One does not need to look far to realize that we face hazards every day on the roads around Houston. Some of the greatest risks come in the form of the huge commercial vehicles that ply the highways. When accidents involving trucks or buses occur, they are often deadly.

Now questions are being raised by the National Transportation Safety Board about whether the federal agency responsible for enforcing truck and bus safety regulations is slipping in its duties.

The NTSB, which has no enforcement authority itself, is pointing to four separate crashes in the past year that resulted in the deaths of 25 people and left 83 others injured. Two of the accidents involved intercity motorcoach buses. Two others involved large commercial trucks.

Of specific concern, the safety board says, is that the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration appears to be falling down on the job performing compliance reviews of some carriers. Officials suggest the FMCSA is not performing the reviews with as much diligence as it should and is relying too much on what are called focused compliance reviews, which only cover a limited scope of a company’s operations.

As a result of that, the NTSB has called on the federal Department of Transportation to perform audits of FMCSA procedures, identify possible shortcomings in them and to take necessary corrective action. Transportation officials appear to be amenable to following through on the recommendations.

Victims of accidents involving commercial vehicles should be aware that they have certain rights. Where negligence or recklessness on the part of drivers or companies can be shown, the right of victims to seek compensation for the various forms of pain and suffering also may exist. Contacting an attorney is always advised.

Source: NYTimes.com, “Federal Oversight Faulted in Truck and Bus Crashes,” Matthew L. Wald, Nov. 7, 2013