Jeffrey E. Johnston

Safety technology might prevent truck crashes

The National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate crash avoidance technology in large trucks. According to the NTSB, many large truck crashes could be avoided, or their severity mitigated, by crash avoidance technologies. The NTSB does not have the power to mandate that these systems be installed in trucks on Georgia roads. Rather, it can only conduct investigations and make recommendations to other agencies.

Data gathered by the federal government indicates that more than 4,300 fatalities occurred in 2016 due to large truck crashes. That represents an increase of 28 percent versus the year 2009. The NTSB has recommended that forward crash avoidance systems be installed in all large trucks. According to trucking companies that have installed forward collision avoidance systems, the technology can prevent up to 70 percent of rear-end large truck accidents. They also maintain that crashes are less serious when they do occur and damage to property is lessened. The NHTSA has not disputed these claims.

In a written statement, the NHTSA said it has researched automatic braking systems in the past and plans to finalize testing of next-generation systems within two years. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that the cost of the systems may be more than many smaller trucking companies can afford to pay. Some critics still doubt the effectiveness of the systems.

Big rig crashes are often more serious than other vehicle accidents because of the size of the truck. People who are injured in truck accidents might be entitled to recover compensation for damages like pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. An attorney who practices personal injury law could assist by identifying parties who may have liability. An attorney might also be able to negotiate a settlement with at-fault parties.

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