The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the federal agency tasked with investigating aviation and other significant accidents in the United States. Earlier this month, the NTSB released its list of most wanted improvements in transportation safety for 2015.
Officials from the NTSB said their focus on commercial trucking safety in 2015 is largely due to the rise in fatal accidents involving commercial trucks since 2009. Their suggested safety improvements are based on investigations that the agency has conducted on large commercial truck accidents.
Improved Medical Screening
The NTSB wants to push for improvements in medical screening of commercial truck drivers to ensure they are fit to drive. It notes that sleep apnea is an increasingly large problem in America and a number of fatal accidents have been caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
In order to receive a commercial driver's license, truck drivers must go through a minimal amount of training. The NTSB wants to increase the level of training required for all operators of large commercial vehicles. Additionally, the NTSB is calling for adequate emergency response when accidents do occur.
Eliminate Distracted Driving
Far too many accidents are caused by truck drivers who are distracted while driving. The NTSB hopes to reduce or eliminate the number of accidents caused by distractions inside the cab of the truck. The agency hopes to disconnect truck drivers from electronic devices such as smartphones as much as possible while the vehicle is in motion.
Eliminate Substance Abuse
The rate of positive drug tests for truck drivers has risen over the years. Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration administers random drug test on about 50% of truck drivers each year. One of the NTSB's goals is to end substance impairment among operators of commercial trucks.
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