1.  Seat Belts
2.  Drowsy Driving
3.  Distracted Driving
4.  Aggressive Driving/Road Rage
5.  Motorcycle Safety
6.  Impaired Driving
7.  Novice Drivers
8.  School Bus Safety
9.  Airbags
10.  Railway Safety
11.  Trucks
12.  Motor Vehicles
  1. AAA Delegates Urge Truck Safety, Graduated Licensing, More
  2. Kids Aren't Cargo
  3. Truck Drivers Still Top List In Lost Work Time Statistics
  4. Truck Crash Facts

AAA Delegates Urge Truck Safety, Graduated Licensing, More

The American Automobile Association (AAA) held its 96th Annual Meeting in San Diego at the end of April. Delegates focused on truck safety, graduated licenses, drowsy driving, and other issues.

In 1999-2000, AAA will make truck safety a priority. "We will look at all the various studies on truck safety and the impact of big trucks on the nation's highways to see what information is missing. We need new and better data to help us focus on the real problems," said Fred Gruel, president and CEO of the New Jersey AAA and chairman of AAA's Public and Government Relations Committee.

In testimony before Congress, AAA recently proposed a comprehensive study of truck-car crashes to help safety officials take a better aim at real truck safety problems, rather than continuing to guess at what will work. AAA is concerned with the impact of trucks on the safety of motorists. As a result, it supports revisions to hours-of-service regulations and increased use of Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking by the trucking industry.

Delegates believe hours-of-service regulations need a scientific as is that stresses sleep, rest, and operating hours factors and which promotes the ability to drive safely. The expanded use of GPS tracking will allow the trucking industry to more accurately monitor the hours truck drivers are behind the wheel, according to AAA delegates.

In addition, AAA asked the Department of Transportation to be prudent when granting exemptions and waivers from truck safety regulations and in authorizing pilot programs. The safety of the motoring public must be the overriding factor in considering these requests, according to the association.

Other Delegate Concerns

At the meeting, AAA also encouraged 21 states to pass graduated driver licensing (GDL). Currently, 29 states have some form of GDL on the books, due in part to the AAA Licensed to Learn: A Safety Program for New Drivers campaign. Delegates believe the 21 states are granting unrestricted driving privileges to teenage drivers before they have safe driving skills, values, and attitudes.

AAA also urged DOT and the safety community to develop materials to educate motorists about the safety hazards of driving without adequate sleep, appropriate rest breaks, and countermeasures to reduce drowsy driving crashes.

Delegates want federal and state transportation departments to conduct rigorous evaluations of highway rest areas for their usefulness and safety. In addition AAA called on government officials to conduct research on the effectiveness of onboard drowsiness detection monitoring devices. Estimates conclude that drowsy driving accounts for 10 to 15 percent of motorist fatalities.

AAA is nonprofit with 91 clubs providing nearly 42 million members throughout the United States and Canada with travel, financial, insurance, and auto-related services.

This document was last updated on May 27, 1999.

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Child Passengers at Risk in Pickup Trucks

Trucks are increasingly becoming a popular form of transportation for family travel. Occupant protection inside the cab is limited by a number of factors: space, number of safety belts, and the fact that pickup trucks are not required to meet all passenger car safety standards. Space limitations often lead drivers and/or parents to allow children to ride in the cargo area.

Are Extended Cabs a Safe Option for Children?

Parents should be aware that these rear seats may not serve their children well. Child restraints are designed for use on forward-facing seats and are not suitable for jumpseats. Jumpseats are too small to support the bases of most child restraints.
The bench seat may not be wide enough to support a child restraint and there may not be enough room between the front and back seats to allow for the expected forward movement of a child’s head in a crash

The Facts

  • The cargo area of a pickup truck, with or without a canopy, has proven to be a source of injuries and death to children and adults. A Washington state study found a fatality risk 10.4 times higher for persons riding in cargo areas than the risk to the general population of people involved in collisions.
  • Ejection from the cargo area during a collision was the major cause of injury and death for pickup truck passengers.
  • Most noncollision deaths were caused by falls due to swerving, braking or rough roads. In one-third of these cases, the victim was standing up, sitting on the tail-gate or "horsing around."
  • Over two hundred deaths per year occur to persons riding in pickup cargo beds. More than half the deaths are children and teenagers.
  • Children in covered cargo beds are exposed to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust fumes.
Close the Gaps in Child Passenger Safety Laws
  • Upgrade laws to eliminate exemptions.
  • Cover all children under the age of 16.
  • Include all vehicles equipped with safety belts.
  • Allow passengers to ride only in seating areas equipped with safety belts.
  • Prohibit all passengers from riding in the cargo areas of pickup trucks.

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Truck Crash Facts

In 1997, the last year for which complete statistics are available, there were 444,000 truck crashes in the United States resulting in 5,355 fatalities and 133,000 injuries:

  • One out of eight traffic fatalities in 1997 resulted from a collision involving a large truck.
  • When trucks and cars collided, 98% of the deaths were to car occupants.
  • 717 truck drivers were killed on the job in 1997, making truck driving one of the most dangerous occupations in the country, a dramatic 16 percent increase in truck occupant fatalities!

From Citizens for Reliable & Safe Highways (CRASH)

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Truck Drivers Still Top List In Lost Work Time Statistics

In 1997, private industry workplaces reported 1.8 million injuries and illnesses that required recuperation away from work, according to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. These types of cases have declined in all occupations from 1993 through 1997, but for the past five years truck drivers have experienced the highest number of injuries and illnesses.

Truck drivers had the highest median days away from work (nine days) in 1997, followed by carpenters, plumbers and pipe fitters, public transportation attendants, and butchers and meat cutters (each with eight days). Median days away from work were highest for carpal tunnel syndrome (25 days), fractures (21 days), and amputations (18 days).

As in the previous four years, four out of 10 injuries in 1997 were sprains or strains, most often involving the back. The number of sprains or strains reported decreased 17 percent in 1993-97.

A particular source of injury or illness did not stand out in the survey, but the following three each had nearly 15 percent of the total: floors and other surfaces, worker motion or position, and containers.

In 1997, there were 86,900 cases classified as illnesses. Some conditions, such as long-term latent illnesses caused by exposure to carcinogens, are often difficult to relate to the workplace and are not adequately recognized and reported.

According to the survey, men accounted for two out of three of the 1.8 million cases. Workers aged 19 and under accounted for 3 percent of the cases and 6 percent of employment; workers aged 25 to 44 accounted for 57 percent of the cases and 53 percent of employment; and workers 45 years old and older accounted for 26 percent of the cases and 30 percent of employment.

Nearly seven out of 10 workers had at least one year of service with their employer when they sustained their injury of illness. Over one-quarter had over five years of service, suggesting that many experienced workers incur lost work time injuries.

For more information, call the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (202) 606-6170.

This document was last updated on May 27, 1999.

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