Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published its to-do list for 2015. Safety in the trucking sector is one of a number of things that the board intends to improve. As you might know, the number of deadly crashes and accidents involving truck drivers has been steadily rising over the past few years.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
From 2011 to 2012:
The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 5 percent, from 3,633 to 3,802, and the vehicle involvement rate for large trucks in fatal crashes (vehicles involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks) increased by 4 percent.
The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 22 percent, from 63,000 to 77,000, and the vehicle involvement rate for large trucks in injury crashes increased by 22 percent.
This has led to intense debates, since the trucking sector is an important component of the U.S. economy, but its cost to human society keeps on increasing.
The NTSB is a federal agency that doesn’t have the power to require the application of policies. Its role is to investigate accidents involving any means of transportation, whether it be airplanes, trains, vehicles, etc.
The fact that its power is limited certainly explains why many of its recommendations have barely or haven’t been followed by industry regulators. In recent years, the NTSB has suggested that:
- Trucking firms should ensure that their workers fully comply with current regulations
- Trucking firms should develop mechanisms to anticipate new hazards and come up with ways to mitigate them
- Regulators should elaborate a system allowing them to monitor the amount of rest drivers get before they go back on the road
For 2015, the federal agency seeks to push its recommendations even further, as it plans on proposing that cell phones stop being used while drivers are on the road. If passed, this measure, which is already enforced on noncommercial drivers in 15 states, will extend to the 37 remaining.
Additionally, the NTSB would like to see more stringent laws against impaired driving in the trucking sector.
It seems clear that if all these recommendations were to be adopted, the number of truck accidents would drop considerably.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, ask for a free consultation from WKW today.