The European Union has a special name for certain parties who share highways and streets across the continent. They are the VRUs: vulnerable road users. These pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists account for almost 50 percent of Europeans injured or killed each year in accidents involving vehicles—and 28 percent of those injured or killed in large truck crashes. More than half of these large truck incidents take place at low speeds. In Germany alone this year, more than 20 cyclists have been killed by right-turning trucks alone. The numbers are predicted to grow as governments across Europe promote walking and biking over driving and as more urban construction projects begin.
New highway regulations in Texas have fleet managers looking for ways to equip specific heavy haul trucks with roll-stability systems and blind spot protection. The new regulations, as laid out in Texas Senate Bill 1524, address heavier oversize and overweight intermodal vehicles that carry oceangoing or international trade containers within 30 miles of a port of entry or international bridge. SB 1524 mandates that roll-stability systems and blind spot protection be installed on these vehicles as a precondition of receiving an operating permit from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Following a recent tradeshow, conversations revolved around street sweepers and the hazards that come with them. In an effort to highlight the safety issues that are associated with this common piece of equipment, we wanted to take a moment to draw attention to the safety solutions that are available.
The PRECO Electronics team is exhibiting at North America’s largest work truck event, The Work Truck Show 2017, located at booth #5873, demonstrating how our radar safety technology eliminates an operators’ blind spots in side and rear applications. On display will be the combination of PRECO’s two recently announced collision mitigation technologies: PreView Side Defender and PreView Sentry.
Trucking companies and truck drivers must cope with a variety of working conditions, including variable weather and traffic conditions, boredom, and in-cab distractions. Add the problem of sharing the road with erratic drivers and you have a recipe for a potential tragedy.
The transportation industry logged 279.1 billion miles in 2014 according to American Trucking Associations’, with over 400,000 truck accidents each year. More than 70% of these accidents are the fault of the NON-commercial driver, with only 16% due to the truck driver's fault. These statistics just address incidents with other moving vehicles.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released a new two-year “Most Wanted” wish list for 2017-18 that puts distractions and tired driving at the top of ten pressing safety issues to improve.
NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said that the list's new two-year cycle will “help to focus our advocacy efforts on sustained progress. We will take stock at the one-year mark, note what progress has been made, and decide what additional improvements are needed.”
Safety in heavy-duty industries has surged ahead in 2016 thanks to new innovations and technologies that have taken collision mitigation to the most advanced level yet. As our understanding of collisions and how to avoid them deepens, this momentum will continue with the goal of saving as many lives as possible.
Recently, we’ve seen higher levels of technological sophistication in the autonomous applications of U.S. Army tactical vehicles. Over the course of the next decade, the Army predicts that assistant drivers will no longer be needed in manned war vehicles, and only a few years beyond that the main driver will also be able to stay behind on missions. Imagine the lives that will be saved on the battlefields.
Despite improvements in safety training, the number of accidents and fatalities as a result of collisions between motorcyclists, pedestrians or cyclists and commercial trucks & buses has remained high over the past 30 years – even increasing in our biggest cities. In the USA alone there were 587 such deaths in 1989, 519 in 1999, and 531 in 2014, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Efforts by commercial fleets to improve vehicle safety are counteracted by more traffic and an increase in driver distraction – e.g. the use of handheld devices. It seems like people would rather scroll through their social media feed than pay attention to where they’re walking or driving.
A stronger economy, lower unemployment rates, and better gas prices have put more people on U.S. roadways, causing motor vehicle fatalities to rise by 9% in the first half of 2016. The National Safety Council estimates that 19,100 people have been killed over the road since January, and 2.2 million were seriously injured. What’s more, this Labor Day was predicted to be the deadliest holiday period since 2008, according to the NSC.
Other factors, including distracted driving, have contributed to the rise in over the road accidents. Side collisions with trucks from lane changes have increased on busier highways. Congested urban areas are seeing a rise in struck-by side collisions from turns and lane changes, especially with pedestrians and cyclists. The economy might look rosier, but the roadways do not, especially for the most vulnerable road users—those on foot and bikes.
Being in and around moving vehicles, regardless of their size, has inherent dangers built in. Today’s highways and city streets are more congested than ever, with a heavy mix of traffic interacting with bicycles and pedestrians.
Add in distracted driving—which has been on the rise—and you’ve got a recipe for potential disaster. Sadly, accidents and fatalities on highways involving trucks, and those in cities involving pedestrians and bicyclists colliding with trucks, have been on the rise.