Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board said that in the past year there have been a total of four accidents, involving buses and trucks, were federal officials had either ignored or missed warning signs of issues prior to the crashes. With this being said, one has to wonder if these accidents could have been prevented if federal officials had recognized or reacted to these warning signs.
One of these four fatal crashes took place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At the time, the truck driver was speeding and had set the truck on cruise control. This driver had also violated the hours-of-service safety regulations and had a history of violating the regulations on driving hours. The company he worked for also had a history of schedule violations.
However, according to the safety board, even though federal safety officials knew this, the inspection prior to the crash by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was still rather limited.
In this June Tennessee crash, it was a clear and dry day when other vehicles had slowed due to another accident. For some reason though, the truck driver was not able to slow or stop in time and the truck rear-ended a car. This car burst into flames and two people inside died.
In total, eight vehicles were hit by this truck. In addition to the two fatalities, six people were injured.
In hearing of this tragedy, one has to wonder if a closer prior inspection by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could have led to the driver or the truck being taken off of the road.
Anne S. Ferro, who is the administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, did point to some of the good the agency has done though; saying more than 100 unsafe operators have been shut down since 2010.
She also pointed to the fact that there are 350 inspectors, but 10,000 bus companies and half a million trucking firms.
However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not dispute the recent findings where signs were missed or ignored.
Looking to the future, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended more stringent audits and follow-ups. The hope is this will lead to less accidents in the future and a more proactive approach to truck and bus crashes.