A major advocacy group for American truckers recently called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to do more to improve commercial vehicle safety. Semi tractors are not subject to the same crashworthiness standards applied to light trucks and automobiles, and other basic protections that other motorists take for granted are not standard equipment in all commercial trucks.
The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) sent a letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland in June insisting that "significant improvements in truck occupant safety can and must be achieved in the near future." The American Trucking Association (ATA) also signed the letter, which indicated several shortcomings in commercial vehicle design, including:
- Inadequate cab structure requirements
- A lack of safety belt restraints and airbags
- Weak windshields and doors that fail to prevent occupant ejections
- Hazardous interior surfaces
Truck crashes can cause catastrophic harm to truckers, including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. NHTSA crashworthiness standards have enhanced motor vehicle safety for other motorists and passengers, and should be similarly applied to commercial drivers. New federal government standards for crashworthiness of heavy trucks would make road conditions safer for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Anyone injured in a truck accident, whether due to driver error, defective equipment or a trucking company's negligence, should act swiftly to ascertain their legal options. An experienced trucking accident attorney can provide insights about complex federal trucking regulations and review the circumstances in order to identify all potentially liable parties.
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