In 2010, which is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's most recent data regarding trucking accidents, 276,000 large trucks were involved in collisions in the United States. Of those accidents, 3,675 people were killed and 80,000 people were injured.
Fatalities have gone up 9 percent from 2009 to 2010. Of the deaths resulting from accidents with large trucks, 76 percent were occupants in passenger cars, 10 percent were pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bicyclists, and 14 percent were occupants in large trucks.
Just this morning a tractor-trailer truck was implicated in a 30-vehicle crash that killed three people on a snowy Iowa highway. We will hear in the days to come, whether the truck driver was in compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations with respect to the speed and weather limitations placed upon drivers of these big rigs.
There is no doubt that if not operated properly a truck can be a deadly weapon. As drivers, we can all be more aware around large trucks. Here are a few tips that will hopefully save your life:
- Give truck drivers room to turn. They sometimes will need room to swing wide to the left to make a right turn. They won't be able to see you if you squeeze in between them and the curb. If they are properly using their blinkers, you should be able to prepare and move out of the way when they make this type of turn.
- Large trucks have even larger blind spots. Refrain from riding on either side of a large truck. A good rule of thumb is if you can't see the truck driver's face in the mirror, then they can't see you.
- Never jump in front of a large truck too soon after passing. Large trucks need room to stop. In fact, their breaking distance varies greatly depending on the amount of cargo they are carrying. Never leave this distance to chance, give trucks plenty of space.