Technology and changing consumer tastes have modernized transportation. However, these changes have also led to different and potentially more severe commercial vehicle accidents.
Motorists and passengers in Indiana and across the country rely on federal agencies to prevent commercial vehicle accidents. A federal National Transportation Safety Board report issued this month is unusual because the NTSB faulted another agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, for taking inadequate measures to keep unsafe carriers from the highways.
Drivers of buses and other vehicles that transport passengers must be healthy and alert as a safety precaution. Otherwise, passengers and other motorists may become victims of deadly commercial vehicle accidents. In one case, the National Transportation Safety Board found that fatigued drivers were partially responsible for an accident that led to 13 fatalities and 31 injuries in a 2016 crash in California.
The national meth crisis has led to impaired driving and now plays a role in commercial vehicle accidents. Indiana State Police recently arrested a 46-year-old bus driver for reckless homicide and other charges because he was allegedly high on meth when his bus crashed into the back of a minivan. Three people were killed in the July 2017 accident.
There are many causes of commercial vehicle accidents, such as impaired or negligent drivers and defective equipment. Two years after a fatal van accident in Indiana, litigants are pursuing numerous claims and arguing that the cause of the accident was an unsafe vehicle or a drunk driver.
Prevention of commercial vehicle accidents in Indiana and across the United States has been a long-standing problem. Congress, however, must now address the new technological and legal challenges posed by self-driving commercial vehicles.
Indiana residents probably recognize almost intuitively that texting and driving is dangerous. Unfortunately, even many truckers and other drivers of big commercial vehicles sometimes cannot resist the temptation to look at an email or send a quick text while driving along on the highway.
A recent post on this blog talked about how many of the truck drivers and their trucking firms who travel through the Evansville, Indiana, area and surrounding vicinity are subject to federal rules requiring drivers to rest from time to time while on the road. These rules are there to prevent fatigued driving.