Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) releases its Most Wanted List. This list details the agency’s top priorities when it comes to reducing accidents, increasing awareness, and addressing changes needed in legislation to protect anyone using mass transit.
This year’s list includes several goals focusing on reducing the number of commercial truck accidents that happen each year. As a Virginia truck accident attorney can attest, these accidents can be the most deadly, often leaving those victims who do survive with catastrophic injuries.
Each year, there are approximately 4,500 victims killed each year in truck accidents and, tragically, that number continues to rise each year. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the number of truck accidents has increased by more than 25 percent since 2009.
The NTSB has identified reducing drowsy driving as one of the priorities that need to be addressed to combat against truck crashes. Drowsing driving, also referred to as fatigued driving, is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A truck driver who has fallen asleep behind the wheel of a big rig is deadly to everyone else on the road. Many incidents of drowsy driving are linked to medical issues the truck driver is suffering from, such as sleep apnea, as well as the excessive number of hours drivers are on the road.
The NTSB is focused on finding and treating these medical issues in drivers and improving driver awareness regarding the use of prescriptions and how these medications often increase fatigue levels. Some of the proposals made to achieve these goals include implementing better regulations, requiring trucking companies to implement fatigue risk management programs, and teach drivers to be more responsible regarding the number of hours of sleep they get each night.
Utilizing better technology is also a high priority in this year’s Most Wanted List. Collision avoidance technology is becoming more and more common in passenger vehicles. This technology can help drivers stay in their lane, automatically brake, and more in order to avoid crashes. The NTSB wants to see these same technologies implemented in commercial trucks, as well.
The NTSB is also looking at ways to make sure there are more “black boxes” installed in trucks as a way to track what exactly happened when a truck accident occurs. These recorders are the same types commonly used in planes, however, very few trucks are currently equipped with them.
Other priorities set by the NTSB include requiring trucking companies to conduct regular medical fitness evaluations of all their drivers, implementing regulations that address eliminating driving distractions, and implementing harsher penalties and education programs aimed at combatting the issue of truck driver impairment.
Victims of Truck Crashes
Truck accidents are more complex than other types of vehicle accidents and often have more than one at-fault party. Victims of truck accidents should consider retaining the services of an experienced Virginia truck accident attorney who will conduct a thorough investigation of the crash, including obtaining truck driver records, vehicle maintenance records, and other critical information which will help determine the cause of the crash and which parties are responsible.
If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a crash, contact a seasoned Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Even if it is not entirely clear who is the at-fault party, a Va. injury attorney will be able to determine which party or parties are liable.
At Shapiro & Appleton, our injury attorneys have represented numerous truck accident victims and have the legal expertise to handle these complex cases with positive results. Some examples of the many truck accident cases we have handled include: