The National Transportation Safety Board recently announced seven recommendations to make commercial tractor-trailers safer.
One of the recommendations focuses on a truck driver’s blind spots. These include not only the sides of the tractor-trailers, but the front and rear as well.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists Killed in Truck Driving Accidents
The NTSB’s blind spot concerns reflect the dangers inattentive truck drivers pose, especially for “vulnerable road users” – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. The organization examined truck accidents involving these groups and found:
- 160 pedestrians and bicyclists killed per 1,000 accidents with commercial trucks
- 120 motorcyclists killed per 1,000 accidents with commercial trucks
By comparison, the same data show that 11 passenger vehicle occupants were killed per 1,000 commercial truck accidents.
The NTSB also reviewed truck crashes and their impact points. From 2005 to 2009, 759 pedestrians and 181 died in the accidents. Sixty percent of pedestrians were hit by the front of the truck and 40 percent of cyclists were hit by the right side of the truck.
The NTSB said that these locations were the most common impact locations, for logical reasons: cyclists tend to ride on the right side of the road and pedestrians are more likely to cross in front of trucks. (A 1993 study of fatal truck accidents concluded that a truck driver’s view was obstructed by the large truck cab, which contributed to pedestrian crosswalk accidents.)
To counter the dangers of truck drivers’ blind spots, the NTSB is calling for tractor-trailers that weigh more than 26,000 pounds be fitted with “visibility enhancement systems,” although it didn’t offer specifics.
The data is overwhelming: when a truck hits a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist or a passenger vehicle, the consequences can be tragic. So with or without such systems, drivers of large, over-the-road trucks are obligated to operate their vehicles safely.
If you or a loved one has been significantly injured when hit by a commercial truck, an experienced attorney can pursue financial compensation for your injuries or loss from the responsible parties.