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Safety advocates react to spike in deadly truck crashes

Kentucky motorists with early warning systems on their vehicles know that such technology can be a great way to prevent accidents. These systems will warn drivers of lane departure issues, monitor blind spots and even apply the brakes automatically in an emergency. Unfortunately, the technology has not caught on with everyone in the commercial trucking industry. But many safety advocates now believe it is time to make early warning systems mandatory in over-the-road trucks.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, fatalities in collisions involving large trucks have increased substantially in recent years. The latest statistics show that more than 4,300 people were killed in large truck crashes in 2016. This was a 28 percent increase from 2009.

Commercial transportation companies using automatic emergency braking systems estimate that the technology can prevent 70 percent of all current rear-end collisions involving over-the-road trucks. They further believe the severity of many other collisions can be mitigated by the use of automatic braking systems.

Today, few semi trucks have collision avoidance systems installed. Some believe the technology is cost prohibitive for smaller trucking firms and would substantially affect profit margins. Though the NHTSA is currently studying the issue, many safety advocates believe it is moving too slowly. Therefore, some are beginning to lobby Congress for action.

The victim of a large truck accident may consider retaining a qualified personal injury attorney. Even if the truck had an early warning collision avoidance system, the driver and fleet company could still be held liable for damages.

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