Last year’s fatal accident claiming two lives and injuring 38 others prompted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to recommend a ban on cell phone usage while driving, a proposal that will go into effect January 3rd of next year with a $2,750 fine for first offense drivers, maximum $11,000 fine for carriers allowing their drivers to use cell phones on the road, and the suspension of a driver’s CDL in cases of multiple offenses.
Along with a ban on cell phone usage, the NTSB has also recommended the mandatory usage/review of video event recorders on tractors as well as collision avoidance systems.
The accident took place in August of 2010 in Mo. when a fatigued pickup driver was texting while driving, sending/receiving 11 texts within 11 minutes, striking a bobtail tractor trailer which had slowed down in a construction zone. A school bus, filled with children who were on a field trip, in return hit the pickup due to the driver being distracted by a motorcoach which was parked on the shoulder at the time. Another bus, also on a field trip, did not maintain a proper distance behind and was unable to stop, hitting the bus in front.
According to the NTSB, the events of the accident could have been “more definitely assessed” if the vehicles had video event recorders.
Although the NTSB cannot impose a law, its suggestions do carry a lot of weight. Therefore, the NTSB recommends that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration do the following:
-“Require all heavy commercial vehicles to be equipped with video event recorders that capture data in connection with the driver and the outside environment and roadway in the event of a crash or sudden deceleration event. The device should create recordings that are easily accessible for review when conducting efficiency testing and system wide performance-monitoring programs” (http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2011/gray_summit_mo/index.html).
-“Require motor carriers to review and use video event recorder information in conjunction with other performance data to verify that driver actions are in accordance with company and regulatory rules and procedures essential to safety” (http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2011/gray_summit_mo/index.html).
On top of that, the NTSB encourages the following (provided by ntsb.gov):
-“Complete rulemaking on adaptive cruise control and collision warning system performance standards for new passenger cars. At a minimum, these standards should address obstacle detection distance, timing of alerts, and human factors guidelines, such as the mode and type of warning.”
-“Determine whether equipping commercial vehicles with collision warning systems with active braking and electronic stability control systems will reduce commercial vehicle accidents. If these technologies are determined to be effective in reducing accidents, require their use on commercial vehicles.”
Road Scholar Transport already applies crash prevention technology on our fleet to enhance the safety of your products. Our trucks utilize the Bendix Wingman ACB System, allowing for our trucks to maintain a set distance of 8/10ths of a mile marker behind a forward vehicle.
When cruise control is off, the ACB will deliver a beeping alert, which gets faster and louder when closing in on a vehicle, as well as a visual warning on the dashboard showing how far the vehicle is from your truck.
When cruise control is on, the ACB will automatically reduce the throttle, use the engine retarder, or apply the brakes (delivering 1/3 the vehicle’s power with the driver applying the rest if needed) in order to maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead.
What do you think of the NTSB’s recommendations? Should video event recorders and collision avoidance systems become mandatory? List your comments below.