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NTSB asks regulators to tighten trucker safety standards

Drivers in Arkansas and throughout the country may have access to safer roads if some of the recommendations made for truck drivers by the National Transportation Safety Board are implemented. The NTSB says that despite its making more than 100 recommendations, highway regulators have failed to take steps to regulate truckers more tightly. With truck accidents on the rise and around 4,000 fatalities annually, the NTSB has issued a list of the improvements it would most like to see take place in 2015.

Those improvements include both stricter regulations and more use of available technology. The agency contends that safety standards must be more closely adhered to and that trucking companies need to take steps to deal with drivers who are not getting enough sleep. Technologically, there are sensors that could alert truckers when a driver is changing lanes or before they run into the back of a vehicle.

A lack of sleep and a collision from behind were both aspects of a truck accident that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed a fellow comedian in June of 2014. That accident along with another widely reported one, the death of four college softball players in September of the same year, raised the awareness of accidents involving inattentive truck drivers, but they have been increasing for the past several years.

Accidents involving trucks can be particularly dangerous because of the size of the vehicle and often lead to serious injuries. It may be possible for a victim to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver as well as its employer. Even if no laws are broken, if the driver was negligent, the lawsuit may be successful. Negligent driving might include driving too fast given traffic or weather conditions or being distracted by a cellphone call.

Source: Bloomberg News, "Trucking Safety Should Be a Higher U.S. Priority, NTSB Says", Alan Levin, Jan. 13, 2015

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