There were 4,102 large truck crash fatalities in 2017. This represents a 28% increase from 2009. Of those fatalities, 17% were truck occupants while 68% were occupants of passenger vehicles and 14% were pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. North Carolina motorists should know that this rise in fatalities has led many safety groups to advocate the use of collision avoidance technology.
New cars, after all, are coming equipped with features like automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems. In fact, all new vehicles sold in the U.S. are expected to have these features by 2022. There is no reason, then, why commercial trucks cannot be equipped with the same things.
Forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems have long been seen as beneficial for heavy trucks. On at least 10 different occasions since the 1990s, the National Transportation Safety Board has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with a mandate requiring these systems on heavy trucks, but the NHTSA has not even drafted a proposal.
The NHTSA states that it is testing next-generation automatic emergency braking and that the field operation testing will be completed in 18 to 24 months. It intends to make a decision after this. Critics say that the NHTSA is overanalyzing technology that has already been proven to save lives.
In the meanwhile, the fact remains that truckers must practice safe driving with or without the help of technology. When commercial truck accidents arise out of trucker negligence, those who are injured can file a claim. Those who survive a truck crash are often left with catastrophic injuries, and they might want to have the help of a lawyer when seeking compensation for their losses.