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Groups urge controversial change to truck safety guidelines

Truckers in Louisiana know that their vehicles are not required to have crash avoidance systems. The choice is entirely up to each individual fleet owner. However, some groups are pushing for mandatory crash avoidance technology on all large commercial trucks as a way to improve safety. According to federal data, there has been a 28 percent increase in large truck fatalities from 2009 to 2016.

Those grim statistics have led safety advocates to encourage the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to listen to recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB has recommended the mandating of crash avoidance tech on at least 10 occasions since the late 1990s. However, the NHTSA has yet to propose any regulations along these lines.

The safety advocates have attracted some attention from members of Congress who believe that decisive action should be taken to prevent safety concerns from being left to market forces. Trucking industry lobbying groups oppose the idea, one reason being that some smaller trucking companies may not be able to afford the technology.

The NHTSA, for its part, has issued a written statement relating how it is conducting research on next-generation versions of automatic emergency braking. After this research wraps up, which should be in 18 to 24 months, the NHTSA may decide on a course of action.

Whether they have crash avoidance systems or not, truckers are responsible for keeping their vehicles under control. If a driver fails to do so and collides with a passenger vehicle, their company could be held liable. The victim can hire a lawyer who works in truck accident law. If necessary, legal counsel could hire investigators to gather proof and negotiate for a settlement.

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