Safety equipment could reduce truck accident fatalities
Trucking accidents can be particularly devastating to other motorists sharing the Texas roads. Because of the size, weight and volume of 18-wheeler trucks, these vehicles are more likely to cause fatalities in accidents. Of the 4,102 people killed in truck crashes in 2017, 82% of the victims were pedestrians, cyclists or occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. Some types of truck collisions are even more likely to be fatal. For example, crashes where people are crushed in the exposed area on the truck’s side between the front and rear wheels can be particularly catastrophic.
Between 2005 and 2009, 556 pedestrians and bikers were killed in these types of side-impact truck collisions. The danger of these side crashes has drawn attention and regulatory action internationally. As a result, many countries have required that trucks install side guards if they have a high clearance from the ground. Studies conducted in areas requiring the guards, like the U.K., Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands, have shown that fatalities are less likely when the guards are in place. In the U.K., bicyclist deaths dropped by 61% in side-impact truck collisions after the guards were mandated.
However, the U.S. has so far resisted the international trend toward mandatory side guards. No regulations have been issued despite the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board that they should become mandatory equipment. Some states and cities are attempting to deal with the problem by issuing local regulations.
Trucking crashes often lead to catastrophic injuries. In many cases, these collisions are caused by negligent or dangerous driving. Someone who has been injured in a commercial vehicle accident may want to retain a lawyer who could help them pursue compensation for their damages, including medical bills and lost wages.