New Jersey earns high marks for data that promote truck and bus highway safety
(Trenton) - New Jersey has received the highest possible rating from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the crash and inspection data it provides to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The data help FMCSA evaluate the safety posture of trucking and bus companies and target those identified as high-risk for state and federal law enforcement action. The purpose of conducting inspections and aggregating data is to reduce crashes involving large trucks and buses.
“New Jersey motorists and bus passengers depend on well-maintained, safely operated trucks and buses, so we along with the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) have worked to improve the accuracy, timeliness and completeness of the records we provide to our federal partners,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson.
State police and MVC officials check operator credentials and perform roadside, weigh station or off-road safety inspections of commercial trucks. These inspections include simple checks of registration numbers, medical authorizations for drivers and full safety inspections of brakes, tires and other mechanical systems. Violations can lead to the removal of a truck or operator from the road until any infractions are corrected.
State and local law enforcement agencies compile truck and bus crash data that help federal officials track safety performance for commercial carriers nationwide.
Among the measures that have improved New Jersey’s performance are training workshops to fill out paper and electronic forms more accurately and completely and accelerating the transmission of data to federal officials.
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission inspection team conducts more than 9,000 in-terminal commercial vehicle inspections annually as well as more than 2,100 random roadside inspections. The vehicles include those that are registered in New Jersey as well as those with out-of-state registrations. Operator documents and certifications are also checked.
The MVC has also begun cross training of highly skilled school bus inspectors who will be able to further boost efforts in commercial vehicle inspections.
“The fact that we have been recognized as a leader in commercial vehicle safety is due to the valuable cross-agency partnership we have here in New Jersey,” said MVC Chairman Raymond P. Martinez. “The safety of our roadways is a joint priority that is reflected in everything we do including vehicle inspections, the maintenance of critical data and cooperation with our federal partners.”
The New Jersey State Police Transportation Safety Bureau, consisting of the Commercial Carrier Safety Inspection Unit, the Hazardous Material Transportation Enforcement Unit, the Motor Coach Compliance Review Unit and the New Entrant Safety Audit Unit, conducted about 39,000 weigh station and roadside inspections in the year ending April 30, 2011.
As with the MVC inspections, State Police inspections include ensuring that drivers possess the proper credentials for the truck they are operating and checking the overall condition of the vehicle.
“The inspections we carry out are designed to identify administrative, driver and mechanical problems that could lead to a crash,” said New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes.
All MVC and State Police inspection reports and state and local law enforcement crash data are shared with other states and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“On behalf of the FMCSA Eastern Service Center, it is a pleasure to work alongside committed state partners who are equally committed to such consistent programmatic excellence,” wrote FMCSA Field Administrator Robert W. Miller in a June 14, 2011 letter to Simpson. “The impressive performance by your agency and its partners has been maintained despite the implementation of several new and updated performance measures in September 2010.”