NTSB wants crash-proof data recorders installed in heavy trucks

by Truck News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board wants commercial trucks to carry event data recorders, following an investigation into a California crash between a truck and motorcoach that resulted in 10 fatalities in April 2014.

The crash involved a 2007 Volvo tractor-trailer operated by FedEx.

Investigators were unable to determine why the truck crossed the median, striking a passenger car as well as a motorcoach.

The investigation revealed inadequacies in fire performance standards for motorcoaches. However, the lack of event data recorders on the truck and motorchoach made the investigation more difficult to conduct, according to NTSB chairman Christopher Hart. The truck’s ECM was destroyed in the crash and subsequent fire.

“With access to event data recorders, we might have been able to determine why the truck crossed the median, which could have enabled us to make recommendations to prevent it from happening again,” Hart said. “Much of the reason that aviation is so safe today is that we have required such recorders for decades so that we can learn the lessons of accidents. But they are still not required in commercial trucks or motorcoaches despite more than a decade of recommendations by the NTSB.”

The NTSB is now repeating calls for dedicated crash electronic data recorders to be installed in all new heavy trucks.

You can read its full report and list of recommendations here.

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