Truck Involved Crash Study: Fatal and Injury Crashes of Cars and Other Road Users with the Front and Sides of Heavy Vehicles

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #35 - 1993

Author: G. Rechnitzer

Full report in .pdf format [123MB (sorry lots of images)]


The objectives of this project were to clearly establish the causal factors contributing to the high level of fatalities and serious injuries arising from crashes involving heavy vehicles (RV) and other road users and to identify possible countermeasures. The issue of injury to HV occupants was beyond the scope of this study. In Europe truck involved crashes make up an estimated 25% (13,000 fatalities per annum) of all road deaths, while the corresponding figure in Australia is 18%. Of these, 80% are "other road users".

This report details the findings and recommendations regarding collisions of cars and other road users with the front and side structures of heavy vehicles. The first project report covered crashes involving the rear of heavy vehicles.

This study has included a detailed literature review and detailed investigations of over 52 crashes involving 45 fatalities, including crashes of trams and buses with cars.

The study has identified that design changes are both feasible and effective, and that the frontal, side, and rear design of trucks can be significantly improved to reduce the harm potential in crashes involving other road users. This is in line with European findings which countered commonly held notions maintaining that the main problem was the mass of the HV - a factor which was not readily amenable to change.

Recommendations for improvements to the design of trucks, trams and buses are made. Australia currently has few regulations dealing with the three major areas of concern on truck design: frontal aggressiveness, side underrun, and rear underrun.

Overall, the improvements to the frontal and side design of heavy vehicles in Australia would lead to estimated annual savings in the order of 60 lives, and a 28 % reduction in injury severity for crashes involving HVs.

Sponsor: VicRoads