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Mandatory crash avoidance tech could lower truck crash rates

Federal data shows that the annual number of large truck crash fatalities increased 28 percent between 2009 and 2016. This has led safety advocates to urge the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to consider mandating crash avoidance systems on all heavy trucks. California motorists may be interested to learn that those pleas have received attention from several members of Congress.

For example, one senator said that Congress should take meaningful action so that the safety concerns of truckers and others on the road are not left to market forces. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended the mandating of crash avoidance tech on at least 10 occasions since the late 1990s and criticized NHTSA back in 2016 for not proposing any regulations along these lines.

The NHTSA has finished research on early automatic emergency braking, an advanced vehicle safety feature. In 18 to 24 months, it will wrap up its current research on next-generation versions of the technology, after which it may take a decisive course of action.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and other lobbying groups for the trucking industry are against the proposal, citing the cost that could be a burden for smaller companies. Others remain skeptical about the effectiveness of crash avoidance tech.

Such technology cannot prevent all accidents since truckers can choose to be negligent while behind the wheel. However, someone who incurs a truck accident injury can file a personal injury claim against a negligent trucker or fleet company. If the victim incurred catastrophic injuries and cannot act on their own, a family member can file. It's a good idea to have a lawyer since one can hire investigators and handle the settlement negotiations.

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