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Most wanted truck safety improvements from the National Transportation Safety Board

February 21, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

NTSB recommends stopping distracted driving and truckers on drugs

distracted truck driver

Today I wanted to share the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) “Most Wanted List,” highlighting safety issues identified from the organization’s investigations. Hopefully, this list will increase awareness about lingering safety issues and the causes of truck accidents as well as some smart recommended solutions.

I’ve written about many of these safety issues in the past, and I’ve included links to my own blogs on the NTSB “Most Wanted List” at the end of this post.

For those of you unfamiliar with the organization, the NTSB is a Federal agency that investigates transportation accidents, including those involving commercial motor vehicles. The causes that arise from the investigations are then converted into safety recommendations aimed at preventing future wrecks.

Here’s the 2015 top 10 most wanted list of safety improvements:

  1. Stop distracted driving, especially with mobile devices: Removing “non-mission-critical information” distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012, about 10% of drivers involved in a fatal crash were distracted.
  2. End substance abuse for both illicit drugs and over-the-counter meds: The NTSB would like stronger laws, swifter enforcement and expanded use of technology to end substance impairment. According to the NHTSA, in 2012, approximately 33% of drivers involved in a fatal crash were impaired by alcohol.
  3. Enhance public helicopter safety: Helicopter accidents can be reduced by implementing safety management and fatigue management systems.
  4. Implement Positive Train Control technology: PTC can help stop rail accidents before they happen and has been recommended by the NTSB since 1969.
  5. Improve rail tank car safety: As rail is used to move more crude, ethanol and other hazardous liquids than ever, the NTSB wants tanker cars to be strengthened to better withstand crashes and new regulatory requirements.
  6. Make mass transit safer: Including subways, light rail, ferries, streetcars and buses. The NTSB would like to continue to implement advanced technologies to make these forms of transportation safer.
  7. Prevent loss of control in general aviation: While airline accidents have become rare in the U.S., general aviation still has hundreds of accidents a year. The NTSB would like to increase ongoing pilot education, self-assessment and situational awareness in the cockpit.
  8. Require medical fitness for duty: The NTSB recommends preventing those who have impairing medical issues from operating machinery unless they receive medical treatment.
  9. Strengthen commercial trucking safety: As truck accidents and preventable crashes which lead to death and injury have been increasing over the past several years, the NTSB would like additional regulations to improve oversight of commercial motor vehicle drivers. The NTSB wants operators to go beyond regulatory compliance and proactively identify operational hazards and solutions.
  10. Strengthen procedural compliance in airlines and charter companies: Ensure procedures are followed every day and flight, starting with increased training.

As a truck accident lawyer for two decades, I believe items 1, 2, 8 and 9 need to be the priority for the trucking industry and commercial bus industry. Here are some of my own blogs on these important trucking safety issues:

Distracted truck drivers

Texting (and more!) banned in commercial trucks

Trucker kills young mother while watching porn and driving his tractor trailer

Truckers on drugs

Report: Truckers on drugs contribute to 65,000 crashes a year

Truckers under the influence

Medical fitness for truckers

Healthy truckers are now required – by law

New national registry of certified medical examiners

Holding truck companies accountable

Concerned trucker echoes safety message: Truck companies must be held accountable

Who is responsible for knowledge of safety rules in truck cases?

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