In 2013, the most recent reporting year from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,600 people died in accidents caused by large commercial trucks. More than two-thirds of those killed in deadly tractor-trailer accidents were occupants of other vehicles. Another 15 percent who died in crashes caused by trucks were either on foot, on bikes, or riding motorcycles.
So the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed in trucking accidents is significant.
What can be done to prevent walkers and bike riders from being killed by 18-wheelers? An answer recently came to light in the form of truck side guards.
Pedestrians Hit by Side of Truck
Most fatal bicycle and pedestrian truck accidents happen when the side of a turning truck hits the biker or walker, knocking the victim under the big rig’s wheels. Safety advocates have called for the installation of side guards on commercial trucks to prevent this. They say that these guards, which are metal bars installed between the front and rear wheels to cover the open space, will propel a pedestrian or cyclist away from the truck’s wheels after being hit by a truck driver.
The mayor of New York recently signed a law requiring side guards on all the city’s large trucks. Boston preceded this announcement a month earlier with its own side-guard truck mandate.
In a city like our own St. Louis, which has been making major strides to become more bicyclist friendly, truck side-guard protection may be an idea worth considering.
Steps to Stop Truck Drivers from Injuring Walkers and Cyclists
In addition to side guards, some safety advocates call for increased driver training, tougher penalties for truck drivers who hit pedestrians and bike riders, and limits on the size of trucks allowed on urban streets to limit the number of walkers and riders killed by trucks.
But there is no absolute protection from devastating accidents caused by truck drivers. When such a tragedy occurs, innocent victims deserve justice. If you had a loved one killed or if you were seriously hurt in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver, see an attorney who handles catastrophic trucking accident cases to review your legal options.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.