Truck Involved Crash Study - Report on fatal and injury crashes of cars into the rear of trucks

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #26 - 1991

Authors: G. Rechnitzer & C. Foong

Full report in pdf format [5 MB]


The study was aimed at clearly establishing the most influential factors contributing to the high level of fatalities and serious injuries arising from crashes involving trucks and other road users and identifying the most effective and practical countermeasures that can be incorporated into the truck design, to reduce the severity of injuries in crashes involving cars, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.

The study involved three components: literature review of past studies on truck involved crashes and comparison of international and Australian Design Standards; detailed investigation of actual crashes involving trucks and other road users; countermeasure development involving identification of design changes to trucks to help reduce their injury potential in collisions.

Detailed investigations were carried out on 45 crashes, including both fatal and hospital admission cases, with 19 of these crashes involving 25 fatalities. Detailed injury information was obtained for each case from coronial autopsy reports or from hospital records. This data was used together with the detailed vehicle inspections to ascertain injury sources and the characteristics of truck involved crashes.

This report is in two parts: the first provides initial findings in regard to the design of trucks which results in their greater harm potential compared with other crash types; the second details the findings in regard to the rear design of trucks and the issue of rear under-run protection. Recommendations are given for countermeasure development for rear under-run crashes, with specific design recommendations for rear under-run barriers regarding height and load capacity.

Further work is being carried out on the design and testing of prototype under-run barriers for rigid trucks and articulated vehicles. The reports on the frontal and side design of trucks are being prepared.

Sponsor: VicRoads