Drivers in Ohio constantly see 18-wheelers on the road. Many drivers feel a little uneasy when driving next to a big commercial truck on the highway, but often feel better after passing them. However, drivers may want to think twice the next time they plan on driving near commercial trucks after hearing a new report by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB said that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is not keeping unsafe commercial trucks from operating in the United States. The NTSB cited four fatal truck and bus accidents that could have been prevented by the FMCSA if they had seen or acted on the warning signs.
The NTSB said that the FMCSA needs to improve their oversight process to make sure they are keeping unsafe carriers off U.S. roads. They found that two truck accidents could have been prevented by the FMCSA if they had made further inspections or stopped these trucks from operating due to previous violations that warranted further safety reviews.
One truck accident killed six people after a commercial truck hit an SUV. The accident could have been prevented if the FMCSA had reviewed the truck company's driver compliance records, including if the company was violating any hours-of-service regulations.
A second truck accident reviewed by the NTSB said that the truck driver had violated the hours-of-service rules. If the FMCSA had reviewed the company and driver qualifications in the past, they may have been able to prevent this fatal crash that killed two people and injured six.
The finding that the FMCSA is not able to keep unsafe trucks off the road is very disturbing. The FMCSA is supposed to make sure trucking companies and drivers are following safety rules and regulations designed to prevent crashes and keep everyone safe on the road. Hopefully the NTSB's report will lead to improvements in the future and help the FMCSA see where they can increase enforcement of current policies and rules.
Source: USA Today, "NTSB: Fed agency let risky truck, bus carriers operate," Larry Copeland, Nov. 7, 2013