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NHTSA accused of inaction as fatal truck crash numbers rise

Large truck crashes are leading to more deaths in Kentucky and elsewhere in the country. In 2017, there were 4,102 large truck crash fatalities: 28 percent more than in 2009. Of those, 68 percent were car occupants, and 14 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Incidents where large trucks rear-end cars are especially frequent as well as severe in terms of injuries and damage.

Truck safety groups say that forward crash warning and mitigation systems can help prevent thousands of rear-end accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board is even pushing for a federal mandate that all heavy trucks be equipped with this technology. The NTSB has brought this matter up on at least 10 occasions with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since the 1990s, yet the NHTSA has not proposed any regulations.

According to a written statement from its communications department, the NHTSA is still studying forward crash warning systems and next-generation automatic emergency braking. Critics believe that the NHTSA should commit its already limited resources to systems that are already available and proven to save lives. They accuse the NHTSA of paralysis by analysis.

In contrast with the trucking industry, the auto industry is up-to-date with technological advances. Many new vehicles come with AEB and forward crash warning systems, and experts say that all vehicles sold in the U.S. will have them by 2022.

Those who are involved in a tractor-trailer crash may find out that the trucker was to blame. Or, they may discover that a defective truck part or an improperly loaded truck was a factor in the accident. In that case, they may have good grounds for an accident claim. It may be a good idea to hire a lawyer because the other side will likely be aggressive in denying payment or forcing victims to accept a low-ball settlement.

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