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New safety initiatives for trucking

With an eye towards eliminating or reducing the number of injured, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a new set of initiatives for reducing injuries in the short term called the 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. Some of these measures are also the focus of the National Safety Council, which has a broader mission to improve safety in all segments of our lives.

The list

Below are some selections from a list of 46 safety recommendations. While there are some safety issues that remain important year in and year out, there are also some interesting developments in safety on NTSB's list:

  • End alcohol and drug impairment while driving
  • Eliminate distractions while driving
  • Reduce fatigue-based crashes
  • Carry out a comprehensive strategy for reducing speed-related crashes
  • Strengthen the protection of occupants in the vehicle
  • Implement Collision Avoidance Systems in all new vehicles

Some new advances to help avoid human error

According to experts at NSC, human error is the cause of 90 percent of the motor vehicle accidents on the road. The issue of fatigue is a growing one, due to individuals trying to get by on less sleep, sleeping less soundly or using sleep aid that leave them impaired if they do not get eight hours of sleep. This impacts job safety and performance. Now, however, employers can take such steps as more thorough health screenings, shift scheduling software based on circadian rhythms, remote monitoring of drivers and even utilize devices that can measure the number of times a worker blinks, which can indicate fatigue.

The trucking industry has also instituted a new mandate that requires electronic documentation of Hours of Service Law. Rather than fudging paperwork, this more accurate approach ensures that workers take the time off when they are supposed to - for example, a driver can only drive 11 hours in a 14-hour shift and then they must take off 10 consecutive hours.

Safer for workers, safer for the rest of us

It is an unfortunate fact that there were 789 fatalities and 4,440 crashes involving trucks and buses. Many of these fatalities and injuries involve victims in other smaller vehicles. Taking these and other steps will help make the roads safer, but injuries are still unavoidable. Victims in crashes involving buses and trucks should seek out legal help. The circumstances of each legal case are different, but personal injury attorneys can be an asset to the injured and their families.

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