Critics call NHTSA unresponsive as fatal truck crash numbers rise

Truckers in Georgia may benefit from safety technology like forward collision warning and mitigation systems. In fact, truck safety groups say these can help prevent or mitigate thousands of rear-end accidents, which are among the most devastating types of crashes that can ever occur between a large truck and passenger vehicle.

Yet it appears that the trucking industry is lagging behind the auto industry in incorporating such technology. Experts say that all new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. will be equipped with forward collision warning systems and automatic emergency braking by 2022.

Safety groups have pushed for a federal regulation mandating forward crash warning technology on all heavy trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board has even recommended such a mandate at least 10 times since the 1990s. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has all but ignored these suggestions.

The NHTSA has said that it is studying next-generation AEB. Field operation testing should be completed in 18 to 24 months. Critics accuse the NHTSA of paralysis by analysis, saying it should be looking instead at those safety devices that are currently available.

In what amounted to a 28 percent increase from 2009, a total of 4,102 people died in large truck crashes in 2017. Of those victims, 68 percent were car occupants and 14 percent were pedestrians, bicycle riders or motorcyclists.

The survivor of a truck wreck may find that there is clear proof that the trucker was negligent. For example, the trucker may have been distracted, drowsy or intoxicated behind the wheel. Or, a defective truck part may have played a role in the crash, in which case the manufacturers may be held responsible. Whatever the case, a victim may have grounds for a claim. With help from a lawyer, they may be able to negotiate a settlement.

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