The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regularly publishes and updates a “most wanted list,” or a list of the most needed actions to keep our roads safer. Many of these “most wanted” actions deal with not only passenger vehicles and drivers, but also with truck drivers. The NTSB regularly updates not only the list, but ranks the progress being made for each item. Currently, items on the NTSB most wanted list include:
1) Prohibiting commercial drivers from using a cellular telephone while behind the wheel. According to the NTSB, progress on this front is “slow.”
2) Requiring electronic onboard data recorders on commercial trucks and vehicles. These recorders are designed to help provide accurate information about driver hours of service as well as carrier records. Many experts believe that these devices would help significantly reduce the instances of driver log book fraud which currently lead to fatigued drivers and truck and car accidents in Florida and across the country. According to the NTSB, progress on this front is “unacceptable.” Although the technology has been in place for some time, most carriers still prefer driver log books over the more accurate system.
3) Improving the safety of motor carriers by targeting unsafe carriers. The NTSB has been recommending stricter measures against trucking companies and motor carriers who put unsafe vehicles or untrained drivers on the roads. However, the NTSB has concluded that progress in this area has been “unacceptable.” Both the NTSB and experts agree that too many trucking companies with unsafe safety records are allowed to continue operations.
4) Preventing medically unsafe commercial drivers from getting behind the wheel. The NTSB has several recommendations in this area. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, safety could be enhanced if there was a comprehensive medical oversight program in place for interstate commercial drivers. The NTSB also recommends medical certificate applications for all commercial drivers and improved tracking for these applications. Further, the NTSB recommends better training for examiners and a better system of medical problem reporting. Finally, the NTSB recommends a better system for tracking down and cracking down on invalid medical certificates for commercial drivers. The NTSB reports that currently progress on these goals has been “slow.”
5) Using enhanced vehicle safety technology. The NTSB advocates the use of collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control, and other enhanced vehicle safety technologies, especially for commercial drivers. However, the NTSB reports that use of such systems is proceeding at a “slow” pace.