Federal grant funds upcoming Midwest Commercial Vehicle Safety Summit

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022 | Written by Greg Tammen


MANHATTAN — Kansas State University is using a new grant to improve large truck and bus safety on highways and roads in the Midwest through education and collaboration.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation, recently awarded more than $564,000 through the high-priority grant program to fund the 2023 Midwest Commercial Vehicle Safety Summit. The summit is being organized by the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering and K-State Olathe. It will bring together multiple federal agencies, private industry, law enforcement, transportation safety engineers, university researchers, trucking associations, insurance companies and nonprofits who want to decrease commercial motor vehicle crashes on roadways by increasing safety through knowledge and networking.

The grant was awarded to Eric Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., P.E., associate professor of civil engineering, who holds the Hal and Mary Siegel Professorship in Engineering and is a George Yeh – Carl and Mary Ice Keystone Research Scholar, and Debbie Kirchhoff, executive director of strategic initiatives at K-State Olathe.

"Other regions of the U.S. host commercial vehicle safety summits, but none existed for the Midwest until K-State and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration organized one earlier this year," Fitzsimmons said. "We're excited to have the resources to once again provide a much-needed opportunity for safety professionals in our region."

More than 270 government, industry and research personnel attended the inaugural Midwest Commercial Vehicle Safety Summit, which was conducted in June in Kansas City, Missouri. Throughout the two-day summit, speakers shared and discussed data, research and public education, policy, safety efforts and other topics related to commercial vehicles. New technologies, such as vehicle collision avoidance systems for semitrucks, driverless automated vehicles and functional field-of-view technology, also were frequently discussed and a SAE Level 3 automated semitruck was available for attendees to view.

"The feedback we received from attendees about the 2022 summit was excellent," Kirchhoff said. "We're looking forward to working with the Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Highway Patrol, the Kansas Division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other transportation organizations to build on the success of the 2022 summit."

The 2023 Midwest Commercial Vehicle Safety Summit will be in the fall 2023. More about it will be announced closer to the event.