AAA: Light Vehicles and Heavy Trucks Should Look Out for Each Other

Passenger vehicles and heavy trucks are partners in traffic safety

BOISE – (September 27, 2017) – Commercial trucks and light vehicles have a mutual responsibility to safely share the road, and a combination of new vehicle technology and safe driving habits could significantly improve the partnership, says AAA.

“It has long been AAA’s belief that passenger vehicles and commercial trucks should each do their part to take care of the roads and each other,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “Heavy trucks play an essential role in moving goods across the country, and motorists in light vehicles provide the labor force to get things done.  Both functions are extremely important.”


AAA reminds motorists to observe the following safety basics when traveling near a large truck:

Be aware of the truck’s blind spots or “no-zones.”  If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side view mirror, the truck driver probably can’t see you.

If you stop behind a truck on a hill, leave extra room.  Trucks may roll back as the driver releases the brake pedal.

Avoid speeding up when a truck is passing.  Slow down, and give the truck plenty of room to pass.

As with other vehicles, maintain a safe following distance.

Provide plenty of room for a truck that is signaling to change lanes.


“It all comes back to basic courtesy,” Conde said. “Commercial vehicles need plenty of room to maneuver, and other drivers should be considerate of that.”


Truck tech can improve safety

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently completed a cost-benefit analysis for installing four advanced safety technologies – lane departure systems, automatic emergency braking, air disc brakes, and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems – in large commercial trucks.

Based on the study, installation of lane departure systems on all new and existing trucks could prevent up to 6,372 crashes, 1,342 injuries and 115 deaths each year. Under the same conditions, comprehensive video-based safety monitoring systems could prevent as many as 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths each year.

Due to the complexity of retrofitting trucks with automatic emergency braking systems or air disc brakes, these technologies would be better suited for new trucks. In that scenario, the societal benefits could outweigh the costs involved.

“Similar to proven technologies in passenger vehicles, AAA recommends that trucks incorporate as many cost-effective safety features as possible,” Conde said. “If people and products are moving safely and efficiently on American roadways, it’s a win for everyone.”

On the national level, AAA works closely with the trucking industry, government agencies and safety organizations to help keep all drivers safe behind the wheel.

“Commercial vehicles and light vehicles are partners in keeping our economy strong,” Conde said. “If everyone takes a proactive approach, the data shows that we’ll keep traffic safety heading in the right direction.”