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Straight Truck Crash Data

Just days after ATRI released a study aboutstraight truck crashes being on the rise compared to heavy duty trucks, the National Transportation Safety Board suggested that the government look into extending the CDL down into lower classes of trucks, such as straight trucks and medium-duty trucks. The recommendations — which is all the NTSB can do — follows new straight truck crash data that shows smaller trucks are responsible for a disproportionately large number of traffic deaths.

"These trucks are ubiquitous in our communities, yet they are exempted from many safety rules. We must do better for our citizens," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman. "Crashes involving single-unit trucks resulted in about 1,800 deaths each year during 2005-2009 and also caused thousands of injuries."


The highlights of the study, which can be found at, were:

  • Single-unit trucks were involved in a disproportionate number of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multi-vehicle crashes.
  • Single-unit truck crashes have a considerable impact on society, as measured by fatalities, injuries, hospitalizations and emergency department visits.
  • Single-unit trucks should be subject to certain vehicle safety rules applicable to tractor-trailers, including requirements for rear underride guards and treatments to enhance conspicuity.
  • Additional vehicle-based countermeasures are needed to protect occupants of passenger vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists involved in single-unit truck crashes, including side underride protection systems and technology to compensate for single-unit truck blind spots.
  • Adverse effects of single-unit truck crashes have been underestimated in the past because these trucks are frequently misclassified and therefore undercounted in federal and state databases.
  • Multiple data sources are needed to get an accurate picture of large truck safety, including two sources, Trucks in Fatal Accidents and state Crash Outcome Data Evaluation Systems, that are scheduled to be discontinued.

While the full report has not yet been released, a summary is on the NTSB website.

Coming on the heels on the ATRI study, there seems to be mounting pressure to focus the government's safety attention on smaller trucks.

This straight truck crash data underlines why training for drivers is so critical, and why Pro-TREAD medium-duty truck training is garnering lots of attention from fleets.

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