American Trucking Associations and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association together called on the federal government to begin researching standards for crashworthiness for heavy trucks.

"NHTSA has continuously developed crashworthiness standards for automobiles and light trucks, but to date has generally not applied crashworthiness standards to commercial trucks," the two groups wrote in a June 6 letter to David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "We believe there may be opportunities to enhance the survivability of professional truck drivers if appropriate, research-based, uniform standards are developed."

†he groups particularly pointed to rollover crashes, noting they account for approximately 63 percent of fatal injuries to truck occupants. The letter said it is estimated that an annual reduction in fatalities of approximately 23 percent is possible if cab structural integrity can be improved sufficiently to prevent crushing in rollover.

Specifically, ATA and OOIDA highlighted the need for improving cab structure and occupant restraints such as safety belts and airbags, strengthening windshields and doors to prevent occupant ejections, and installing more forgiving interior surfaces.

The letter noted that there are industry standards that original truck equipment manufacturers follow, and said NHTSA's research should also consider the merits of existing industry-driven standards and testing.

European truck maker Volvo conducts crash testing; see this YouTube video of a rollover test, where one of the crash test dummies is ejected from the cab: