Public calls for better truck safety

Worsening negative trends have raised concerns about truck safety. According to a survey released by Road Safe America, the public is calling for better safety measures to combat truck accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released troubling statistics underlying this survey. New data indicates that 4,761 people lost their lives in truck crashes in this country last year. According to the NHTSA, this was a 41 percent increase from the historical low reported in 2009.

It is frustrating that two existing measures can lower this toll. First, speed limiters have been in existence for decades. Large trucks manufactured since 1992 have the capability for these systems. Other countries have used these devices, which prevent speeding by restricting truck speed to 55 or 65 mph, for at least 25 years. Many trucks in this country have voluntarily installed limiters to save on fuel costs and to lower maintenance expenses for brakes and tires. If these devices were installed in all trucks, then more accidents may be avoided.

Second, automatic emergency braking has been used successfully as collision avoidance technology on other vehicles. Current AEB system technology could prevent over 2,500 truck crashes each year, according to the NHTSA.

In 2015, a petition was granted by the NHTSA that started rulemaking that would mandate the installation of AEB in all trucks. However, it missed the deadline for a final report that was due in September.

According to a recent nationwide survey of likely voters in this country, a majority of respondents overwhelmingly favored installation of these safety devices. The survey revealed that 79 percent of respondents favored speed limiters, while 45 percent strongly favored it and only 13 percent of voters opposed the use of this device. AEB devices were favored by 82 percent of voters while 50 percent strongly favored it. Only nine percent opposed this system.

In addition to speeding and swerving trucks, motorists also face the risks posed by distracted, unqualified, and drunk truckers. Truck accident victims should consider immediate legal representation to seek accountability for such negligent and reckless acts, as well as to fight for the compensation they need to recoup their damages.

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