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NTSB releases new safety recommendations directed at the NHTSA

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) serves several important functions. In addition to investigating major transportation accidents including airplane, train, marine and major highway accidents, this independent federal agency regularly forwards both Congress and other federal agencies recommendations on how to improve the nation’s travel-related safety.

Most recently, the NTSB drafted several pressing recommendations and delivered them to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Although the NHTSA is not required to act upon these recommendations, the NTSB is well respected and it is unlikely that the NHTSA will sweep these recommendations under the rug.

Most of the recommendations focus on preventing truck accidents on the nation’s highways and surface streets. The NTSB is particularly concerned with accidents that occur as a result of commercial truck drivers’ wide blind spots and accidents that result in underride-related injuries and fatalities.

The NTSB would like to see the NHTSA take action to ensure that large commercial trucks are outfitted with more effective underride protection and that the blind spots of commercial truck drivers are significantly mitigated. If the NHTSA acts on these recommendations, a significant number of devastating accidents may be prevented on an annual basis.

Finally, the NTSB would like the NHTSA to ensure that more detailed data is collected in regards to trailers involved in collisions. Given that crash data helps to inform future safety recommendations aimed at accident prevention, this straightforward suggestion is most welcome. Hopefully the NHTSA will do its best to thoughtfully consider the NTSB’s latest truck safety recommendations.

Source: Commercial Carrier Journal, “NTSB safety rec’s to NHTSA include blind spot mitigation, underride guards, trailer data collection,” James Jaillet, April 7, 2014

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