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Single-unit trucks draw scrutiny, safety proposals from NHTSA

Many people contemplating truck accidents understandably think about the truly big rigs that ply state and national roadways. Collisions involving trucks such as colossal tractor-trailers often -- and for obvious reasons -- leave a catastrophic trail of consequences in their wake.

To some degree, though, all trucks share similar characteristics that render them comparatively large risks on streets and highways. Drivers of 18-wheel rigs and so-called "single-unit trucks" alike don't see the traffic around them as well as drivers in smaller passenger vehicles do. On the Commercial Vehicle Accident page of our website at the Sacramento law firm of Eliot Reiner, APLC, we note the "poor sightlines" that up the odds of an accident for commercial trucks.

And it is actually single-unit trucks -- defined as those weighing at least 10,000 pounds and not having a trailer -- that are involved in high numbers of crashes in California and across the country daily. Our website notes those trucks, which include vehicles such as UPS and Fed Ex delivery vehicles.

As noted in a recent media piece on truck accident risks and safety strategies, federal regulators have for some time been duly focused upon single-unit trucks. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a rulemaking proposal that offers safety recommendations germane to those vehicles.

One proposal stresses the importance of outfitting single-unit trucks with rear-impact guards that will prevent drivers of smaller vehicles who strike a truck from behind from being swept beneath the vehicle. The NHTSA also recommends that single-unit vehicles be rendered more visible to trailing drivers and motorists in adjacent lanes through the simple act of affixing reflective tape to their rear and sides.

The proposals are merely an advance notice that will be followed by more definitive NHTSA rulemaking language following a public comment period.

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