The National Transportation Systems Center reports that nearly half of bicyclists and more than one-quarter of pedestrians that are killed by large trucks hit the side of the truck first. A large portion of these fatalities could be prevented if the truck were equipped with side guards. Truck side guards are vehicle-based safety devices that cover the exposed space between the vehicles’ front and rear wheels. Covering this area provides a shield in this area, to prevent someone being swept underneath the truck’s rear wheels during an accident.
In addition to the obvious safety advantages of side guards, implementation could also lead to a decrease in the amount of fuel consumed by the truck. A product known as side skirts can increase fuel efficiency by 4 to 7 percent, resulting in an estimated annual fuel savings reaching $5,000 for a long-haul tractor trailer depending on mileage and speed. The technology and architecture of side guards and side skirts are very similar. Doesn’t this seem like a win/win solution for road safety and trucking companies?
Side guards are currently required equipment in the European Union, Japan, and Brazil. There has been limited adoption in the United States. Municipal truck fleets in Portland, OR, Washington, DC, Boston, Cambridge, and New York City have recently adopted the new technology. To learn more information about spreading the adoption of this product to help save lives, please click here.