Reasons for the rise in truck-occupant crash deaths
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?