Based on studies conducted last year, the National Transportation Safety Board has sent seven recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "to improve the safety of tractor-trailers." The suggestions range from changing actual physical components on tractor-trailers, like adding protection along the sides of trailers to keep cars from going under them, to recording VIN information on trailers - which isn't currently collected - in accident reports.

The NTSB research revealed that more than half the time, truckers who hit pedestrians after pulling away from a stoplight weren't aware they had done so until other motorists or bystanders told them. When it comes to "underride events" - when a vehicle goes under the trailer - the NTSB said many of the 500 deaths caused by such incidents come from collisions with the sides of trailers, and reaffirmed the assessment by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that rear trailer guard regulations aren't up to scratch.

The full list of recommendations also believes the NHTSA should mandate blind-spot reduction systems. NHTSA hasn't responded to points laid out, but it already does a lot of research in heavy truck safety, such as the recently concluded five-year study on Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems.


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  • 19 Comments
      Sean Oliviero
      • 8 Months Ago
      As a person who makes a living driving an 18-wheeler, I think eliminating compromises to driver safety are crucial for reducing accidents on the road. The biggest of these compromises is regarding driver alertness. Eliminating incentives for truck drivers to disobey hours of service regulations by mandating that trucking companies pay per dispatched day rather than per mile will go a long way towards making the roads safer for everyone. Also, banning trucks from traveling between the hours of 2am and 6am (an extremely risky time for driver alertness) will also help reduce the number of accidents due to driver alertness. Civilians can help us truckers tremendously by being patient (we gotta pull 80,000lb of stuff around, you know), not passing on the right, and keeping ample distance between themselves and the truck. A typical 18-wheeler needs a minimum of 3 lanes of traffic just to make a right turn and two or more to make a left. My Freightliner has less horsepower than a Camaro SS, barely more than double the torque of an F-250, and only has 3x the stopping power of a typical car slow down 20x the weight -- it's going to be slow to move and very slow to stop. By all means, please be courteous to trucks and truck drivers, because without trucks nothing goes anywhere.
        ksrcm
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Sean Oliviero
        "My Freightliner has less horsepower than a Camaro SS, barely more than double the torque of an F-250, and only has 3x the stopping power of a typical car slow down 20x the weight -- it's going to be slow to move and very slow to stop." Thanks for pointing it out. I never knew exact numbers, but isn't it PAST time to limit these to 55 mph on Interstates? For exact reasons you just numbered above? Not to mention their prowess in performing evasive maneuvers ...
      19secondsslow
      • 8 Months Ago
      That is one gruesome photo.
      Griffen W
      • 8 Months Ago
      While its a good start I think more attention needs to be focused on the vehicles in operation around the trucks. I would like to see just an intro or something to large commercial vehicles in driver's ed. In town our left hand turn lanes are set well back from the intersections to accommodate the semis. Ive seen twice in the last year where a driver has driven under a trailer that's turning when they pass the stop bar in the left turn lane. Countless times where drivers pull even and a trucker making a right turn sits pointed at them with the horns on till they back up. Just simple things about driver awareness that would prevent a lot of the accidents
      Jake
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sending freight across country over the road with a single tractor per trailer is ridiculous. More freight trains.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 8 Months Ago
      What they need to do is ban semi trucks from highways and restrict them to local roads and backroads. They were never designed with highway driving in mind. If they were, then they would have much better acceleration and would be able to keep pace on a highway and merge properly without causing a pileup. They can't which is a serious safety concern. If they want to use the highway, then they need to use their emergency flashers and need to have signs on the back saying, WARNING: DANGEROUS VEHICLE"
      RobG
      • 8 Months Ago
      I can tell you how to make 'em safer. Get rid of them. The vast majority of that cargo can go on trains. Then use large box vans (without trailers) at the rail hubs to deliver the goods. And while I'm at it, restrict the hours of operation of these trucks to nighttime so as to not clog up the roads during commute and daylight hours. No jobs would be lost because the railroads would need more workers, and the local distribution centers would need drivers. No more worrying about being on the road so much, or how many hours in a day they're driving, etc.
        Notrozer!
        • 8 Months Ago
        @RobG
        If you bought it, It came on a truck Train tracks don't go everywhere
        Rar
        • 8 Months Ago
        @RobG
        Rob, you do not know anything about the transportation business. If you owned a retail store in the Midwest and you purchased a truck load of items from an east coast vendor, by truck, these items could be in your warehouse the next afternoon. If you wanted to ship them by rail, it could be as much as two plus weeks. Not only that but it would cost more. As a business owner, how would you choose to have that shipment made? Rail freight works great for some things, mostly large factories ect. For most small to medium size businesses, Rail freight is not at all practical.
      Adam
      • 8 Months Ago
      Side guards on trailers would be a welcome step. They have them in Europe and it's easy to see how they help prevent cars from "submarining" in a side impact with a trailer.
      bonehead
      • 8 Months Ago
      I have heard that germany has had great success in reducing accidents by installing automatic braking systems on semis so they will hit the brakes if the driver is not paying attention properly. This can at least lessen the impact. The real solution to eliminating wrecks is eliminating the human error which means driverless semis. but i of course dont like this solution since it means the loss of a skilled worker job. But if it were to exist semis could drive close drafting each other saving fuel and reduce wrecks.
        Notrozer!
        • 8 Months Ago
        @bonehead
        bonehead? so drivers of cars doing stuid things around the truck never cause an accident?
      Tom
      • 8 Months Ago
      How bout people just learn to drive n pay attention when doin so.
      Bernard
      • 8 Months Ago
      If a truck like that backs into your car or SUV, it will never know. There really needs to be a way of alerting the driver of a collision and stopping them from driving away from the scene. Back when I had an Altima a bus backed into it and it drove off. I had to chase that bastard down.
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