NTSB urges even more federal oversight of trucking

​The independent federal agency responsible for investigating transportation-related accidents this week called on government regulators to get even tougher on the American trucking industry in the year ahead.

In announcing its annual Most Wanted List, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said federal regulators, trucking companies and individual drivers all have a responsibility to address safety-related issues. In a statement presenting its most wanted list, the NTSB said improving trucking safety will save lives and improve the public’s confidence in the industry.

Top priorities for all those involved in transportation included reducing accidents caused by distracted driving and those caused by drivers impaired by alcohol, drugs or prescription medications.

Here’s what’s on the NTSB’s wish list for agencies that regulate truckers:

* A national ban on all hand-held electronic devices, i.e. cell phones, tablets, etc.

* Require more safety equipment including

collision warning technology

tire pressure monitoring systems

rollover stability control systems

lane departure warning systems

* Screening of drivers for obstructive sleep apnea and for prescription drugs that may impair driving ability

* Ensure new carriers address any safety deficiencies in a timely fashion, and are swiftly placed out of service if they fail to improve.

* Take steps to address “chameleon carriers,” bad operators who go out of business but return under another name

* Require vehicle inspections during compliance reviews

*Develop performance standards for front and side underride protection systems

The NTSB also had suggestions for the nation’s railroads, airlines, mass transit systems and drivers in general.