems and safety benefits, which are to include "before-and-after" studies.
  • FMCSA will present an update on its on-board safety monitoring project in California at the upcoming Annual Meeting.
  • US DOT's ITS Joint Program Office will fund a project investigating ways to get multiple warning systems to work together in a workable suite.
  • FMCSA plans a violations severity assessment study to ascertain which violations are most in need of analysis. Post-crash and standard roadside inspections will be compared. The results of this study will feed the CSA-2010 initiative.
  • In January, there will be a website showing the research activities of Mike's office.

Debbie Freund encouraged the committee to view FMCSA's research and technology website for updates on its research activities.

Miscellaneous Topics

Ron Knipling presented an overview of his book-in-progress, Large Truck Crash Risk, Causation, and Prevention.

Joel reminded Rick that the committee prefers a different meeting area at this year's Annual Meeting, as last year's meeting area was adjacent to the Exhibition Hall and was quite noisy. Rick advised that the committee's next meeting will be in Marriott/ Maryland C, which is a better location. In addition to the regular business of the committee, Joel reminded the committee that the next meeting will include short informal 10-15 minute presentations on topics similar to the papers submitted for the Annual Meeting or that discuss research in progress. Committee members are invited to recommend presentations for the next committee meeting.

Secondly, Joel mentioned that a small group of papers was returned to authors for revisions. Jerry Krueger recommended adding a checklist of instructions for non-native English speakers/writers, including having the paper reviewed for quality of writing. These instructions would be quite beneficial if they would be seen at the time of submission. Rick advised such a checklist can be inserted in the Information for Authors section.

Jerry Krueger also suggested having a committee one-page Call for Papers for those submitting papers on topics within the committee's purview.

Rick provided an update on the Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program, noting that FMCSA is likely to keep up its effort and that the Synthesis panel is accepting topics. The committee is welcome to submit topics. Please send them to Rick who will pass them on to those running the Synthesis panel.

Jerry Donaldson reported that there was an FMCSA Advocacy Meeting, which was very collegial and successful. It had a CDL advisory committee assemble a draft of a mandated report to be sent to Congress.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 pm, and Joel thanked everyone for their attendance, support, and hard work.

Minutes Prepared By: Tom Costello, Telvent Farradyne Inc.

Transportation Research Board Transportation Research Board
Committee on Truck and Bus Safety (ANB70)

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