To reduce the frequency and severity of a type of accident, you need up to date information about why they happen. Truck accidents have risen gradually over the last three years, with over 4,000 people killed each year. Even more worrying is that they have increased by more than 50% since 2009. Yet the last comprehensive survey of the causes was carried out between 2001 and 2003. With truck crashes being some of the most devastating of all accidents, updating the information is vital.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a new study to investigate fatal truck crashes and those that cause injury or damage property. While it is still in the planning stage, it is good news for all other road users, including truckers themselves.
Distracted driving due to the rise of smartphones is likely to play a significant role in the number of accidents. There are also more vehicles on the road. Yet there have been so many advances during the last 20 years that our highways should be safer in theory.
The use of seat belts is more widespread, and airbags are commonplace. Most cars have anti-lock brakes (ABS), and most trucks have autonomous emergency braking systems (AEB). Cars makers have moved away from solid fenders to plastic ones to absorb impact in a crash. Driving tests have become stricter, and the truck driving industry has become more regulated.
Until the FMCSA completes the new study, all you can do is give trucks a wide berth on the road. If you are in a collision with one, you are likely to come off worse.