Monster truck shows or rallies are entertainment events at which large trucks perform stunts for the amusement of an audience. The drivers of these trucks are highly trained stunt drivers. In most cases, rallies are simply fun events at which families have a fun time. However, in some cases monster truck rallies turn deadly and claim the life of drivers or audience members when trucks collide.
Although monster truck accidents are not as common as other kinds of trucking accidents, they do occur. In June 2009, a six-year-old Tacoma boy was killed after being struck by debris at a Monster Truck show. In 2007, nine people sustained personal injury at an Illinois. monster truck show when two trucks collided. In 1999, two separate monster truck accidents claimed the life of one man and injured three others, including two children.
Monster truck accidents are often tragic because they often involve children and teenagers and lead to injuries to children and minors. In many cases, injuries and fatalities at monster truck rallies take place when monster trucks lose control and crash. When this occurs, flying debris can sometimes fly from the performance area and into the stands, injuring or killing audience members.
When this occurs, eye injuries, broken bones, and head injuries are often the result. Children are especially vulnerable because of their smaller size. Some of the flying debris from a monster truck show can be quite large and flies with enough force to seriously injure audience members. In some cases, debris may be on fire and may cause burn injuries. As well, the drivers of trucks in such shows may be injured and may sustain broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and other serious injuries as a result of a monster truck accident.
Monster truck shows first became popular in the 1970s, when drivers and promoters would modify pickup trucks, adding high wheels and other custom features to create large trucks. These early trucks were powerful but often unstable, and frequently resulted in rollover accidents and audience accidents as well. Since then, monster truck events have become a major industry and some safety protocols have been added to make these events safer.
Today, monster truck chassis are custom designed to offer the trucks more stability and to create safer trucks. As well, monster tricks today feature special axles (usually from heavy duty trucks), four-link suspensions, custom-designed transmissions, and hydraulic steering, all of which improve stability, response times, and the driver’s control of the truck. If a monster truck driver loses control of a vehicle, the truck has three kill switches. Trucks today are also equipped with a Remote Ignition Interrupter and switches which help the truck shut off in the event of an accident or rollover. Many parts are strapped to the truck to prevent flying debris in the event of a collision and drivers are protected with a Lexan-plated cab. Regulations at most truck shows require drivers to wear head restraints, fire suits, helmets, neck restrains, and special harnesses. These protect against burn injuries, neck and back injuries, and head injuries in the event of a crash. Opponents point out that in spite of these safety features both drivers and audience members continue to experience personal injuries at monster truck rallies and shows.