American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have together written to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking the agency to begin researching how standards for crashworthiness for heavy trucks could benefit professional truck drivers.
“NHTSA has continuously developed crashworthiness standards for automobiles and light trucks, but to date has generally not applied crashworthiness standards to commercial trucks,” the two groups wrote in 6 letter dated Monday to NHTSA chief David Strickland.
“We believe there may be opportunities to enhance the survivability of professional truck drivers if appropriate, research-based, uniform standards are developed,” the groups wrote
Specifically, ATA and OOIDA highlighted the need for improving cab structure and occupant restraints such as safety belts and airbags, strengthening windshields and doors to prevent occupant ejections and installing more forgiving interior surfaces.
“Making our highways safer, especially for our drivers, is one of ATA’s highest priorities,” said ATA President Bill Graves. The trucking group “has made setting crashworthiness standards a part of our progressive safety agenda and we’re proud to stand with OOIDA in calling on the federal government to take these important first steps that will reduce injuries and fatalities among America’s professional truck drivers.”
OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said his group was “more than glad to join ATA in making this request to hold the safety of professional truck drivers to as high a standard as all other motor vehicle users. The most valuable, even most precious, cargo truckers haul is themselves and it’s time that our standards reflect that value.”