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NTSB seeks improvement in commercial truck safety

The 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements released by the National Transportation Safety Board is composed of a total of 10 items, six of which concern the trucking industry. Truckers in North Carolina will want to know what the NTSB is recommending in its effort to improve traffic safety.

First, the NTSB has recommended several measures for the elimination of distracted driving. Those measures include the development of a feature that disables phones in moving vehicles and the banning of the non-emergency use of electronic portable devices (save for navigation software). The NTSB also recommends that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration create a plan to help reduce the use of impairing substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids, among truckers.

What to do when no one wants to buy a company

As small business owners get closer to retirement, they may want to sell their businesses to other parties. However, not every company available in North Carolina will find a buyer. Of course, there is a chance that a company could be acquired even if no one wants to buy it outright. For instance, a competitor may want to merge with a company or acquire a portion of it.

Those who own a small business may attract interest by selling it for less than its full market value. This is often referred to as a fire sale, and it can be a good way to liquidate the company or parts of the company that have the most value. In some cases, it's possible to transfer a company to a successor either within or outside of the organization.

Research sources for buying franchises

Entrepreneurs in North Carolina who are considering purchasing a business may want to consider buying a franchise. However, they must do their due diligence and thoroughly research certain sources before deciding to make a purchase.

One of the most important sources of information about a franchise company is the franchise company itself. It can provide the crucial details prospective buyers may need to make an informed decision. This information can include franchise brochures, franchise disclosure documents, testimonials from franchisees and information about the industry.

Push for speed limiters grows as truck crash deaths surge

According to federal data, large truck crash deaths totaled 35,882 between 2009 to 2017. All but six states saw an increase in these deaths. At the same time, the number of miles driven by commercial truckers went down. North Carolina residents should know that speeding is considered a main factor in this increase. The non-profit Road Safe America is calling for certain steps to be taken to address this widespread issue.

Road Safe America points out that of the five states that saw the greatest increase in fatalities (Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania), most hold to a speed limit of 70 mph. This is too fast for any vehicle weighing more than 80,000 pounds to operate safely. For this and other reasons, the non-profit encourages speed limiting. Safety advocates say truck fleet owners should set the maximum speed to 65 mph.

Woman dies carrying stroller down subway steps

People in North Carolina who have struggled to carry a baby's stroller down a flight of steps may have heard about a 22-year-old Connecticut mother who died doing the same thing in a New York City subway. No elevator was in service. The incident occurred around 8 p.m. on Jan. 28. The baby appeared to be unharmed.

Only about 25 percent of the 472 subway stations throughout the city are accessible. Many lack elevators, and in others, the elevators are often broken. Some people in wheelchairs must be carried up and down stairs despite a danger of falling. In 2017, disability advocates filed a lawsuit arguing that the MTA is in violation of both the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York City Human Rights Law. Furthermore, as this incident demonstrates, the lack of elevators does not only create hazards for disabled people. People with strollers, luggage, minor injuries or stamina issues that make climbing stairs difficult are also at risk.

Tips for buying a business in an expedited fashion

It can sometimes take at least a year to buy a North Carolina business, but there are steps that can be taken to shorten that timeline. In fact, it may be possible to do so within the next several months with the right plan in place. One way to expedite the process is to only express interest in companies that meet budget and location requirements.

Sticking to a specific industry or industries can be a helpful way to get a deal done in less time. Ideally, a buyer will look at industries that match his or her skill set or interests. Once an individual finds a company worth making an offer on, it is important to have a team of professionals start negotiations.

Commercial accidents put passenger vehicle occupants in danger

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers not wearing their seat belts are a common cause of commercial vehicle fatalities. Roughly half of those deaths have occurred because drivers weren't wearing seat belts while driving on roads in North Carolina and other states. In 2017, there were 5,005 deaths in crashes involving trucks and buses. That was an increase from 3,193 in 2009.

Research indicates that 86 percent of commercial truck and bus drivers wore their seat belts when required to in 2017. This compares to a 90 percent compliance rate among passenger vehicle drivers. It's important to note that not wearing a seat belt won't necessarily cause an accident to occur. Therefore, it's a good idea to understand what factors do lead to crashes. According to FMCSA data, speeding was the most common factor in crashes involving large trucks.

Coalition goal is zero traffic fatalities

The CEO of the National Safety Council has stated a commitment to the newly created Road to Zero Coalition, whose goal it is to reduce the number of traffic deaths to zero by the year 2050. Drivers, pedestrians and passengers on North Carolina roadways may notice the impact of the RSC on regulations and policies going forward. The RSC is made up of 675 members and recently released a Rand Corp. report outlining methods that might be used to reduce the number of traffic accident fatalities.

According to the CEO of the National Safety Council, the RSC has trucking company members as well as members who are trucking company associations or suppliers. She was previously a 10-year member of the National Transportation Safety Board. She served as NTSB chairman for a period of five years. The focus on reducing traffic fatalities comes as the number of fatal accidents is increasing.

Tips for avoiding accidents with commercial vehicles

Large truck accidents that take place on North Carolina roads can result in injuries or death to all involved. According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 66 percent of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks were in the passenger vehicles. Therefore, it is important for those driving lighter cars to know how to stay safe when sharing the road with large trucks.

It is a good idea to stay at least 500 feet away from any commercial vehicles. This gives them enough space to stop or slow down suddenly without causing a crash. When driving near a larger vehicle, drivers should be sure to stay focused on road conditions as opposed to a smartphone or other electronic device. Drivers should also take time to observe the actions of other drivers on the road. If a vehicle is swerving or braking in an unusual manner, it could indicate a drowsy or distracted driver.

Things to consider before becoming a franchisee

Opening a new business in North Carolina as a franchisee can be a lucrative endeavor, but it's important to consider a variety of risk factors before moving forward with an investment. One of the first factors to analyze is whether or not a business opportunity is in an established or relatively new market. Old markets aren't 100 percent safe, and new ones aren't always fads, but how established a particular business is should weigh heavily in calculating the risk.

Another factor to consider is locality and seasonality. Some businesses only generate enough revenue to operate in specific regions or during specific times of the year. Running a surfing supply franchise in Minnesota during the winter isn't likely to be profitable. Franchisees who only want to work half the year may benefit from opening a business that's only busy from April to October. Recession resistance is also important. Whether or not a franchise can hold up during an economic downturn will help determine long-term success.

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