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As truck crashes rise, some push for rule on crash avoidance tech

More and more people in West Virginia and across the U.S. are dying in large truck crashes. Federal data shows a 28 percent rise in such fatalities from 2009 to 2016. This has led many groups to call for a federal ruling mandating the use of crash avoidance systems on all heavy trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board has been making similar recommendations since the late 1990s.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to propose any regulations along those lines. The NTSB criticizes NHTSA for ignoring its recommendations and thus doing nothing about truck crash trends. Only a small percentage of trucking companies implement crash avoidance tech, but those that do say that it can prevent more than 7 out of 10 rear-end collisions as well as reduce the severity of any that occur.

The Kansas City Star has published an article also pushing for a crash avoidance system requirement. Several Congressional members have read the article and believe that Congress should take decisive action rather than leave safety concerns to market forces.

In a written statement, NHTSA has said that it is conducting research on next-generation versions of automatic emergency braking, which could help in the forming of any future decisions. The research is expected to wrap up in 18 to 24 months.

Even if crash avoidance tech becomes required under federal trucking regulations, it's not unusual for truckers to break regulations. It would be negligent, though. Those who are injured through the negligence of a trucker may be able to file a claim against the trucking company and be compensated for their medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. They might have a lawyer speak on their behalf at the negotiation table or, if a settlement cannot be reached, in the courtroom.

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