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Kansas City Star urges change to prevent commercial truck crashes

North Carolina residents know that sharing the road with commercial trucks can be dangerous. They may not know that large truck crash fatalities have risen 28 percent from 2009 to 2016 and that some have responded to this trend by calling for specific changes to federal truck safety guidelines. This call is summed up by The Kansas City Star in an article that has even garnered the attention of several members of Congress.

The Star urges the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate the use of forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems on all heavy trucks. In saying this, it is following the lead of the National Transportation Safety Board, which has been recommending such a course of action since the late 1990s. The NTSB has criticized NHTSA for ignoring these recommendations.

For its part, NHTSA has stated that it is conducting research on next-generation versions of automatic emergency braking. After this research is wrapped up, which will be in 18 to 24 months' time, NHTSA may make its position clear on the issue.

Only a small percentage of trucking companies have implemented crash avoidance technology, but those that have say that it can prevent more than 7 out of 10 rear-end collisions. It's also known to mitigate the severity of any accidents that do occur.

Victims of 18-wheeler accidents may be eligible for damages if the trucker was the one at fault. During a case assessment, a lawyer may explain this state's contributory negligence rule and determine if victims have good grounds for a claim. A lawyer could also hire third parties to gather proof, which could include the trucker's work log and any in-cab camera footage. Victims might decide to leave all negotiations to their lawyer and have him or her prepare the case for a trial if a settlement cannot be achieved.

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