The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released recommendations to address the climbing death rate from truck accidents in the United States.
Collisions involving a tractor-trailer cause devastating injury and death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fatality rate from large truck accidents in Florida has risen each year since 2009.
Federal agencies continue to try to address the problem from different angles. In 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) enacted new hours-of-service (HORS) regulations to reduce driver fatigue. In April of this year, the NTSB made a series of recommendations to reduce safety vulnerabilities of tractor-trailer rigs.
The recommendations are based in part on a 2013 NHTSA study of safety issues involving single-unit trucks. In part, recommendations to improve the safety of multiple-unit tractor-trailers include:
- Reduce blind spots: Because of the unique properties of a tractor-trailer, the truck operator is unable to directly observe motorists and objects around the lengths and back of a truck. Motorists must avoid this no-zone when driving near a truck. The NTSB notes the danger of truck blind spots to motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Recommendations include development of mirrors and on-board technology to reduce and eliminate blind spots.
- Protect from underride: High profile tractor-trailers leave passenger cars at risk for underride accidents. Side and rear underride accidents are devastating to car passengers. The NTSB recommends development of adequate side-underride protection and improvement of existing rear-underride protection on tractor-trailers.
- Collect crash data: The NTSB recommends more comprehensive collection and reporting of crash data by law enforcement after accidents involving big rigs.
These recommendations now go to the NHTSA for further review and action. Measures to improve truck safety and decrease fatalities from truck accidents in Florida are critical.
If you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident in Sarasota County, speak with experienced legal counsel.