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Coalition aims to reduce deaths on the road

For many drivers in North Carolina, the road can be a dangerous place. In 2016, 37,461 people lost their lives in U.S. roadway accidents. This was 5.6 percent more than the year before. However, a coalition of 675 experts, government agencies and industry participants is working to change this. The Road to Zero Coalition aims to reduce traffic deaths to zero by the year 2050. In a report issued in April, the coalition lays out the steps it recommends to help improve safety on American roads.

Large trucks can be a particular concern to safety advocates. In 2016, 4,317 people were killed in crashes that involved large trucks, a 5.4 percent increase over 2015. Many of these vehicles were very heavy -- 80 percent of the vehicles involved weighed 26,000 pounds or more. The coalition includes trucking companies and vendors that work with the trucking industry alongside others. In general, the coalition aims to apply similar safety initiatives to cars and trucks, including promoting seat belt usage and improving the use of safety technology.

One organization in the coalition advocated for the use of blind-spot detection, lane-departure warnings, stability systems and forward-collision warnings, noting that if these were installed on all large trucks, at least 25 percent of accidents would likely be prevented. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also encouraged changes to large trucks construction in order to protect passenger vehicles that get involved in collisions with 18-wheelers and semi-trucks.

People who have survived trucking accidents can experience severe injuries with life-long disabilities. A personal injury lawyer can help an accident victim advocate for their rights and seek compensation for their damages. Compensation may cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.

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