According to McClatchyDC.com, the National Transportation Safety Board has urged bus and truck manufacturers to install data recorders on vehicles so that they can be studied in the event of a catastrophic accident.
The NTSB made the recommendations following a fiery truck accident last year in California that killed 10 people. The agency said that the presence of “black box” recorders has been helpful for investigators who have used them to review commercial aviation accidents.
The California crash occurred when a tractor-trailer crossed the median of Interstate 5 near Orland, about 100 miles north of Sacramento, striking a charter bus carrying high school students on a college tour.
Many passengers could not escape the bus and were killed when they were engulfed by fire. Investigators said that they still have had trouble piecing together why the accident occurred but they were able to rule out the truck driver’s experience, drug or alcohol use, mechanical failures and weather as contributors to the crash. They also found no evidence of driver fatigue or distraction.
If the bus or truck involved in the crash had data recorders, officials said they might have had an easier time determining the cause of the accident. The recorders can note items like speed, mechanical failures and a driver’s interactions prior to an accident.
Although the NTSB made the recommendations, it will be up to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to enact any laws that may go into effect. We will update our blog if we hear about any changes that have been made.
It is a good sign that a federal agency is being proactive when it comes to bus and truck accident investigations. In many cases, commercial bus and truck accidents are the result of negligence.
If you are ever involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, speak to our attorneys. Remember, if you can prove that another party was at fault for the injuries you sustained or the death of your family member, you could seek damages.
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Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.