A Lowndesboro, Ala., man, Jerry Albritton, was unfortunately killed when the log truck he was driving overturned in Lowndes County Monday afternoon. According to the Alabama Highway Patrol, Mr. Albritton was killed when the 1988 Mack log truck he was driving on Lowndes Road 7 left the roadway in a curve and overturned.
This tragic accident underscores the need to protect tractor-trailer drivers better. Unlike smaller cars, trucks, and SUVs, tractor-trailer manufactures are not required to design these heavy trucks to the same standards used to protect occupants in crashes. As a result, many of these trucks are wholly incapable of providing even a minimum amount of protection to the occupants in certain types of accidents.
These trucks many times have particularly weak roofs. Smaller passenger-vehicle roofs must be made to provide a minimum amount of protection from crashing down on the occupants by requiring that the roofs withhold three times the weight of the vehicle in the event it rolls over. Tractor-trailer truck roofs, on the other hand, can easily crush under the weight of the vehicle. Simple reinforcements to the roof can keep drivers safe from a crushing roof in the event a tractor-trailer rolls over.
Another protection for trucks is called cab guards or headache racks. These guards are used on flat-bed trailers and log trucks. Cab guards are designed to prevent shifting cargo or logs from encroaching into the cab of the tractor-trailer. Many cab guards are designed from heat-treated aluminum. This design results in the weakening of the cab guard over time. This hazard can be unknown to the driver. A better protection is to make these cab guards out of more substantial materials such as steel or use thicker gauge aluminum.