ATA, OOIDA seek heavy truck crashworthiness standards

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The American Trucking Associations and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association on Wednesday, June 8, called on the federal government to begin researching how standards for crashworthiness for heavy trucks could benefit America’s 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 a June 6 letter to David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “We believe there may be opportunities to enhance the survivability of professional truck drivers if appropriate, research-based uniform standards are developed.”

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. “Our organizations believe that improvements in truck occupant safety can be achieved,” the letter concluded. “We look forward to working with NHTSA on this and other important highway safety efforts.”

“Making our highways safer, especially for our drivers, is one of ATA’s highest priorities,” says Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “ATA 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.”

Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president, says his group is “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.”