This paper provides an overview of the current state of knowledge on medium and heavy truck safety and reviews the results of truck safety research sponsored by the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association.
A number of issues have been raised about the accident experience of trucks, and the injuries and fatalities sustained by occupants. The diverse viewpoints and perceptions which exist on the reasons for these accidents and what countermeasures should be taken are reviewed.
The evolutionary nature of truck accident research is presented, pointing out that sufficient detailed accident and injury data are lacking. Corresponding information on truck configuration, size, weight and exposure data remain inadequate. The role of the vehicle, driver, and highway environment in accident causation must be known and methods to achieve this goal are examined.
Despite these limitations, there is progress in understanding the causes of truck accidents. MVMA-sponsored studies, including those which led to identification of “conspicuity” as an accident avoidance measure, are reviewed. Finally, recommendations for a comprehensive heavy truck accident causation study are presented.