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Auto Accidents

NTSB Makes Recommendations to Improve Truck Safety

July 28, 2014 | Michael Barasch

In a bid to increase the safety of tractor-trailers, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently issued broad recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Large truck fatalities continue to plague roadways in New York and throughout the United States. According to NHTSA, there were 100 fatalities in New York from large trucks alone in 2012.

As federal agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enact regulations to reduce truck driver fatigue, the NTSB is asking NHTSA to tackle safety vulnerabilities associated with tractor-trailers.

In a letter to NHTSA, the NTSB outlined safety recommendations that include:

  • Reduce blind spots: Motorists are encouraged not to drive in the no-zone, the areas around a big rig where a truck operator cannot see other vehicles. Blind spots large enough to cloak a passenger car often prove fatal to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. By increasing the use of appropriately designed mirrors and on-board sensing and warning devices, the NTSB hopes to reduce the vulnerability of road users to fatal collision with a semi-truck.
  • Address underride: Impact with a tractor-trailer often causes a car to slide under the side or rear of the truck. This underride usually causes fatal injury for automobile passengers. The NTSB notes 15 percent of fatal accidents involving a car and truck result from side impacts. To combat underride, the NTSB recommends development of truck designs that reduce or eliminate underride, or installation of side-underride guards and improved rear-underride barriers to prevent these serious accidents.
  • Improve data collection: Few enforcement agencies collect comprehensive data on trailers after a serious tractor-trailer accident. The NTSB suggests greater collection of information when reporting a large truck accident.

Improvements in tractor-trailer safety may decrease overall fatality figures. If injured in a truck accident, talk to experienced legal counsel in New York City.

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