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Critics say NHTSA unresponsive to rise in truck crash deaths

Large truck crash deaths are on the rise. According to the federal government, there was a 28 percent increase in them from 2009 to 2017. A total of 4,102 people died in truck crashes in 2017 with 68 percent of those being car occupants. Louisiana residents should know that many truck safety groups are proposing a remedy to this trend: new truck safety technology.

Specifically, the National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending forward collision warning and mitigation systems for all heavy trucks since the 1990s. On at least 10 occasions, it proposed a mandate to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal regulatory agency in charge of making regulations. However, NHTSA has not followed through.

These systems can be especially helpful in preventing thousands of rear-end collisions. These collisions are some of the most frequent and most devastating. Automatic emergency braking is another device that can be beneficial. NHTSA, for its part, says it is studying both of these technologies, but critics accuse it of paralysis by analysis.

Many complain that truck safety devices are not keeping up with technological advances. By contrast, the auto industry says that AEB and forward collision warning systems are to become standard on all U.S. vehicles by 2022. The need for improving truck safety grows as freight shipments by truck continue to go up.

One issue that cannot necessarily be solved, of course, is trucker negligence. Under truck accident law, those who are injured through the trucker's fault may be eligible for compensation. They may also be eligible if the truck's manufacturer or the freight company was at fault. Whatever the case, victims may want a lawyer to evaluate their case and determine their losses. The lawyer might hire investigators and medical experts to assist before proceeding to settlement negotiations or litigation.

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