Rising rate of fatal big rig crashes concerns safety group

The co-founder of Road Safe America has called on the trucking industry to use existing safety technology within many commercial trucks to reduce the rising truck accident rate. A report from the safety group detailed federal traffic data that showed an increase in fatal truck accidents from 2009 to 2016. During this period, the total miles driven by large commercial trucks actually decreased slightly. If all big rigs operated with speed limiters and automatic emergency brakes, then traffic safety in Kentucky and nationwide could improve, according to the report.

The failures of federal regulators to establish requirements for speed limiters and automatic emergency brakes have created an environment where trucking companies only adopt the safety technology on a voluntary basis. Road Safe America's report urged the entire industry to take advantage of the safety and fuel savings enabled by the technology.

Speed limiters could ensure that drivers do not exceed 65 mph. Slower speeds could give heavy vehicles a better chance of avoiding accidents. Automatic emergency brake systems warn drivers of immobile or slow objects on the road. Even if the driver does not hit the brakes, the system could prevent accidents by automatically trying to stop the truck. Since the 1990s, this technology has been included in commercial vehicles because international markets generally require big rigs to have the safety features.

Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and they can inflict serious damage in crashes. Someone struggling to recover from severe injuries incurred in a truck accident caused by the negligence of the truck driver might want to have legal help when seeking compensation for medical expenses and other losses.

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