The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public forum on truck and bus safety May 10-11 in Washington, D.C., to review the progress that has been made since the NTSB held a series of public hearings on the matter back in 1999-2000.
The forum will be chaired by NTSB Board Member Robert L. Sumwalt and will focus on such issues as government oversight, carrier operations, driver training and licensing, driver safety and health, and enhanced vehicle safety technologies.
"As evidenced by the recent tragic accidents in New York and New Jersey, there is still a lot of work to do in the area of highway safety," said NTSB member Sumwalt. "During this forum, we will review the effectiveness of established programs as well as new initiatives in motor carrier operations and vehicle safety to ensure we are doing all we can to make our nation's highways safer."
Fifteen bus passengers were killed earlier this month on I-95 in New York when a bus, operated by a company with a history of safety violations, crashed at 5:30 a.m. while returning to New York City from an overnight trip to the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. The bus driver initially blamed a truck driver for cutting him off, but investigators now are looking into whether the bus driver may have been fatigued.
The last series of NTSB hearings was prompted by a horrific passenger-bus crash, as well, a 1999 Mother's Day crash in New Orleans that killed 22 people. The driver in that crash was found to have major health problems that had gone undetected by regulators. Some critics are now pointing out that some of the reforms discussed during those hearings have been slow to be put in place.
The NTSB says in the decade since it held those hearings on truck and bus safety, the board has issued approximately 400 recommendations to help reduce the number of deaths resulting from truck and bus related accidents. While there has been a general decline in the number of deaths since 1999, the board says, thousands are still killed and tens of thousands injured each year in accidents involving large trucks and buses.
"We will certainly use this forum to review our advances over the last 10 years, but more importantly, we will use it as an opportunity to generate new ideas that will lead to future successes in truck and bus safety," said Sumwalt.
Representatives from federal and state agencies, the trucking and bus industries, unions, and advocacy groups will serve as panelists during the forum.
The forum will be held at the NTSB's Board Room and Conference Center, located at 429 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C.
The public can view the forum in person or by live webcast on the NTSB's website. As soon as they are available, an agenda and webcast details will be posted on the Board's Truck and Bus Safety Forum web page.
Read our coverage of NTSB's previous series of hearings:
* "CDL Reform Discussed In Truck Safety Hearings," 4/16/1999
* "NTSB Pushes Technology At Truck Safety Hearing", 9/1/1999
* Second Day Of NTSB Hearing Focuses On Latest Technology," 9/2/1999
* "Safety Board Looks At NAFTA," 10/26/1999
* "NTSB Hearing: Holes In Medical Certification Program," 1/21/2000