Collision avoidance features can make trucks safer

Large trucks were involved in accidents that killed 4,300 people in 2016. That was a 28 percent increase from 2009, and it has led to calls to make these vehicles safer. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the accidents that led to the deaths could have been prevented or mitigated with collision avoidance technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that it is testing such technology, and it could make California highways safer.

Field testing on new automatic emergency braking technology should be completed within 24 months. It also says that it doesn’t dispute claims from companies that currently use forward collision avoidance systems. Businesses that do use them on their trucks say that these systems can prevent over 70 percent of rear-end collisions. Lobbying groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) say that implementing automatic emergency braking and other features should be voluntary.

They say that mandating these features would result in higher costs for companies that may not be able to afford them. The OOIDA also claims that there is no proof that such systems work. However, there is support in Congress to implement tools to make trucks safer. Sen. Cory Booker from New Jersey has argued that the government should act if the free market is unable or unwilling to make changes on its own.

Individuals who experience serious injuries in a truck crash could be entitled to compensation. This may occur if the truck driver was negligent in allowing it to happen. In some cases, an employer could also be responsible for an accident if it knowingly allowed an unqualified driver to operate one of its commercial vehicles.