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Commercial Driver Safety Emphasized in ‘Most Wanted’ Safety List

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements” for 2019-2020. The list addresses change that the NTSB says can help save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce property damage resulting from transportation accidents.

An independent federal agency, the NTSB is charged with promoting transportation safety, determining the probable cause of transportation accidents, and assisting victims of transportation accidents.

The Most Wanted List allows the agency to spotlight a select number of safety recommendations. The list of 10 topics encompasses 46 specific safety recommendations that the NTSB would like to see adopted over the next two years.

Among These Recommendations, Commercial Vehicle And Tractor-Trailer Safety Are Highlighted

Many of the board’s recommendations concern how vehicle manufacturers equip passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers. Among the NTSB’s proposals are new programs for commercial transportation, which trucking companies that employ drivers would have to oversee.

Of the 46 safety recommendations the NTSB wants to implement in the next two years, 20 would require regulatory action.

The Labor Department Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that transportation incidents accounted for 40 percent of occupational fatalities in 2017. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck accidents resulted in the largest number of fatal on-the-job injuries.

List of NTSB Most Wanted Safety Recommendations

The NTSB says its Most Wanted List identifies the top safety improvements that can be made across all transportation modes — personal vehicles and commercial highway transportation, and aviation, marine, and rail transportation — to prevent accidents and save lives.

The 10 items on the NTSB’s 2019–2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements are:

  • Eliminate Distractions. Distraction is a serious problem in all modes of transportation. Contributing to the problem among truckers is the widespread belief by many drivers that they can multitask and operate a large truck safely. The NTSB wants to ban all use of personal electronic devices on U.S. roadways, enforce existing distracted driving laws, and educate commercial drivers and the public about the dangers of distracted driving.
  • End Alcohol and Other Drug Impairment. The NTSB wants states to adopt a lower legal limit of 0.05 percent blood-alcohol content for all drivers; require convicted intoxicated driver to install an alcohol ignition interlock device after any DWI conviction, and develop a common standard of practice for drug toxicology testing. The standard BAC limit is 0.08 nationwide.
  • Ensure the Safe Shipment of Hazardous Materials. The NTSB is calling on the railroad industry to meet existing federal deadlines for replacing or retrofitting rail tank cars to a new tank car standard for transporting flammable liquids by rail, and on the pipeline industry to conduct adequate risk assessments.
  • Fully Implement Positive Train Control (PTC). Positive train control can stop a train before a crash happens. Although Congress mandated that PTC be installed and operating by December 31, 2018, only 25 percent of passenger route miles and just 60 percent of passenger locomotives have met that criteria. A two-year extension was granted to rail lines that were not fully compliant. The NTSB says to do it now with no further deadline extensions.
  • Implement a Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Speeding-Related Crashes. In addition to education and enforcement programs, the NTSB calls for developing performance standards for advanced speed-limiting technology, such as variable speed limiters and intelligent speed adaptation devices, for heavy vehicles — including trucks, buses, and motor coaches — and requiring that all newly manufactured heavy vehicles be equipped with them.
  •  Improve the Safety of Part 135 Aircraft Flight Operations. The NTSB says air medical service, air taxi, charter, and on-demand flights should be required to install flight data recording devices capable of supporting a flight data monitoring (FDM) program and to establish a safety management system (SMS) programs, as commercial airlines must.
  • Increase Implementation of Collision Avoidance Systems in All-New Highway Vehicles. The NTSB says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should complete standards for collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems in commercial vehicles and require this technology in all highway vehicles. Manufacturers should make standard in all vehicles forward-collision avoidance systems that, at a minimum, include a collision warning component.
  • Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents. The NTSB recommends requiring trucking companies to adopt fatigue management programs for commercial vehicle safety based on the North American Fatigue Management Program; develop a plan to deploy in-vehicle technologies that reduce fatigue-related crashes; identify commercial drivers at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and require that those drivers show evidence that they’ve been appropriately evaluated and treated before granting them unrestricted medical certification.
  • Require Medical Fitness — Screen for and Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The NTSB says motor carriers should develop formal sleep apnea programs that include screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up for commercial drivers; and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should provide drivers and certified medical examiners easy access to more specific, clearer guidance on sleep apnea.
  • Strengthen Occupant Protection. The NTSB wants stronger seat belt laws including equipping school buses with lap/shoulder belts at all passenger seating positions, and increased use of child car seats and booster seats. States should also promote education campaigns about the benefits of seat belt and child restraint use to enhance understanding of these issues and encourage proper use in all vehicles, the agency says.

The NTSB first issued its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements in 1990 and it serves as the agency’s primary advocacy tool, a news release accompanying the 28-page document says.

How A Truck Accident Lawyer Helps Victims

As attorneys who have seen the terrible toll that large truck accidents can cause Indiana families, we support changes to make our roads and highways safer.

The legal team at Craig Kelley and Fautless respond quickly when Indiana residents notify us of injuries in commercial truck accidents. Indiana trucking accident lawyer David W. Craig has put together an emergency response team, including fellow attorneys, a private investigator, a mechanical expert, an expert qualified to download the commercial truck’s black box, and an accident reconstructionist. We move to secure evidence and investigate what happened and why, and then work to hold those responsible for our clients’ injuries accountable.

It’s important to seek legal help promptly after a serious truck accident. Contact us by telephone or online for a free consultation about a commercial truck accident in Indiana that left you injured.