Reasons for the rise in truck-occupant crash deaths

| December 18, 2012

Other reasons:
Zachary Bell: Cheap pay, less-experienced truck drivers (distracted by laptops and smartphones), some aluminum trucks without SRS/airbags for the front occupants, poor weather, hours of service and aggressive car drivers.

The most common truck crash I see is the rollover– typically a truck blown over into a ditch by winds over 58 mph or a truck that takes a curve too fast and lays down on its side. Typical causes: low steer tire pressure (blowouts), crosswinds with high wind speed, and lack of braking and/or throttle response because the driver doesn’t know the correct way to react to such a situation. It’s especially bad with rookie drivers, who simply lack the experience to handle emergencies.

There are several fixes for these issues, including mandating more driver training during CDL school, equipping large trucks with modern safety features (TPMS, ESC, driver’s airbags, steel safety-caged cabs that pass the Swedish Impact Test) and making sure the hours rules are in touch with reality. ESC (full Electronic Stability Control) is an especially promising feature that could save the lives of hundreds of drivers each year — it’s a feature that should be made mandatory on all new trucks.

Larry Hanks: Not enough driver training for cars about how dangerous trucks can be and that they have blind spots.

Tony Blackburn: I think it has a lot to do with the technology that a lot of drivers are distracted by, as well as trying to run harder in a shorter period of time

Heather Anne Walrath: Lack of truck parking!

Tim Hilton: Ever thought of putting airbags in tractors? I never could understand why they never had any when every automobile has at least two and as many as what? 10 or more?

  • localnet

    The 14 hour rule is the obvious problem. As others had said, there is no way to stop and take a break or nap using YOUR bodies clock. this one size fits all mentality coming out of Washington DC is the problem with their unending need to control our every waking moment.

    And then we have the wages, the reason why many of us old timers have left the industry… I made more twenty some years ago, and my expenses were allot less. Free coffee and free showers (fuel or no fuel) used to be the norm out here to get our business. Now a cup of joe is upwards of $2 and showers up to $20 in some locals. Then we have the cost of a meal, figure $20 for something other than a hotdog.

    I honestly do not know how, or why these guys even do this work. I could not afford to do this job as a newbie, unless I was single with no financial responsibilities and did not mind living in a truck and living on junk food.

  • localnet

    That is one of the most ignorant statements I have read in quite awhile. Enough said.

  • localnet

    Agree, me and a buddy of mine are in the process of starting a trucking company, my third, his second. We are in the oil and gas industry now, and have found a carrier that fits our needs. It has been a nightmare with all of the new regulations and our screwed up taxing policies to get this off the ground. We have many questions and no answers, as the rules are in continual flux. Very frustrating.

  • Mike Jones

    Oh yea…drivers are “expendible”…..crash expenses are a “cost of doing business”..the execs could care less I believe they have a good laugh when a driver is killed or crippled…..many dispatchers actually despise drivers.

  • mousekiller

    good answer R Aldrich

  • odiillc

    ken nilsen! you clearly have no clue. go back to sleep

  • Mike Jones

    They are crashing and dying because they are Rookies…replacing old experienced drivers..who got OLD by driving sensibly…Thousands of drivers are quitting and these Newbies are “Trying it Out”…..good luck……you will certainly need it…….Fatalities should continue Skyward and remain steady for the forseeable future…it stands to reason.

  • Mike Jones

    AGREED….more and mor drivers are PISSED OFF today..and leaving this industry……it keeps getting more and more intolerable….any other line of work has GOT to be better than this industry…which at ONE TIME was kind of fun and interesting….NOT TODAY with satelite monitoring and some High School grad horsewhipping old grandad down the highway..making SURE he is On Time so the Millionaire Boss can pocket plenty of cash! How funny when ya look at THEN and Now…..used to be kind of cool…sure isnt cool today……Its Pathetic.

  • Mike Jones

    Agreed…leaving this crap behind is sensible..anything is better than all this GRIEF and LOW pay……

  • Mike Jones

    Funny…I saw a female driver at T/A Ontario east side..she was at the fuel island and actually had a Television Set bungy chorded up on the Dash..and watching soapoperas I guess..she was solo…She drove off and I could see the screen was ON!! Too funny……

  • Jammer

    I totally agree with you too Mike. I have been at this for more then 27yrs and it is getting to be a bunch of BS. We don ‘t even get the credit of honing our skills as a driver, our job is NOT concidered a skill trade……REALLY!!!  I would love to see Ann Ferro or that BONE HEAD Ray LaHood try backing this truck into a dock between two trucks with a wall directly across from the docks, without tearing the truck up or somebody elses truck.

  • James M.Stepp

    Time to stop with the drugs,bud. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.