The National Transportation Safety Board has been urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create regulations that require semi-trucks to adopt collision avoidance technology since the 1990s. Although trucking carriers in South Carolina can voluntarily deploy safety technologies like collision warnings and automatic emergency brakes, the NHTSA has not introduced any regulations that require crash avoidance technology for big rigs.
A written statement from the NHTSA indicated that regulators might complete field testing of automatic emergency braking systems in 18 to 24 months. The safety board continues to call for improvements because fatal accidents involving semis and large trucks have increased by 28 percent from 2009 to 2016. In 2016 alone, more than 4,300 people died in truck crashes.
Trucking companies that use forward collision avoidance systems report significant safety improvements. The technology reduced rear-end truck collisions by over 70 percent and lessened the severity of injuries and property damage when accidents did happen. In general, lobbyists for the trucking industry discourage regulations that would make safety technology mandatory due to increased costs.
Because trucking companies have a strong interest in limiting their liabilities after accidents, a person hurt in a truck wreck might experience difficulty when pursuing an insurance claim. An attorney who understands the legal issues surrounding trucking accidents could inform the person about rights under personal injury law and available insurance coverage. After organizing evidence about negligence like reckless driving, truck driver fatigue or inadequate truck maintenance, an attorney may file a lawsuit and challenge an insurer’s attempt to reduce or deny a financial settlement. The efforts of an attorney might result in the victim collecting compensation for medical bills and lost pay.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Kansas City Star: Changes Urged After Spike in Deadly Big Truck Crashes“, Sept. 17, 2018