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Groups push for safety tech on trucks as fatal crashes rise

Collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles can end in serious injuries or death. In fact, the number of large truck crash fatalities has gone up 28 percent from 2009 to 2017 with 4,102 fatalities in the latter year. Of those fatalities, 68 percent were car occupants, and 14 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. Truckers in Pennsylvania may know that safety tech has been proposed as an answer to the trend.

In particular, many truck safety groups are pushing for a federal mandate requiring all heavy trucks to have forward collision warning and mitigation technology. These systems, along with automatic emergency braking, can be effective in preventing thousands of rear-end accidents. However, the trucking industry is staggering behind the automobile industry in terms of technological advancements.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration create such a mandate as the one described above. On at least 10 different occasions since the 1990s, the NTSB made this recommendation. Nevertheless, the NHTSA has not proposed a regulation of its own.

The NHTSA did study early forward collision warning systems from 2016, and it is currently studying next-generation AEB. The agency has not disclosed any reason for not following through with the NTSB’s recommendation. Truck safety is crucial as the increasing reliance on online shopping leads to more freight shipments.

When a large truck is involved in a car crash, the occupants of the car usually have it the worst. A victim may be left with catastrophic injuries and a need for life-long medical care. Such a victim may want to file a personal injury claim for compensation. Legal counsel may speak on a victim’s behalf during negotiations or litigation.