Honorable Deborah Hersman, NTSB Board Member

Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman
National Transportation Safety Board
Opening Remarks
Safety Study: Characteristics of Single-Unit Truck Accidents Resulting in Injuries and Deaths
Washington, DC — June 4, 2013
(As Prepared for Delivery)


Good morning. Welcome to the Boardroom of the National Transportation Safety Board. I am Debbie Hersman, and it is my privilege to serve as Chairman of the NTSB. Joining me are my fellow Board members: Vice Chairman Christopher Hart, Member Robert Sumwalt, Member Mark Rosekind, and Member Earl Weener.

Today, we meet in open session, as required by the Government in the Sunshine Act, to consider a Safety Study that looks at crashes involving single-unit trucks.

Single-unit trucks are ubiquitous. They are garbage trucks, cement mixers and home fuel oil trucks. They are dump trucks, delivery vans and utility trucks. They are furniture trucks, moving vans, tow trucks and so many more. They may just blend into the landscape as you walk or bike or drive in your community.

There are more than 8.2 million single-unit trucks registered in the United States. They represent more than three-fourths of all large trucks.

Unlike their larger brethren, tractor-trailer trucks, much of their travel is not on interstates, but rather on our city and residential streets. And, as we’ll learn about today, it’s important to take action to make these trucks safer.

Today, we will hear in detail about the safety record of single-unit trucks, including both fatalities and injuries. We will learn how they are involved in a large number of fatalities. Each year, during 2005-2009, an average of 1,800 people died in single-unit truck crashes. Thousands more were injured, many with serious injuries. Among those killed and injured were our most vulnerable road users: pedestrians and cyclists. Of crashes involving large trucks, single-unit truck crashes resulted in nearly one-half of the serious injuries and hospitalizations.

And, while the larger tractor-trailer trucks must meet a number of safety rules, single-unit trucks are excluded from some important safety rules.

We should not accept the status quo. The safety of single-unit trucks can be improved. Let’s hear what our safety study team found about the public health impact of single-unit truck crashes and then see what we can recommend to help prevent these crashes to save lives and prevent needless injuries.

Dr. Mayer, will you please introduce the staff.