K-State civil engineering summit focuses on commercial vehicle safety
MANHATTAN — Kansas State University Department of Civil Engineering faculty will host a 2021 Midwest Commercial Vehicles Safety Summit to reduce the number and severity of commercial vehicle crashes through an exchange of ideas.
A grant of nearly $400,000 from the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will bring together regional commercial vehicle champions, including state highway agency officials, regional policymakers, emergency services personnel, commercial vehicle enforcement, advocacy groups and private industry, to focus discussion on the creation of the following federal research needs:
• Increased public and private awareness of commercial vehicle safety culture.
• Improved road safety for commercial vehicles and buses through deployment of new countermeasures to reduce the severity of crashes.
• Improved safety and security of the transporting of goods.
• Better commercial vehicle resiliency to natural disasters.
• Demonstrated effectiveness of new technologies to increase commercial vehicle safety through human factor interventions.
• Enhanced quality and quantity of commercial vehicle safety data.
The K-State team is led by Eric Fitzsimmons, assistant professor and the Hal and Mary Siegele professorship in engineering, along with civil engineering colleagues Christopher Jones, associate professor and Wallis-Lage Family Cornerstone teaching scholar, and Scott Schiff, teaching professor and Wallis-Lage Family — Carl and Mary Ice Cornerstone teaching scholar.
The three have set a goal of bringing 150 attendees to the Midwest Commercial Vehicle Safety Summit in Kansas City, Missouri, next year.
"We hope to double or triple this number of participants with future summits," Fitzsimmons said, "as there is a great need to develop and expand a commercial vehicle safety culture in the Midwest."
The Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration awarded nearly $80 million in grants to states and educational institutions to enhance commercial motor vehicle safety under this program. These most recent awards represent the highest-ever funding level for these critical safety grants.