Browse Publications Technical Papers 2007-01-4298
2007-10-30

Foundations of Commercial Vehicle Safety: Laws, Regulations, and Standards 2007-01-4298

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of the laws, implementing regulations, and industry consensus standards that form the basis for the design, manufacturing, and use of commercial vehicles (CVs) and their operation in highway and off-road settings.
The paper begins with an introduction to CVs as transporters of people and goods and as enablers for the provision of services. It briefly describes governmental interest in CV safety and the use of CVs as tools in systems - including the importance of safety research and technology assessment programs. The safety focus is described in terms of the Haddon Matrix, a safety model that shows the time and activity relationships between the operator, vehicle, and environment.
Next, the paper provides a history of important safety legislation related to vehicle design, manufacture, and operation. Although the primary focus is on highway CVs (generally referred to as commercial motor vehicles, or CMVs) in the United States, the paper also briefly addresses laws relating to the safety of off-road agricultural vehicles, and construction and mining vehicles. The paper also touches on laws and regulations applicable to these vehicles and their operation in place in Canada, the European Union, Australia, and other nations.
Many government agencies and non-governmental organizations have CV safety responsibilities - including issuing regulations (consensus standards in the case of the non-governmental organizations) and assuring compliance through various oversight mechanisms. The paper describes their various roles and responsibilities focusing particularly on North America and Europe. This is followed by a discussion of how regulations are developed and implemented.
A series of case studies is used to illustrate the application legal, regulatory, and standards development processes to specific CV safety challenges. The case studies discuss highway CV weights and dimensions, brakes, rear impact protection devices, retroreflective marking, speed limiting devices and onboard data recorders, and rollover protection devices for off-highway vehicles.
The paper closes with a discussion of the continuing need to ensure CV safety through cooperative research and technology assessment activities, as well as the need for designers and engineers to maintain an awareness of the changing environments that influence CVs' use.

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