Commercial trucking companies are installing simple amber strobe lights on the back of their trailers to prevent rear-end collisions by following motorists.
A Simple Solution to Prevent Rear-End Collisions
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucks are involved in about 400,000 motor vehicle crashes every year. At least 18% of these are rear-end collisions. Many of these collisions occur when a motor vehicle following the truck suddenly crashes into the back of the truck’s trailer as the truck slows down or comes to a stop.
FMCSA accident reports show that a large percentage of car-to-truck rear-end crashes are caused by poor visibility, excessive speed, and distracted or complacent motorists. Large, commercial trucks traveling on highways and rural routes may be harder to see due to nighttime driving, dim roadside lighting, high speeds, and inclement weather conditions. If a truck slows down or begins to brake, a following motorist may not see the truck’s brake lights in time to reduce speed or come to a stop.
To increase visibility and prevent rear-end collisions, Groendyke Transport, an Oklahoma-based truck carrier, installed off-the-shelf amber-colored strobe lights on 900 tanker trucks. These inexpensive, but highly-visible lights reduced rear-end collisions by as much as 34%. They also eliminated rear-end collisions with HAZMAT trucks at railroad crossings. Following motorists who may be drowsy, distracted, or complacent behind the wheel are quickly alerted to the truck’s presence by flashing amber lights mounted at eye level or higher on the trailer.
Due to the large size and heavy weight of commercial trucks, rear-end collisions often result in fatalities to motorists. The outcome for a driver and passengers in a vehicle crashing into the rear of an 80,000-pound truck is grim. Even at slower speeds, truck accident lawyers see severe and fatal injuries, especially if the car slides under the truck or crashes into a fuel tanker. If an occupant survives the crash, he or she may suffer significant injuries and disabilities caused by crushed or amputated limbs, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Currently, the FMCSA prohibits the use of anything other than a steady burning red brake light on commercial trucks. However, Groendyke Transport has shown that affordable, easy to install, flashing amber lights may be a safer solution to prevent motor vehicles from crashing into the rear of large, commercial trucks.