Although fatalities involving commercial trucks decreased significantly between 2004 and 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is looking for ways to further reduce fatal truck accidents. They are concerned that the downward trend may be due more to the fact that less people drive when the economy is poor and that when the economy picks up again, so may the number of fatalities.
The Obama administration has made several recommendations regarding the improvement of truck and bus safety, including a proposal that would require equipment in trucks that would record the number of hours the driver has been driving. This could possibly cut down on crashes caused by driver fatigue, the reason attributed to nearly 40 percent of accidents involving commercial trucks.
Other proposed recommendations to improve safety include reducing the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to drive, requiring drivers to take breaks after a certain number of driving hours, and requiring drivers to take time off when they reach the maximum number of driving hours allowed per week.
Additionally, the NTSB has made numerous safety recommendations that have not yet been codified, including requiring features such as electronic stability control to prevent rollovers, adaptive cruise control that automatically adjusts speed to traffic, warning systems that alert drivers when they’re drifting into another lane, and warning systems that alert drivers to an impending collision.
Commercial trucks can be dangerous to other vehicles on the road because of the size and weight of the big rigs, which can cause extreme damage to other vehicles during a crash. In crashes between big trucks and other vehicles, any fatalities that occur are nearly always to those inside the other vehicles.
If you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may have an action against the driver or the company the driver works for, who may be liable for the accident. You should contact an experienced attorney to protect your rights and determine if you are eligible for compensation.