The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) released its 2015 “Most Wanted List” of transportation safety improvements during the 94th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.
The NTSB posts the list annually to raise awareness of “critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives.” Four issues make a first-time appearance on the 2015 list, including “strengthen[ing] commercial trucking safety.”
What is the issue?
According to the NTSB, nearly 4,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 people were injured in truck crashes in 2012 alone.
“We rely on commercial trucks to deliver food and goods to our local grocery stores, medical supplies to our pharmacies and hospitals, and packages to our loved ones,” stated the organization. “But because of their sheer size, weight and physical properties, commercial trucks introduce a disproportionate hazard to passenger vehicle occupants in a crash.”
Currently, the NTSB is investigating a crash involving a tractor-trailer that crossed a median and collided with a motor-coach in California on April 10, 2014. The accident killed 10 people and injured 40 more.
What can be done?
Two federal agencies, as well as the states, oversee the safety of large trucks in the United States. Standards for new trucking equipment are set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), which also has some jurisdiction over current/on-the-road trucks and trucking equipment. Meanwhile, the safety of commercial vehicles in interstate commerce is overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”). Regulations enforced by the FMCSA include those relating to equipment, hours of service, licensing, vehicle maintenance and inspection. For trucks only operating within one state’s borders (“intrastate trucks”) regulation is up to the state and state inspects are primarily responsible for enforcing federal regulations as described above. In its “Most Wanted List,” the NTSB calls on all of the above regulators to “improve their oversight of operators, drivers, and vehicles.”
“Trucking is a diverse segment of the economy, and trucking companies range from thousands of trucks to single-truck owner operators. FMCSA and NHTSA regulations establish minimum requirements, not the gold standard,” the organization said. “To manage their safety risks, trucking companies must go beyond securing regulatory compliance from all their employees, and proactively identify operational hazards and potential solutions.”
How does this impact you?
Despite recent improvements in passenger vehicle safety, nothing can protect passengers from the catastrophic effects of a commercial trucking accident. Commercial trucks include large trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds such as eighteen-wheelers, tractor-trailers, flatbed trucks, heavy trucks and tanker trucks. Each year more commercial trucks crowd onto the nation’s highways, carrying an increased risk of accidents along with their cargo. Driver fatigue, inadequate training, reckless driving, mechanical failures, and poor maintenance injure or kill innocent victims with alarming frequency.
When trucking companies fail to meet their responsibilities, The Law Offices of John David Hart respond by aggressively seeking restitution for victims who have been seriously damaged by the companies’ negligence and disregard for safety. We have successfully represented numerous individuals in obtaining compensation for injuries obtained in collisions involving large trucks.
We strive to ensure that all those who share the road also share the responsibility for keeping it safe. If you or a family member has suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one as a result of a serious motor vehicle or truck crash, please consider contacting John David Hart at 800-247-1623 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.
To find out more about truck accidents on our website, please click here.