According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), we should be doing more to protect truckers and other drivers from trucking accidents, as the number of fatalities in these accidents is on the rise for the fourth year in a row. The NTSB stated they have recommended more than 100 new regulations that could improve truck safety, but highway regulators have yet to take action. In 2015, the Board hopes to provide an even more compelling argument to push for improvements.
Anti-collision technology, driving hour limitations and tighter regulations for trucking companies who have high accident statistics are among the NTSB’s list of proposed changes that should immediately cut down on accidents and fatalities. In an interview, Donald Carol, NTSB’s director of highway safety investigations, emphasized the whole suite of technology that’s “ready for prime time now that would reduce crashes,” and stressed how important it is for companies to begin utilizing these technologies and saving lives.
One of the first steps, the NTSB said, is to implement use of anti-collision technology. A sensor has been developed that can alert truck drivers when they are too close to the car in front of them and about to collide. The sensor can also detect when a vehicle changes lanes and warn the driver appropriately. These sensors can provide seconds of warning time and prevent drivers from crashing into cars in their blind spots.
Combating Driver Fatigue
Another factor involves regulating the truck drivers themselves when they get behind the wheel. Current statutes allow truckers to operate their vehicles with minimal mandated breaks. The NTSB is hoping to encourage new laws that will create hard and fast rules for sleep schedules, breaks and other stops to prevent drivers from becoming fatigued or from pushing themselves to unsafe breaking points. The NTSB has recommended that companies begin screening for sleep disorders that may lead to drowsy or overtired drivers.
In a national case last year, comedian Tracy Morgan was injured and his friend and fellow comedian James McNair was killed after the vehicle they were in was hit by a Wal-Mart truck. The ensuing investigation revealed that the driver of the Wal-Mart truck had not slept in about 24 hours, which contributed to the accident. The truck driver rear-ended the van in which Morgan and McNair were traveling on the New Jersey turnpike.
The NTSB also has plans to enforce safety regulations across the board for trucking companies to cut down on accidents. According to their research, there is a distinct link between truck crashes and poor safety enforcement on the part of the company. On average, 20 percent of truck inspections yield violations in safety procedures and requirements; so tighter restrictions and penalties should help to curb accidents.
At Levine Law, a Denver personal injury law firm, Jordan Levine represents clients who have been injured in accidents caused by driver fatigue, trucking company safety violations, or other factors. To discuss your case, contact his office today.