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Groups push lawmakers to make truck safety devices mandatory

It's safe to assume that anyone in West Virginia who shares the road with large trucks has a vested interest in doing everything possible to improve safety. This is why two groups, the Truck Safety Coalition and Road Safe America, are asking lawmakers in Congress to require certain trucks to be outfitted with specially designed safety devices.

Initially, efforts were made to convince the Department of Transportation to help prevent truck accidents. However, according to Road Safe America's president, results were less than satisfying. Specifically, both groups want a law passed that would require heavy-duty trucks to install automatic emergency braking and speed limiters, which prevent vehicles from going over a certain pre-set speed limit. Both groups are using startling crash statistics to make their case. Road Safe America's president believes that an infrastructure bill could be a good way to include a new requirement for trucks to be equipped with the desired safety devices.

One of the stats cited by Road Safe America is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study showing that trucks with speed limiting technology were 200 percent less likely to crash when compared to vehicles without speed limiters. It's also estimated that automatic braking systems may be able to prevent more than 2,500 crashes each year. Trucking industry trade association American Trucking Associations has been a long-time supporter of speed limiters set at 65 mph but only if the same requirement is applied to cars.

When a truck-related accident results in serious injuries, it's often smaller vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists that are affected. If negligence is suspected, a lawyer may look at accident reports to identify responsible parties. Data from cellphones and similar devices is sometimes reviewed to see if driver distraction was an issue.

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