The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is a federal agency that investigates the causes of transportation accidents, promotes transportation safety and helps transportation accident victims and their families in their times of need. The American public as a whole benefits from their efforts, because unlike some “grassroots” and consumer safety organizations, the NTSB works completely independently of any for-profit companies. They’re don’t get donations from trucking companies or trucking accident lawyers or any business with an agenda. The safety recommendations they issue to government agencies are based solely on their own independent studies. They oversee aviation, marine, hazardous materials transportation, railroad and highway safety issues and publish an on-going list of “Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements” for each area.
Interestingly, each of the Federal highway issues posted on their website deal specificially with preventing commercial motorcoach and trucking accidents.The owners of bus and trucking companies have been a great source of danger to motorists all across the nation, not just here in Colorado Springs. Their interests in profits have long outweighed their losses to injured people and trucking accident lawsuits. (That would be why trucking accident lawyers are found in every nook and cranny of the United States. If there wasn’t a market for our services, so many Colorado Springs trucking accident lawyers couldn’t be surviving.)
That goes to show you just how big the trucking companies are and how powerful and damaging their volume of traffic has been on our highways. Take a look at the detailed issues addressed on the NTSB site. It’s a wonder our highways are safe for citizen travel at all.
Of the six issues currently being addressed by the NTSB and the Federal government, three are improving slowly but in an “acceptable” fashion.
1. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been asked to prohibit cell phone use by motorcoach drivers. Motorcoaches are driven by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who are authorized to transport… PEOPLE, including kids to and from school. It’s hard to believe there’s still a need for this, but at least the laws are being established. Colorado has not established a school bus driver cell phone ban.
2. The FMCSA also has been asked to stop “Medically Unqualified Drivers from Operating Commercial Vehicles.” Seems like when trucking companies know their drivers are not in physical shape to have CDL licenses, they just don’t report it to the licensing agencies. Fortunately, the government is taking a stand on this issue.
3. Thirdly, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been charged with “Using Enhanced Vehicle Safety Technology” to prevent collisions. Now this one does involve regular cars and trucks, too. And we see progress here with numerous television commercials about expensive new cars with accident warning systems and rear-view cameras. This should lower the numbers of injured people… as long as near-miss accidents only happen to those who can afford new hi-tech cars. But, when it comes to for-profit trucking companies, it would seem logical for them to invest a little money into this technology in order to save a lot of money fighting trucking accident lawyers and paying out claims.
The three remaining “Most Wanted” improvement issues on the NTSB website have received “unacceptable” responses from their regulating agencies. Oddly enough, these are the safety issues it seems trucking companies would find to be the easiest to employ. There’s no doubt these improvements would save them tons of money on trucking accidents.
1. The FMCSA has not effectively required trucking companies to use electronic recorders for monitoring their driver’s hours of service. This has been a big issue between regulating agencies, trucking accident lawyers and the companies themselves. It’s a known fact that many drivers alter their hand-written hours of service logs in order to “comply” with federal laws.
2. It has been requsted that the FMCSA “Improve the Safety of Motor Carrier Operations” but they’ve failed miserably. A huge number of trucking accidents would be avoided if trucks went out in good repair and with qualified drivers behind the wheel.
3. Lastly, the NHTSA has been asked to “Enhance Protection for Motorcoach Passengers.” Better safety devices for passengers and stronger safety standards would save lives, but progress here, too, has been slow.
Now, trucking accident lawyers obviously can’t see behind the dealings of Federal regulating agencies. But if we could improve just the regulations kept by Colorado Springs companies, maybe we would see a drop in the numbers of trucking accidents in our little part of the world. If all the little guys speak up, the big guys have to listen.