In our last post, we began a discussion about truck safety. We observed how critical it is that the nation’s trucking industry, lawmakers, regulators and manufacturers prioritize truck safety given how much damage truck accidents can cause. We also noted that for the fourth consecutive year, the number of fatalities caused by truck accidents occurring on American roads has risen, according to the National Traffic Safety Board.
In response to this sobering trend, the NTSB is urging federal highway regulators to make truck safety a top priority. Specifically, it is insisting that relevant agencies pass the more than 100 truck safety recommendations that the NTSB has already submitted to them.
The NTSB is an independent federal agency. It therefore is not tied to any kind of partisan agenda. It regularly submits recommendations to agencies and lawmakers regarding transportation safety. Regulators and lawmakers are not bound by the recommendations of the NTSB, although these recommendations tend to carry a good deal of weight as the agency is well-respected. However, truck safety tends to be controversial in nature, especially given that the trucking lobby is so powerful. For this and many other reasons, it can be difficult to get regulators and legislators to adopt truck safety recommendations made by the NTSB.
As the death toll from truck accidents continues to rise, regulators will hopefully find a way to embrace many of these recommendations, even in the face of industry pressure to ignore them. Ultimately, it is the job of the government to protect citizens from unreasonable harm. Unsafe trucks and truck drivers certainly pose a threat of real harm and this threat should therefore be addressed with urgency.
Source: Insurance Journal, “It’s Time to Act on Trucking Safety Ideas, Says NTSB,” Alan Levin, Jan. 14, 2015