According to federal data, there were 4,300 people killed in collisions with tractor-trailers and other large trucks in 2016. This was a 28 percent increase from the fatality rate in 2009. Using these findings, which have gained the attention of several members of Congress, safety advocates are pushing for crash avoidance technology on all commercial trucks. Truck fleet owners in Mississippi and across the U.S. should take note.

According to trucking companies that have incorporated crash avoidance tech, this feature can prevent more than seven out of 10 rear-end collisions. If an accident does occur, the technology can mitigate the severity of injuries and vehicle damage. At the moment, however, only a small percentage of large trucks use it.

Safety advocates blame the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for not taking the initiative and proposing regulations that mandate such technology. On at least 10 occasions since the 1990s, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that NHTSA mandate forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems on all large trucks.

Though NHTSA has not acted upon these recommendations, it is currently studying early automatic emergency braking technology. In 18 to 24 months, it will conclude its research on next-generation versions of the technology. On the other hand, lobbying groups for the trucking industry believe that installing crash avoidance technology should be a voluntary decision.

Even with such technology, truckers may choose not to engage it or become negligent anyway. When a big rig driver is at fault for a truck wreck, their company could face a personal injury claim or even a wrongful death suit. The victim, for their part, might want to retain a lawyer for the process. George B. Ready could bring in experts to investigate the accident and gather evidence like the trucker’s work log and truck maintenance records. We would then negotiate for a settlement.  Call George B. Ready if you have been in such an accident.