I was devastated to hear about the recent truck crash in which a 5-year-old boy and his volunteer driver were killed on the Maine Turnpike.
As a mother who lost her son in a truck crash, I know the pain and grief the families are going through; my thoughts are with them and will be as they learn to cope with such devastating losses.
As an advocate for truck safety, however, I am angry because this crash, and the fatalities it caused, could have been avoided by requiring two common-sense improvements on large trucks: stronger rear underride guards and automatic emergency braking.
Underride crashes have been identified as a problem dating back to the 1950s. Since that time, the government has required a woefully inadequate and antiquated standard that many times renders useless a car’s protections, like airbag deployment and a crumple zone. Consequently, there is passenger compartment intrusion, which results in truly horrific crashes, like this one.
Automatic emergency braking is a much newer solution than underride guards for reducing truck crashes, but the technology is being developed and employed rapidly. In fact, all major car companies will require automatic emergency braking by 2022. There is no reason why trucks, which take much longer to stop than cars, should not be equipped with it, too.
founder and co-chair, Parents Against Tired Truckers