Despite truck accident fatalities rising over the past four years, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board says that over 100 of its recommendations have been ignored. In 2015, the agency says that it will place a priority on modifying the number of hours that drivers work and putting anti-collision technology in trucks. It also says that it wants tighter regulations on companies with high accident rates.
In the past year, two high profile accidents put truck safety into the national spotlight. The first crash involved a trucker who hadn't slept for 24 hours prior to colliding with a vehicle that comedian Tracy Morgan was in. Another accident in September 2014 led to the deaths of four college softball players. Overall, there are an estimated 4,000 people killed annually in crashes with trucks.
To prevent drowsy truck drivers from being on the road, the NTSB says that drivers should be screened for sleeping disorders and have their hours monitored. Existing technology includes sensors that detect rear-end collisions or when another vehicle is about to change lanes. However, Congress recently relaxed rules regarding the hours that truck drivers may work in a week. The new regulations are currently being studied to ensure that additional trucks are not on the road during rush hours.
Being involved in a serious accident caused by a negligent truck driver could cause long-term pain and disability for the victims. Those who suffer neck, spinal cord or other types of injuries may wish to talk to a personal injury attorney who may be able to help win compensation to pay for medical bills or lost earnings. It may be possible to include the driver's employer as an additional defendant in the lawsuit.
Source: Bloomberg News, "Trucking Safety Should Be a Higher U.S. Priority, NTSB Says", Alan Levin, Jan. 13, 2015