I read this article by a journalist in the trucking world not too long after I became a reluctant safety advocate after my daughters died in a truck crash. It was worth a read.
This is what Tom Berg observed many years ago:
“. . . in 1998 came a requirement for ‘rear-impact guards’ that absorb some of the collision forces. Each trailer maker designed its own, which complicated repair costs because instead of replacing a damaged member by welding on a piece of channel iron, specific parts had to be found and bolted into place.
“Managers’ fears of greater expense were borne out, in repairs as well as initial added cost to trailers. Two or three hundred bucks is not a lot to add to the price of a $10,000 or $15,000 trailer, unless you run 500 or 1,000 or 5,000 trailers, especially at a time when everything in trucking was going up in price. Managers have a point.
“About 25 years ago, when I first started hearing about bumpers in those meetings, I noticed a hard-heartedness among fleet managers: If a motorist is stupid or drunk or drugged enough to rear-end my trailer, should I have to worry about what happens to him?
“A lot of people say yes, for several reasons. . . Know what? I agree with those safety people. Because in 1973 I heard about a guy who was killed when he underrode a semi. . .
“. . . many fleet managers now seem enlightened and see public safety as a responsibility.”
Note: I hope that public safety is perceived as a responsibility related to Single Unit Trucks as well–http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fleet-management/news/story/2015/07/nhtsa-initiates-upgrade-of-truck-underride-and-conspicuity-rules.aspx.