Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a two-day forum in Washington, D.C. to hear from federal regulators and safety experts about bus and truck safety. The latest data shows that deaths from truck accidents went from over 5,200 in 2005 to approximately 3,200 in 2009. The drop in fatalities represents a parallel drop in other highway traffic deaths as well. Experts say it is due to fewer drivers from a slow economy, but that the fatalities may increase once the economy revives.
According to the NTSB, large tour bus crashes average approximately 20 passenger deaths per year, a number similar to airline crash fatalities. There were 338 fatal bus crashes between 2000 and 2009. An NTSB member said federal regulators have to work harder to decrease the number of deaths in bus and truck accidents.
Fatigue is a factor in about 40 percent of all truck accidents. The Obama administration has suggested equipping trucks and buses with devices that record the number of hours a driver is behind the wheel. The daily limit for drivers is 11 hours, and the administration wants to lower the limit to 10 hours. The President’s administration has also suggested mandatory rest breaks for drivers.
The bus industry says the problem stems from the government allowing bus companies with poor safety records to stay in operation. A spokesperson for the American Bus Association says over half of the tour bus deaths between 1999 and 2009 involved companies with poor safety records.
If you suffer injuries in a bus or truck accident, contact Washington, D.C. truck accident lawyer Roger Johnson. A Washington, D.C. truck accident attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis can represent you in a claim against the driver and/or company responsible for your injuries.