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As fatal truck crashes rise, NHTSA criticized for inaction

Fatal large truck crashes are increasing in North Carolina and the rest of the U.S. In 2017, 4,102 people died in large truck crashes, which is up 28 percent from 2009. The majority of these victims are car occupants, and many of the crashes are rear-end accidents. Truck safety groups say that if all heavy trucks were required to have forward crash warning and mitigation systems, thousands of these accidents could be prevented.

On at least 10 different occasions since the 1990s, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration come up with such a mandate. However, NHTSA has not proposed any regulations. NHTSA issued a statement saying that it is still studying forward crash warning systems and automatic emergency braking. Critics call this paralysis by analysis, saying that NHTSA should focus instead on devices that are already available.

There are concerns that the trucking industry is lagging behind the auto industry in the incorporation of vehicle safety tech. Many new cars come with AEB and forward crash warning systems, and experts say these devices will become standard on all new U.S. vehicles by 2022. The need for safety tech on trucks will only grow as freight shipments by truck continue to rise.

Many commercial truck accidents are caused by trucker negligence. There have been cases of truckers rear-ending cars because they were distracted by phones. In some cases, the truckers never even had time to brake. The survivors of such crashes may be left dealing with serious injuries that require life-long medical care.

However, they may be eligible for compensation under personal injury law. Victims may consider having a lawyer assess their case. If retained, the lawyer may be able to negotiate for a reasonable settlement covering medical expenses, lost wages and more.

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As fatal truck crashes rise, NHTSA criticized for inaction | Britton Law, P.A.