Trucking Safety Advocates Seek Improved Crashworthiness Standards

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) are coming forward to express their concerns about heavy truck cab crashworthiness standards. In order to do something about the issue, the two groups came together and sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which outlined their concerns regarding the agency's lack of crashworthiness standards for heavy truck cabs. These standards are needed to improve safety and reduce the number of trucking accidents.

"NHTSA has continuously developed crashworthiness standards for automobiles and light trucks, but to date has generally not applied crashworthiness standards to commercial trucks," the letter said. "We believe there may be opportunities to enhance the survivability of professional truck drivers if appropriate, research-based, uniform standards are developed."

The organizations added that these standards are needed because of the risks truck drivers face on the road:

  • 700 truckers are killed each year in single- or multiple-vehicle crashes
  • 63 percent of fatal truck accidents are caused by rollover crashes
  • 23 percent of these rollover crashes can be prevented if the structural integrity of the vehicles are improved

In order to prevent these deadly accidents, the ATA and OOIDA suggest that cab structures include occupant survival space, improved seat belts and airbags and interior truck surfaces made from padding.

"Making our highways safer, especially for our drivers, is one of ATA's highest priorities," ATA President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Graves told the Commercial Carrier Journal. "ATA has made setting crashworthiness standards a part of our progressive safety agenda, and we're proud to stand with OOIDA in calling on the federal government to take these important first steps that will reduce injuries and fatalities among America's professional truck drivers."

If you or your loved one was injured as a result of a trucking accident, speak to a personal injury attorney knowledgeable in these types of claims to discuss the accident and learn more about your legal options.