NHTSA ignores pleas to mandate safety tech for large trucks

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Truck safety groups have long been advocating for the use of forward collision warning and mitigation systems. Truckers in Texas should know that these features can alert them to any impending crashes with stationary or slow-moving objects. Combined with automatic emergency braking, which apply the brakes when drivers fail to do so in time, the system can prevent possibly thousands of rear-end accidents.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal regulatory agency that sets guidelines for truckers, mandate the use of forward collision warning systems on all heavy trucks. It has recommended this on at least 10 different occasions since the 1990s, yet NHTSA has not proposed any regulation along these lines. Critics are accusing NHTSA for a culpable failure to act.

NHTSA, in a written statement, says it is still studying forward collision warning systems as well as next-generation AEB. Field operation testing for the latter is due to end in 18 to 24 months. Critics have countered by saying NHTSA should focus on those devices that are already available and proving their effectiveness.

Growing reliance on online shopping has led to an increasing number of freight shipments by truck, so safety is critical. It appears, though, that the trucking industry is lagging behind the auto industry in terms of technological advancements.

Many accidents are the result of truck driver fatigue, distraction or intoxication. These are just a few ways in which truckers can be negligent, so those who are injured in a truck crash and who believe the other was at fault may want a lawyer to evaluate their case. If there is clear proof of negligence, victims might want to file a claim and seek compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle damage and other losses. The lawyer may handle negotiations.

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