Smaller Trucks on the Road is Key to Safer Travels

Smaller, Safer Semi Truck

Truck accidents usually result in serious injury or death, and with so many commercials trucks on the road during any given day, it’s not surprising that approximately 500,000 truck accidents occur each year in the United States. About 5,000 of those truck accidents result in at least one fatality, according to statistics published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Also according to the IIHS, large trucks are much more likely to be involved in a multi-vehicle crashes with fatalities than passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, and smaller trucks). Ninety eight percent of the fatalities occurring in truck vs. car accidents are passengers or the driver of the smaller vehicle, which makes perfect sense due to the size difference between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles.

Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and as such, take much longer to brake than passenger vehicles. Unsecured or improperly loaded cargo can be a deadly road hazard, as can equipment failures. Truck driver error due to lack of proper training, sleep deprivation, or substance use also causes thousands of accidents each year. Tire blowouts, inclement weather, poor lighting, and road debris are all contributors to deadly trucking accidents.

Vision Zero’s Solution

One large network of people and organizations known as “Vision Zero” feels it has a viable solution for the alarming number of deaths and serious injuries due to truck accidents: Design and build smaller commercial trucks. Whether you’re using your trucks for deliveries, maintenance, cargo transport, or simply as a means to get from Point A to Point B, smaller trucks may be a solution to the deadly problem of truck vs. car, bike, and pedestrian accidents.

Started in Sweden in the 1990’s, Vision Zero is now gaining popularity in American cities after being quite successful in several European cities. Vision Zero is a multi-disciplinary approach to changing the way we view and handle traffic issues in the U.S., and the Vision Zero Network wants people to see that many factors contribute to safe travel in our cities and communities like the design of roadways, speed limits, driving behaviors, and motor vehicle technology just to name a few and that clear goals must be set to achieve the shared goal of zero deaths and severe injuries from traffic accidents.

The Volpe Center, a research agency that’s part of the United States Department of Transportation has offered some recommendations in a report on commercial truck design to help achieve the goal of the Vision Zero Network.

  • Make trucks smaller: Since their large size has so much to do with their lethality in a collision, smaller trucks may prove to be less deadly. The San Francisco Fire Department ordered a smaller truck that’s eight less feet long than traditional fire trucks, and the smaller truck has a 24% smaller turn radius, which makes it more maneuverable through busy city streets, especially while traveling at higher speeds.
  • Design trucks with the “cab over design,” which means the driver sits over the wheel axel instead of behind the nose of the truck; according to the Volpe report blind spots are reduced with the cab over design and visibility is improved. This design, which has been adopted in some cities and is gaining momentum, allows truck drivers to better see pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Add windows on the lower front and passenger doors of trucks to widen the driver’s field of vision.

New commercial truck designs can improve driver visibility and street maneuverability, which could lead to fewer crashes and move lives saved on U.S. roadways.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, talk to an experienced truck accident attorney in your area today.

Lynn Fugaro About Lynn Fugaro

Lynn has been writing web content since 2007 after a lengthy career as a middle school English teacher and administrator. Writing web content seemed a natural progression following a career teaching adolescents about the beauty and the power of the written word, and she quickly got hooked on the challenge of writing SEO- and reader-friendly content that could be found on Page 1 of Google and other search engines.

Having written content for physicians and attorneys for the first few years of her writing career, Lynn has most recently produced original, informative, entertaining, and relevant content for the entertainment industry, the automotive industry, senior communities, pet rescues and numerous other businesses hoping to increase website traffic and page views for all clients looking for informative, vibrant content.