The results of this study are concerning, and ATA and its members will be taking a very close look at IIHS's recommendations. ATA's members are always interested in finding ways to improve highway safety, but as we continue to digest IIHS's findings, we won't be taking a formal position on their recommendation. Since the study was published, a number of leading trailer manufacturers have told us that for the most part, they are building their new trailers to the Canadian standard already. However the average lifespan of a trailer is roughly 10 years, so any change in federal standard wouldn't go into effect for quite some time.
In the meantime, we prefer to focus our efforts on preventing these kinds of accidents, provide adequate truck parking facilities off the highway, more driver education on sharing the road with trucks, and providing collision avoidance technology in both cars and trucks for starters.
From the Large Truck Crash Causation Study - a report by the US Department of Transportation - 36.1% of all truck-involved crashes involve a single truck and a single car. Of those crashes, 56% of the time the critical reason for the crash was assigned to the passenger vehicle. Other similar studies show that as many as three in four fatalities involving cars and trucks are unintentionally caused by the driver of the car. That's why we believe education for all drivers are a critical component of improving highway safety and we think programs like our Share the Road initiative play a key role in that.
ATA is continually out at schools and other public venues with our Share the Road program talking about the importance of safely driving around large trucks. A lot of this education focuses on safe following distances and its important to leave a safety cushion of 20 to 25 car lengths (240 to 300 feet) in order to react should the truck need to stop quickly.
In addition to education, ATA also has endorsed an 18-point Safety Agenda that includes items like reducing speeds, increasing the use of seat belts, promotion of car-truck behavior improvement programs, the setting of new truck crashworthiness standards and expanding the availability of safe truck parking.
Vice President of Communications &Press Secretary