FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-12-12
Whenever a serious trucking accident happens, officials will often investigate to determine what factors led to the collision. If common causes are found across many accidents, it could lead to agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to implement rule changes that place more requirements on truck drivers and trucking companies.
While the number of fatalities in trucking accidents has decreased over the past decade, levels remain consistent. This has led regulators to be more aggressive in creating ways to make highways safer.
Each year, the National Transportation Safety Board releases its Most-Wanted list. This list is created in an effort to highlight some of the potential changes that should be made to improve motorist safety. The NTSB is responsible for investigation certain types of accidents that occur across the United States.
The NTSB cannot force its recommendations to become rules, as it is simply investigates accidents and has no rule-making authority. It must depend on other governmental agencies to implement rules that take NTSB recommendations under consideration. This year, the NTSB has listed several items on this year’s list that concern trucking accidents.
Distracted driving is one of the issues that the NTSB would like to see addressed further by other agencies and trucking companies. The agency wants to remove all items that may potentially distract drivers. Anything that is not engaged in essential driving functions should be banned. This is much stronger than the rules currently in place for truck drivers. Operators of commercial vehicles are restricted from using phones or texting while driving.
The NTSB is also concerned with impaired drivers. The agency would like to see trucking companies have more rigid screening practices to check drivers for the presence of alcohol or other drugs. Some trucking companies have started using more advanced procedures to check applicants for recent drug use, including testing drivers’ hair.
Officials have also called for more safety features to be mandatory in vehicles. For trucks, this includes the widespread use of stability control systems. These devices allow vehicles to make sudden stops or lane changes without drivers losing control or having a rollover accident.
If you have been in a trucking accident, there are options available to you. Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to understand what can be done in your situation. Insurance companies may try to pressure you into a settlement, but you need to know the full extent of your injuries before resolving your case. Each injury is different, and some may require extensive treatment before you recover. If you settle your case too soon, you may be unable to require full compensation for your injuries.