People driving on Pennsylvania roadways can expect to see 18-wheelers at any hour. Hundreds of large trucks travel highways like Interstate 81 every day.
Truck-car collisions often result in catastrophic injuries for passenger car occupants, but researchers think four safety features could prevent thousands of crashes.
Research findings released
A large truck safety report released in 2017 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that more than 400,000 truck-related crashes occurred in 2015. Having studied the incidents that resulted in 116,000 injuries and 4,000 fatalities, the researchers calculated that the installation of four specific safety features has the potential to prevent up to 63,000 crashes involving trucks annually.
Potential for reducing crashes
The researchers recommended four specific safety features for installation on big rigs:
- Air disc brakes because they offer maintenance and performance advantages over drum brakes
- Automatic emergency braking system capable of detecting proximity to the vehicle in front of the truck and automatic braking if the driver is too close
- Lane departure warning system to alert the driver when the truck is drifting out of its lane
- An onboard safety monitoring system, which uses sensors and cameras to monitor the performance and behavior of the driver
Tips for motorist safety
The report also provided tips for motorists when driving in the vicinity of big rigs. First, be aware of the truck’s blind spots. Follow large trucks at a safe distance and give them plenty of room when a driver signals an upcoming lane change. Also, leave ample room when stopping behind a truck on a hill, since the truck may roll back when the driver removes his or her foot from the brake. The combination of safety features for large trucks and precautions for motorists when driving around them will help to avoid crashes that could cause life-altering injuries or death.