Some of the most devastating truck accidents occur when the truck driver fails to spot or identify a motorist in one of his blind spots. There are several such blind spots located behind, at the sides, and in front of the truck. When a motorist is in one of these areas, he is not visible to the truck driver. Therefore, the potential for an accident is extremely high. The National Transportation Safety Board recently called on the federal agency for trucking safety to take more steps to mitigate such hazards.
The National Transportation Safety Board is especially concerned about the risks to “vulnerable” road users: those pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists who share our roads. These persons may be even more invisible to a truck driver when they are in the blind spots. In spite of the fact that accidents caused when a truck driver collides with a car, motorcycle or pedestrian in his blind spot number in the thousands every year, the federal administration has focused very little on how mitigating such hazards could prevent accidents and save lives.
The National Transportation Safety Board requests the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to establish new regulations that could help prevent these accidents by boosting blind spot awareness. The Board also wants the federal administration to look more closely at advanced technologies that can be used to mitigate blind spot hazards.
These technologies include the use of advanced mirror system. The Board in its report is not specific about the kind of mirror systems that can be used, but it does indicate that enhanced mirrors like crossover convex mirrors that are required in New York and in many Europe countries, could alert drivers to a motorist in their blind spots. The systems could also include rear view cameras that display to truck drivers motorists or pedestrians in the blind spots behind the tractor-trailer.
Apart from blind spot hazards, the Board also recommends changes to existing regulations to reduce the risk of injuries to passengers in side-impact accidents. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, in 2011 nearly 15% of accidents involving trucks and passenger cars were side-impact accidents, in which the front of the passenger car slid under the side of the truck. This is a very dangerous situation, in which the potential for injury to the occupants of the car is very high.
The Board recommends that trucks come with side under ride protection systems that could prevent the front of the passenger car from sliding under the tractor-trailer in a crash. Similar systems could also be used to prevent passenger cars from sliding under the back of the tractor-trailer. A truck accident in which the front of the passenger car slides under the back or the side of the tractor-trailer can result in possibly fatal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
The Board’s recommendations are not binding on the federal agency, but if implemented, could help save many lives every year.
The Indiana trucking accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent persons injured in trucking accidents across Indiana. If you have been injured a semi or tractor trailer accident, speak with an attorney at our firm.