JULY 2015
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Large Trucks

It's hard not to be intimidated when encountering a large truck on our Nation's roadways. Large trucks are heavy and completely outsize most other road users, including drivers and occupants of passenger cars, vans, pickup trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and pedestrians and bicyclists. It's important for all drivers and pedestrians to learn how large trucks operate–including their safety equipment–so everyone can be safer around these large vehicles.

In 2013, an estimated 326,000 crashes involved large trucks. In 69,000 of those crashes someone was injured and in over 3,500 of the crashes, someone died. In fact, 3,964 people died on our roads in crashes involving large trucks in 2013. The majority of those who died (2,834 people) were the occupants of other vehicles, many times a smaller passenger vehicle, involved in a large-truck crash. That's not to say, however, that the drivers and passengers of large trucks are not also in danger (691 fatalities were large-truck occupants).

Large trucks don't operate the same way that passenger vehicles operate. Among their many differences, they have different braking systems and longer stopping distances, have a larger turning radius, have larger blind spots, and have more tires and axles - all of which affect their mobility, speed, and operation. As important as it is for large-truck drivers to understand their own vehicles and receive appropriate training and licensing, it is also important for other road users to understand how to properly maneuver around large trucks.

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