June 2013 NTSB Meeting: Single Unit Trucks Major Source of Preventable Injury/Deaths
Single-Unit trucks are those large trucks that weigh over 10,000 lbs but do not have a trailer like an 18-wheeler. They include box trucks of various sizes and carrying capacities. In June 2013, the NTSB met and studied the dangers associated with this type of truck and concluded that they are a major source of needless injuries and deaths on our highways, responsible for up to 1/3 of all such injuries and deaths. The needless risks associated with these trucks include lack of underride side impact protection, high propensity to roll over in a collision sequence, and lack of blind-spot reducing features. The actual findings of the report are stated below. The full report is available here.
1. Although single-unit truck crashes are neither as lethal nor as likely to cause the most severe injuries as compared with tractor-trailer crashes, available data show that they are involved in at least 37 percent of the fatalities, 49 percent of inpatient hospitalizations, and 61 percent of emergency department visits from large truck crashes.
2. Twice as many pedestrians and cyclists received non-fatal injuries in single-unit truck crashes as in tractor-trailer crashes, although the numbers of fatally injured pedestrians and cyclists were 19 percent lower in single-unit truck crashes than in tractor-trailer crashes.
3. Onboard systems and equipment that compensate for blind spots and allow drivers of single-unit trucks to detect vulnerable road users could prevent fatalities and injuries that occur in crashes involving single-unit trucks.
4. About half of all collisions resulting in injury between passenger vehicles and the side of single-unit trucks involve underride, pose a high risk of death and injury, and could be reduced by side underride guards.
5. The fatalities and serious injuries that are caused by rear underrides, which occur in most collisions resulting in injury between passenger vehicles and the rears of single-unit trucks, could be mitigated by well-designed rear underride protection systems.
6. Collisions between passenger vehicles and the front of single-unit trucks or tractor-trailers are common types of crashes that result in fatalities, and front underride contributes to crash severity.
7. Available data regarding single-unit truck crashes indicate that the rates of serious injury and hospitalization are higher in collisions on dark and unlit roads than during daylight conditions, and the injury rates could be reduced by conspicuity treatments on these trucks.
8. Single-unit trucks are involved in at least one-third of all large truck rollovers and single-vehicle run-off-road crashes, two types of crashes that can be mitigated by electronic stability control systems.
9. Collisions with the sides and fronts of large trucks could be prevented or mitigated by lane departure systems, adaptive cruise control, and collision warning systems installed on large trucks.
10. Nineteen percent of single-unit trucks in fatal crashes have been misclassified in police reports and thus undercounted by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and using information from vehicle identification numbers provides more accurate classification of single-unit truck and tractor-trailer crashes than relying solely on vehicle body type codes in federal and state databases.
11. The Trucks in Fatal Accidents database increases the understanding of truck safety through the improved accuracy of data on fatal large truck crashes collected by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
12. Data from the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System provide detailed information on injury diagnoses and severity in relation to crash characteristics, cover a large proportion of the population of the participating states, are not available elsewhere, and provide useful insight into traffic safety problems.
13. The crash investigation data from the Large Truck Crash Causation Study can provide useful information on the details of crashes and identification of potential countermeasures.
14. A national repository of location-based information for crashes would be beneficial, and the Federal Highway Administration is well-positioned to leverage its experience in the Highway Safety Information System and its ability to collect expanded roadway geographic information systems data through the Highway Performance Monitoring System to compile location-based information of all crashes.
15. Drivers of single-unit trucks in fatal crashes were three times more likely to have invalid licenses than the drivers of tractor-trailers involved in fatal crashes; however, neither the frequency of invalid licensure among single-unit truck drivers involved in non-fatal crashes nor the risks associated with invalid licensure among single-unit truck drivers are known.
16. Requiring commercial driver’s licenses for drivers to operate single-unit trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings less than 26,001 pounds may be an effective means of reducing the frequency and severity of single-unit truck crashes, but further data are needed to determine whether the requirements for commercial driver licensure should be expanded to some types of single-unit trucks.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a trucking collision, let our team of lawyers helpo you today. Call Girards law Firm at 888-897-2762