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Arnold & Itkin LLP Truck Accident Blog2016JuneDesigning Safer Trucks

Designing Safer Trucks

While many of the 7,800 truck accidents that occur every year can be attributed to driver inattention or fatigue, there may be other factors involved. One of the most ignored issues with truck safety is the overall design of trucks. If these large vehicles had improved designs, they would likely cause much less damage. With the number of carrier trucks on the road, there is a high need for improvements and modifications to these vehicles. Not only is there a need for more fuel efficiency, trucks need to have advanced safety quality as well.

Truck Safety Designs

Chief Engineer for Peterbilt Motors Company commented that the company only changes their design once every 25 years. Truck model 579, the latest Peterbilt model, was built with safety and aerodynamic performance in mind. Among the changes, better mirrors, a larger windshield, and an improved axle contribute to an overall safer vehicle. The mirrors and windshield offer improved visibility, while the improved axle provides a better turning radius.

Around the world, people are coming up with new ideas and designs for better, safer trucks. The UK even hosts a contest for individuals and teams to present their ideas to truck designers and leading truck manufacturers.

Some ideas for improved truck safety include:

  • See-through cabs for improved visibility
  • Lower driver seating for better visibility
  • Side barriers so cyclists aren’t caught under the truck
  • Better wheel / axle designs for safer turns

In the spirit of innovation, Samsung even created a “see-through” truck in which images of the road infront and to the side of the truck are projected onto the back, so that drivers behind the truck can see whether it is safe to pass. Currently, Samsung’s Safety Trucks are being tested in Argentina.

Fuel Tank Redesign

For many trucks, the design and placement of the fuel tank poses a serious risk. The current system is dangerous, exposing the tank to oncoming vehicles and highway structures. The tank is mounted outside of the truck, with minimal improvements performed over the last 50 years. There have been hundreds of burn injuries and fatalities caused by heavy truck crashes every year. A former automotive structures and heavy truck design engineer came up with an idea for improvement. By reducing the exposure of the fuel tank, there would be an increased distance between the fuel tank and other vehicles, stronger puncture resistance and protective barriers. While modifications to the design haven’t been standardized, efforts are being made to require a higher level of safety in this area.

Representing Your Rights & Fighting for Your Safety. Arnold & Itkin.

The safety of the public is at risk when outdated trucks are allowed on the road. With the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck accidents, individuals need to continually advocate for safer designs. While drivers and employers must be held responsible for driving dangerously, improved truck designs could greatly reduce the risk of accidents.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, Arnold & Itkin has the resources to help. Our Houston truck accident attorneys will fight for your case. Contact us today to start pursuing just compensation.

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