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NTSB points to key safety measures to reduce truck accidents

Large commercial vehicles travel Virginia's highways every day, transporting everything from fruits and vegetables to books and gasoline. While they provide a valuable service, tractor-trailers also pose the risk of causing deadly truck accidents. With that in mind, the National Transportation Safety Board has published a list of several leading safety issues that it wants to draw attention to with the goal of reducing future accidents. Many of these transportation issues are particularly relevant for truck drivers and the trucking industry.

In 2016, the NTSB wants to reduce accidents related to fatigued drivers. Significantly, of 182 major investigations the NTSB completed over an 11 year period, fatigue was found to be a contributing factor or a probable cause of twenty percent of the accidents. Truck driver fatigue poses a serious risk for accidents, but is something that can be addressed through a number of preventative measures, including scheduling practices and regulations regarding drivers' hours of service.

An additional goal of the NTSB is to remove drivers' deadly distractions. The NTSB points to unnecessary distractions as a significant cause or contributing factor to accidents, and wants to eliminate them. In the trucking context, an inattentive truck driver may be unable to properly respond to road conditions or other motorists' actions, which may then lead to an accident. The NTSB points to the need for cultural change in order to put an end to distracted driving.

Another NTSB goal for 2016 is to end substance impairment in drivers, which is all too prevalent. Alcohol, as well as drugs, whether legal, such as over-the-counter and prescription drugs, or illegal, can affect a driver's ability to operate heavy machinery. Those who are impaired while behind the wheel may have delayed reaction times, an inability to maintain his or her lane, and difficulty maintaining appropriate speeds.

These are just some of the safety measures that the NTSB wants to focus on for 2016 with the goal of reducing collisions and serious injuries, and ultimately saving lives. As important as they may be, though, truck accidents will continue to occur. Those who suffer damages as a result of one of these wrecks may want to discuss their situation with an attorney to see if they have legal options available to them to recover compensation.

Source: ntsb.gov, "NTSB 2016 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements," accessed March 25, 2016

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