From 2009 to 2017, 44 states experienced increases in the number people killed in large truck crashes.
Mandate Collision Avoidance and Mitigation Technologies
The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) supports requirements for automatic emergency braking (AEB). This collision avoidance technology has been proven to reduce rear-end collisions in which the truck is the striking vehicle. These types of truck crashes can occur when cars and trucks are stopped in traffic or slowed down, like in work zones and construction areas. In 2016, large trucks were involved in 27 percent of all fatal work zone crashes.
Equipping a truck with AEB is a custom and standard within the trucking industry. Moreover, companies that have adopted AEB have experienced the benefits of reducing crashes and protecting their drivers and the public. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that forward collision avoidance and mitigation systems can prevent thousands of crashes each year. With every year that we do not fully implement this technology, too many Americans will unnecessarily die and even more will suffer serious injuries.
Strengthen Rear Underride and Requiring Side Underride Protections
The federal government should require all trucks and trailers to be equipped with energy-absorbing rear, side, and front underride guards to protect car occupants from underride crashes. These crashes can be catastrophic because the car rides under the trailer, bypassing the crumple zone and airbag deployment sensors; in severe collisions, passenger compartment intrusion occurs.
Currently, five of the eight leading trailer manufacturers have developed rear underride guards that qualify for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) ToughGuard Rating, which greatly exceeds the proposed federal standard. TSC urges Congress and DOT to strengthen the inadequate standard for rear underride guards, require side underride guards on trailers, and require front guards consistent with those in the European Union to prevent override crashes.
Require Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters Be Set on All Trucks
TSC supports a rule requiring all large trucks with existing speed limiting technology to be capped at a maximum speed of 60 mph. This regulation is long overdue as speed limiters have been installed in most trucks since the 1990s. NHTSA estimates that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 60 mph could save 162 to 498 lives. Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration compared fleets that had speed limiters to fleets that did not, and they found that “trucks equipped with speed limiting devices had a statistically significant lower speed-limited-relevant crash rate compared to trucks without speed limiting devices.” TSC also looks forward to December 2017, when the rule requiring Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) on all trucks takes effect. The combined use of speed limiters and ELDs can reduce the number of drivers who cheat, either by exceeding their Hours of Service or by speeding.
Minimum levels of insurance for trucks have not been increased in over 35 years and are woefully deficient. As a result, a very large portion of the damages and losses caused by elements of the trucking industry are imposed upon the motoring public and taxpayers. If the entire industry had to absorb the losses it causes, there would be significant operational and equipment changes, which would result in safer highways for all. Â TSC supports regulatory and legislative actions that would increase minimum insurance levels immediately, and periodic increases indexed to inflation and rising health care costs.
Longer trucks are more dangerous to motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and truck drivers. TSC strongly supports retaining current federal size limits. We firmly oppose any legislative effort to increase double tractor-trailers from 28 feet per trailer to 33 feet. This length increase would result in a 33-percent increase in low-speed off tracking and additional 22-feet of stopping distance. This length increase will also result in a larger blind spot and increase the exposure to side underride crashes. TSC also opposes increasing the federal truck weight limit above 80,000lbs, granting weight exemptions, and state pilot programs. Heavier truck weights increase both crash risk and severity.
If you have lost a loved one in a truck crash and would like to have their picture posted on the Memorial Section of our website, please let us know. The Truck Safety Coalition is dedicated to reducing preventable truck crash deaths and injuries in memory and honor of all those who have been affected by such crashes in the past.