Roughly 500,000 accidents involving commercial trucking companies occur every year in the United States. Of these accidents, approximately 100,000 result in serious injuries and nearly 5,000 result in fatalities. In two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck, ninety eight percent the aforementioned fatalities were the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
With trucking revenues estimated to double by 2015, the numbers of trucks on the road are only expected to rise. As a result, increased emphasis has been placed on highway safety with regard to commercial trucking companies. While many efforts have made to regulate truck sizes and weights, establish maximum hours of service, and reduce distracted driving, injury and fatality statistics remain staggering.
While the trucking industry has changed drastically over the last fifty years, the conventional diesel fuel tank of many heavy trucks remains a relic of days gone by. Mounted along each side of the tractor, a tractor-trailer’s fuel tank is as exposed to the dangers of the road as any bumper or fender. Carrying one hundred gallons or more of volatile diesel fuel in an exposed aluminum container that is easily split open if hit by another vehicle is not a good idea. The basic concept of relocating the fuel tanks inboard so that they are less exposed and are shielded from potential damage due to collision or ground contact is a better design.
With the number of accidents involving large commercial trucks at an all time high and trending upward, it is due time that we start looking outside the box in search of ways to improve the commercial trucking industry and create safer highways.