Truck manufacturers have successfully lobbied to keep roof crash standards, required for passenger cars, from applying to the cabs of tractors. The light weight cabs made by some in the trucking manufacturing industry have long been known to put driver’s lives at risk. Trucking companies buy these cabs on the simple math of less weight equaling lower fuel costs, resulting in greater profits for the trucking company. Thus there is a rush to the bottom by cab manufacturers who ignore safety of the driver for greater profits for the trucking company. Simple and common safety improvements such as adding a roll cage, or strengthening the cab roof support structure, would cost only a few dollars and would reduce fuel efficiency by a minuscule amount. Because of this I would have thought that cabs would have soon been made stronger in America. In fact I have previously posted on the need for roof crush standards in the US. I was surprised to see that instead of making cabs safer, Volvo and Daimler were planning on cutting additional steel from the cabs of the tractor trailers they manufactured. In fact the folks at Daimler (who also own Frieghtliner) made no bones about cutting out steel in the cabs they make.

According to Transportation Topics, a trucking industry magazine, Kathrin Fritz (a Daimler spokeswoman at the the corporate headquarters in Germany) stated that Daimler would be offering weight saving features such as more aluminum in the cabs. Aluminum cabs are shunned in Europe for cost and crash worthiness reasons. (See generally: Transportation Topics, Equipment and Maintenance Update, November/December 2009, Page 12)

Crash worthiness is the ability of the cab to help a driver to survive a wreck. Using aluminum, while resulting in a lighter cab, would result in more drivers getting killed in wrecks as the cab would not be as strong as a steel cab and would be unable to protect the driver as well. I urge the NTSB to take a look at this issue and protect truck drivers by mandating a stronger cab. Cab crush is the leading cause of truck driver deaths in the United States according to studies and something needs to be done before the whole cab is replaced with plastic. 

 The Truck Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Morgan Adams concentrate in protecting the rights of those who were seriously injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a commercial truck or bus. Our lawyers are based in Tennessee, but serve clients throughout the nation. If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt by a careless driver, don’t sign anything the trucking company gives you — contact us as soon as possible at 866-580-4878 or by email to learn more at a free, confidential consultation.

 Morgan Adams is a trial attorney licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. He is listed as a "Mid-South SuperLawyer" (Limited to the top 5% of the lawyers in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas), is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (limited to lawyers who have recovered 1 million dollars or more for their clients), and is the Chair of the American Association of Justice’s Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. He has served as chair of the Tennessee Association of Justice’s Trucking Litigation seminars since 2004, and is a frequent speaker at national legal education programs, training lawyers to properly handle injury cases involving commercial vehicles.