As everyone who has driven Portland’s interstate highways knows, the most dangerous vehicles are the fast-moving tractor-trailers. They are difficult to maneuver and hard to stop. And when the behemoths are involved in accidents with cars, it’s the occupants of the smaller vehicles who are most likely to suffer severe injuries or fatalities.
Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board issued new recommendations to the National Highway Safety Administration to make 18-wheelers safer for those of us sharing streets and highways with them.
The chair of the NTSB said that research shows eliminating “underride events” (crashes in which a passenger vehicle goes beneath a trailer) and truck blind spots would mean fewer injuries and deaths for other users of our nation’s roads.
Research of tractor-trailer blind spots shows that reduced field of view increases the chances that occupants of cars, as well as motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians will be injured or killed when truckers make even the simplest of maneuvers, including changing lanes, turning, going straight or backing up.
“Underride events” often occur when passenger vehicles strike the back or sides of tractor-trailers. In fact, according to a recent article, about 500 people die annually in crashes with tractor-trailer sides, with many of the accidents involving underride.
The NTSB says that new truck-tractors and trailers should be outfitted with improved underride protection and that underride protection standards should be raised to protect occupants of cars, pick-up trucks, vans and SUVs.
Anyone who has lost a loved one or has been injured in a truck accident should speak with an attorney experienced in wrongful death and personal injury claims.