According to a report published recently by Volvo Trucks, 90% of trucking accidents result from human error. Volvo’s report is aimed at identifying what causes trucking accidents and how the risk of such accidents can be reduced. Volvo Trucks’ Traffic and Product Safety Director, Carl Johan Almqvist stated that trucking accidents occur most commonly when drivers of vehicles involved in accidents misjudge their speed or are inattentive.
This analysis comes as no surprise to American motorists as the news is full of stories of semi accidents in which human error is to blame. On February 4, a semi driver was charged with failure to yield the right of way. As a result of the driver’s error, a BMW was hit by the trailer, pushed into a ditch, and the BMW became trapped under the tractor-trailer. The semi driver was uninjured but the driver of the BMW had to be removed from the car with spreaders and cutters and, other than to say she was alert and oriented when transported, a statement about her injuries was not made.
In another February accident, while trying to pass, a semi clipped a horse trailer with two cows in it being pulled by a truck. The truck and horse trailer went into a ditch and rolled. The driver suffered minor injuries but the passenger was ejected from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries. The semi jackknifed onto the interstate but the trucker was not injured. He did, however, receive a citation for reckless driving. Apparently, the cows were unharmed.
Volvo’s report includes causes for accidents, descriptions of what accidents look like, analysis of accident types, and analysis of actions that can be taken to improve highway safety. But Volvo Trucks’ dedication to safety doesn’t stop at analysis. Almqvist also stated, “We have further enhanced safety levels in our latest truck models with a range of support systems that improve visibility, alert the driver or focus the driver’s attention if something is not right. As long as people are injured in road accidents, we will continue to pursue higher safety levels. Firstly by making our trucks safer for drivers and other road users, and secondly by spreading know-how and by impacting patterns of behaviour.” While Volvo Trucks’ attempts to increase highway safety are admirable, as a European trucking company, one must wonder what American trucking companies are doing to increase highway safety and reduce incidents of trucking accidents.