The hearing will be held Jan. 20-21 at the Doubletree Hotel, 300 Canal Street. New Orleans is the site of the hearing because driver oversight has been a key issue in the May 9 crash of a commercial bus on I-610 near New Orleans, in which 22 people were killed. The bus driver had a valid commercial driver's license even though he had been fired twice for drug abuse and had disqualifying health problems.
Topics to be discussed will include medical certification, driver's license issuance and revocation, and the program's effectiveness in identifying and removing problem drivers.
"When individuals board a commercial vehicle as a passenger or pass one in the next lane," said NTSB Chairman Jim Hall in announcing the hearing, "they trust that the driver is in peak physical and mental condition."
This is the final hearing in the NTSB's year-long look at truck safety. Previous hearings have covered the causes of truck- and bus-related crashes and federal and state oversight of the trucking industry; new technologies designed to make commercial vehicles safer; and safety issues related to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Federal and state officials, representatives from the truck and bus industry, and public advocacy groups are expected to testify. The public is welcome; no registration is necessary. For more information, visit the NTSB's web site at www.ntsb.gov.