Weather and Climate Impacts

Weather and Climate Impacts on Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety. Rossetti, Michael A. and Michael Johnsen. Cambridge, MA: U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, 2011. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has an interest in how adverse weather may influence trucking industry practices, and what climate change might mean for future FMCSA efforts to reduce weather-related crashes. Weather conditions influence commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations and driver safety through wet pavement, impaired visibility, heavy precipitation, frozen precipitation, flooding, high winds, extremes of temperature, and other factors. Climate variability and climate change may also increase these exposures by affecting the distribution, frequency, or intensity of those weather events. Regional, State, and/or local impacts projected by climate change studies may have future implications for CMV safety. Should climate change result in more frequent or intense storms affecting CMVs, the historic decline in weather-related crashes may level off. This could pose challenges to FMCSA’s primary mission, and the agency may need to explore different strategies for reducing weather-related crashes, such as education and training programs or technologies that could alert drivers of adverse weather conditions.

U.S. Highway Crashes in Adverse Weather. Goodwin, L. et al. 2008. Presented at the 2008 Annual Meetings of the American Meteorological Society. This paper examines driver behavior and crash risk in inclement weather; addresses weather exposure and severity; and presents statistics on eather-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities on U.S. roads from 1995 to 2005. The paper also discusses regional variance in weather-related crash types and rates, fatal weather-related crashes involving commercial vehicles, and the economic impact of weather-related crashes. The paper concludes with a discussion of documented crash mitigation strategies that have safety benefits, as well as research needs to better understand the nature of the problem and explore improved strategies.

Manual on Classification of Motor Vehicle Traffic Accidents, 7th Edition. National Safety Council (NSC). 2007. ANSI Standard D16.1-2007. Itasca, IL: National Safety Council. The primary purpose of the Manual on Classification of Motor Vehicle Traffic Accidents is to promote uniformity and comparability of motor vehicle traffic accident statistics now being developed in Federal, state and local jurisdictions.

Impacts of Weather and Climate on Commercial Motor Vehicles. Rossetti, M.A and M. Johnsen. 2008.  Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society. Session 4B.4 (New Orleans, January 21). Exposure to adverse weather may occur at any point in distribution supply chain and cause ripple effects in the intermodal transportation system. This paper looks at a specific problem area from the transportation sector, the role of different types of weather events as risk factors in CMV crashes and performance. This includes the possible role of climate change in increasing the distribution, frequency or severity of those weather events and their impacts on measures such as safety and delay.