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No solution in sight as truck crash deaths continue to rise

Commercial truck crashes are on the rise in Georgia and across the U.S., and so are the number of deaths arising from them. Between 2009 and 2017, there was a 28% increase in them with 4,102 deaths in the latter year. The majority of those who lost their lives were occupants in passenger vehicles. To lower the number of crashes and fatalities, safety groups have pushed for the incorporation of new safety tech on commercial trucks.

The National Transportation Safety Board, for example, has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at least 10 times since the 1990s to come up with a regulation that requires all heavy trucks to be equipped with forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems. It argued that these would greatly reduce the number of rear-end collisions in particular. Yet the agency has not followed through with even so much as a proposal for a regulation. The NHTSA has not stated why it has ignored the NTSB's petition, but it has stated that it is conducting field operation testing for next-generation automatic emergency braking. This testing will be completed in 18 to 24 months.

Some criticize NHTSA for overanalyzing a safety feature already known to save lives. AEB is found in many new passenger vehicles and is expected to become standard on all vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2022.

With or without safety tech, truckers have a responsibility to keep themselves and other road users safe. If they speed, drive drowsy or engage in some other negligent behavior and cause a crash, then they and their employer may be held liable. Truck accident cases can be hard to mount alone, especially when plaintiffs are suffering from serious injuries, so it may be wise to have the assistance of an experienced attorney.

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