Submitted by ub on Tue, 06/05/2012 - 17:47

The National Transportation Safety Board wants trucking companies to gather 10 years of driving records for newly hired drivers. This represents an increase from the current three years that the board said does not allow carriers to make informed hiring decisions.

In presenting its findings from an investigation of a nearby crash that killed 15 people in March, the board has also recommended that all new heavy vehicles have devices that limit speeds based on current speed limits.

Three-year driving records, which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires carriers to obtain, “are insufficient to make an informed hiring decision and result in the motor carrier not having access to sufficient safety-related information prior to hiring drivers,” NTSB said in the report from the crash.

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently considering a speed-limiter mandate for heavy vehicles, such devices would be set permanently to one speed. In the March 2011 crash, the bus was speeding in a zone limited to 50 mph.

NYC council member Jimmy Vacca, who heads the city transportation committee says that driver fatigue, vehicle speed cited as crash’s main causes. “It speaks to an industry that has long escaped oversight and regulation. These intercity buses, for too long, placed too many people in harm’s way and the federal government cannot relent in bringing about both immediate and permanent safety reforms.”

On March 12, 2011, a World Wide Travel Bus traveling from Connecticut to New York’s Chinatown crashed on Interstate 95 in Council Member Vacca’s East Bronx Council District. The driver was indicted on charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide in the fall of 2011, to which he pleaded not guilty. In its findings, the National Transportation Safety Board cited driver fatigue and excessive vehicle speed as the primary causes of the crash, which killed 15 passengers.