Government May Require Brake Transmission Shift Interlock Systems for Trucks

Today’s Trucking reports that American truck regulators are considering a proposal to require large trucks and buses with automatic transmissions to have technology installed that will prevent unintended acceleration.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has expressed concern about incidents involving drivers who have pressed down on the accelerator instead of or in addition to the brake pedal. The NTSB has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop a rule requiring the installation of brake transmission shift interlock systems (BTSI) in all newly manufactured heavy vehicles with automatic transmissions and other types of transmissions that might allow unintended acceleration by pressing the wrong pedal in the park position.

The NTSB also asked the NHTSA to analyze pedal configurations in large trucks and buses. The pedal design and configuration may affect driving and pedal errors. The NTSB expects a published NHTSA report soon.

The NTSB started this investigation in 2005 when a school bus driver hit the wrong pedal and caused an accident in Liberty, Missouri. Pedal misapplication has also implicated in at least four other heavy vehicle accidents since then.

A 1989 NHTSA study on light vehicles found that pedal misapplication is the most probable explanation for sudden acceleration in the absence of vehicle.

The NTSB acknowledges that all drivers in the known heavy vehicle accidents due to sudden acceleration reported a loss of braking power or were observed by vehicle occupants to be unsuccessfully attempting to stop the vehicles. However, the NTSB concludes that there was no evidence of braking failure in any of these cases.

Unfortunately, the reality is that driver error is a common cause of tractor-trailer wrecks. Requiring the installation of BTSIs on all new trucks would likely save lives and prevent unnecessary injuries. Tractor trailer trucks can weight up to 80,000 pounds. A vehicle that massive can cause extensive damage (especially to other vehicles) when it suddenly accelerates. Tractor trailer trucks make up just 3 percent of the vehicles on the road, yet they’re involved in 21 percent of fatal wrecks.

If you’ve been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, contact a Georgia tractor trailer truck wreck attorney as soon as possible. In serious injury cases, major trucking companies will immediately have their lawyers and experts on the scene to secure evidence. An experienced truck accident attorney will make sure that photographs and statements are taken as soon as possible after the accident. Skid marks, for instance, will disappear and that evidence will be lost unless photographs are immediately taken.

Many important, helpful pieces of evidence can be lost, misplaced or be purposely destroyed unless you act quickly. For example, some trucking companies won't save the driver's hours of service records unless they are promptly contacted by an attorney. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.