Experts Convene on Truck and Bus Safety

A decade after recommendations were made for truck and bus safety, the conversation continues. As California injury attorneys, we are pleased that, at the very least, safety is being discussed.

The national forum on truck and bus crashes and safety began earlier this week in Washington, D.C. The two-day forum which convened at the National Transportation Safety Board goes through today. Live webcasts and other information can be found at the NTSB website.

The NTSB has been raising the level of awareness in the areas of truck and bus accident safety and the forum is intended to bring together industry experts including safety, regulatory and the trucking and busing industry to talk about the continued dangers of transportation. Long-standing recommendations have yet to be enacted or implemented.

The Associated Press report on the forum, reminds us of one of the major safety issues being discussed during the forum — the terrible consequences of truck driver fatigue. For example, some remember the 2009 accident in Oklahoma in which a truck failed to stop to avoid a fender bender in its path. Although there was plenty of time and space for the truck to avoid the cars in front of it, the truck drove through the sitting traffic. Ten people were killed as the truck rode over passenger cars dragging them until it stopped. The investigation revealed that the truck driver had slept only about five hours the night before the accident and had been driving for nearly 10 hours.

The forum is looking at fatigue as a big factor in these crashes, roughly 40 percent are due to fatigue. The Obama administration is seeking to ensure measures like mandatory rest breaks, reduction of hours behind the wheel and other rules are put in place to manage driver fatigue.

Although truck fatalities have improved in the past few years, dropping from 2005 to 2009 by about 2,000, there are still too many such tragic incidents.

Similarly, bus fatalities have continued with recent fatal crashes, including one this past March in New York involving a casino trip to Connecticut in which 15 people were killed and 18 injured. Many injuries in bus crashes involve ejection of passengers from the vehicles.

Bus safety improvements are part of this conversation. For years, the NTSB has had a recommendation that buses have similar safety measures as cars, such as seat belts, stronger bus roofs, windows that open and other basic measures that could save lives in a bus accident.

Hersh & Hersh has represented the victims of serious car and truck accidents for many decades. We applaud the conversation about safety, but would hope that recommendations are implemented that would help save lives.

If you or a family member has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please contact our San Francisco office for a free consultation with one of our lawyers. We represent accident victims throughout California and can help support you and your family through this most challenging time in your lives.