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NTSB releases list of safety improvements for trucking industry

On Feb. 4, the National Transportation Safety Board released its biannual list of safety improvement recommendations for all modes of transportation in Louisiana and the rest of the U.S. Most of the recommendations are aimed at the trucking industry, which has experienced a spike in fatal accidents over the last few years.

While the NTSB does not have the authority to create regulations, it can push federal regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to enact safety improvements. The new list of recommendations, entitled the 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, offers six improvements that could make commercial trucking safer. These improvements include the elimination of alcohol and drug impairment, elimination of distracted driving, implementation of speed reduction strategies, increased use of collision avoidance systems and reduction of drowsy driving crashes.

One of the ways the NTSB recommends reducing fatigue-related accidents is by implementing a mandatory program that screens and treats commercial truck drivers for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that can significantly interrupt sleep patterns and increase the risk of drowsy driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation was working on a new set of rules for sleep apnea, but the plan was scrapped in 2017.

Thousands of truck collisions are caused by distracted and/or drowsy driving every year. The victim of a truck accident may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. An attorney familiar with truck crash claims could asses a victim's case and, if advisable, help prepare a lawsuit. As a result of the suit, the victim could be awarded compensation for various losses, including current and future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost wages.

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The Law Offices of W.A. “Chip” Forstall, Jr.

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