In the fall of 2014, four members of the North Central Texas College softball team were killed when a truck collided into the team’s bus along Interstate 35 North near Davis, Oklahoma. After conducting an investigation into the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently issued recommendations for trucking companies that will help address substance-impaired driving, particularly those that are not tested for under federal regulations.
The aforementioned accident occurred as the team was returning home from a scrimmage in Bethany, Oklahoma. The truck tried to negotiate a slight curve in the road and ended up crossing the median and travelled more than 1,100 feet before crashing into the team’s bus. During the crash, there were four fatalities and five serious injuries, while eight more, including both drivers, sustained minor injuries.
The investigation revealed that the driver of the truck was likely under the influence of synthetic marijuana and had a documented history of drug use. Synthetic marijuana, or synthetic cannabinoid, is a chemical compound that can have much worse effects than marijuana, including psychosis, seizures and non-responsiveness. Since they are marketed as legal alternatives to marijuana, they are not tested for under federal regulations, similar to many other mind-altering substances that have not been declared illegal.
The NTSB hopes to bring attention to this issue and help prevent commercial driver’s license (CDL) drivers from driving under the influence of substances. The NTSB issued the following two recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
- Determine how often drivers are operating their vehicles while under the influence of mind-altering substances. Develop and implement a plan that will help reduce the incidence of substance abuse.
- Partner with motor carrier industry stakeholders to implement a plan that will help address the problem of vehicle drivers using substances, including those that are not covered under current drug-testing regulations. Plans should include things like promoting best practices, implementing more impairment detection training, and developing performance-based methods of evaluation.
Additional recommendations from the NTSB addressed side-impact protection standards for medium-size buses, new criteria for median barrier installation, and recorder system standards for large commercial vehicles.
Specific recommendations for on-board recorders included the following:
- For trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings over 10,000 pounds, initiate minimum performance standards for data recorders. These standards should address: – data parameters – data sampling rates – duration of recorded event – standardized data imaging interface – data storage – device and data survivability for crush, impact, fluid exposure and thermal exposure
- All vehicles must be equipped with event data recorders that meet these standards
Finally, none of the passengers on the bus were wearing their seatbelts, which contributed to the severity of the injuries. As a result, the NTSB recommends that seat belt use be required in all vehicles.
Cherry Hill Truck Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Victims Involved in Truck Accidents
Any motor vehicle accident can be extremely dangerous. But when you are involved in an accident with a much larger vehicle, like a truck, the consequences can be devastating. If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, contact Cherry Hill truck accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law so that we can ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation call or contact us online.