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Arnold & Itkin LLP Truck Accident Blog2019JanuaryCrash Avoidance Systems Exist. Why Doesn't the Law Require Truck Drivers to Use Them?

Crash Avoidance Systems Exist. Why Doesn't the Law Require Truck Drivers to Use Them?

Your life could be saved by affordable crash avoidance systems that trucks aren't using on American roads. Today, families of crash victims are asking why no changes have been made to make America’s highways safer for all.

A rear-end collision killed Pam Biddle's son as he waited in traffic. The driver that caused the accident was too busy looking at a tablet while he was driving, and three others lost their lives along with Pam’s son during the crash. Last October, we covered the rising rate of car accidents and Pam Biddle’s plea that basic safety systems could have saved her son’s life.

Then, just last month, Arnold & Itkin examined a public survey that found overwhelming support for the requirement of safety equipment installation on commercial trucks. Sadly, the survey has its roots in tragedy. Road Safe America, the organization that conducted the survey, was started after Steve and Susan Owing lost their son in a truck accident. The Owings experienced their loss in 2002 and have been asking officials why truck safety requirements in the United States have lagged behind other countries ever since.

The NHTSA failed to kickstart new regulation last September after missing a crucial deadline. Since then, a 15-year-old boy died after being involved in a preventable rear-end truck accident. Thousands more will die in crashes involving trucks this year. Sweeping truck regulation reform could save hundreds of these lives.

An Examination of Forward Collision Warning Systems

Recently, Safety & Research Strategies, Inc. posted a detailed examination of the lack of safety technology used in heavy commercial trucks. The report highlighted the variety of collision avoidance systems and how few of them are installed in commercial trucks. Systems such as electronic stability control, automatic braking systems, and forward collision warning systems could prevent hundreds of accidents each year. Though drivers and companies can easily retrofit these systems on trucks, they have not done so.

Early data gives a preview of the impact that safety systems could have. In 1995, a company installed collision warning systems on 40 percent of its fleet. One year later, the Federal Highway Administration reported that none of those vehicles were involved in a rear-end collision. Additionally, Greyhound was an early adopter of collision warning systems. The company estimated that the technology would reduce accidents by 25 to 40 percent.

In 1993, the NHTSA determined that inattentive truck drivers caused 66.3 percent of accidents involving trucks. In 1995, the administration once again studied truck accidents and found that not only were rear-end incidents common and usually preventable. In 2018, officials have still taken no significant steps toward increasing road safety with technology requirements. After over 25 years, lawmakers have not prioritized one of the most straightforward solutions to lowering the death toll on American roads.

Frustratingly, research has not progressed very far since the early days of these safety systems. The NHTSA accomplished a few studies between 2015 and 2016 . However, results only led the administration to recommend further research. Despite finding that "the systems as a whole appeared to have a safety benefit," researchers also cited false automatic braking accidents that were considered an annoyance to drivers.

Since the early days of the NHTSA’s research regarding safety technology, over 110,000 people have lost their lives in truck accidents. Countless family members of these victims have one question to ask: When will the lives of their loved ones be enough for significant safety regulation?

If you have been injured in a preventable accident, there is hope for recovery. Call the truck accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation of your case at (888) 490-0442.

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