On July 17, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would make automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new commercial large trucks sold in the US. The purpose of the legislation is to reduce injuries and deaths from truck accidents in North Carolina and across the country.
The National Safety Council reports that there were 4,657 fatal crashes involving commercial motor vehicles in 2017, which represents a 9% increase from 2016 and a whopping 45% spike since 2009. The Safe Roads Act of 2019, introduced by Reps. Jesús García, D-IL, and Hank Johnson, D-GA, touts AEB technology as "a simple, common-sense solution" to America's deadly truck accident problem. Johnson, who sponsored similar legislation in 2011 and 2015, says that AEB systems could prevent "countless" injuries and deaths per year. The Truck Safety Coalition, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and other traffic safety organizations support the measure.
However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation claims that AEB systems are "in their infancy" and could cause new problems for truck drivers. For example, the organization claims AEB systems aren't fully autonomous, and most only work at low speeds. Nonetheless, the group admits the technology has "potential." The Safe Roads Act of 2019 has been referred to the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee for debate.
Commercial truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. When a crash is caused by a negligent truck driver, injured victims can pursue legal action in civil court. An attorney may be able to prove that the truck driver is legally responsible for the accident, which could lead to a settlement for lost wages, current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.