Truckers in New Jersey may have heard that a bill was introduced that could mandate automatic emergency braking on all commercial trucks. The bill, called the Safe Roads Act of 2019, is seen as providing a "common-sense solution" to the rising number of truck crashes in the U.S., many of them fatal, and it has the support of truck safety groups like the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
According to Injury Facts, there was a 9% increase in fatal truck crashes between 2016 and 2017. Between 2009 and 2017, the increase came to 45%. A total of 4,657 commercial motor vehicles were involved in fatal crashes in 2017.
There are lingering concerns over AEB. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation warns that AEB, along with the rest of driver assistance technology, is still in its infancy. Most AEB systems are designed for low speeds, too, and should the systems apply the brakes for truckers when going at high speeds, the truckers may become startled and drive irregularly.
The House Highways and Transit Subcommittee will be reviewing the bill, which was introduced on July 16, 2019. Twice already, in 2011 and 2015, bills that were similar to the Safe Roads Act were introduced, but these were shot down.
With or without driver assistance systems, truckers may grow negligent behind the wheel. When negligence is behind a crash, those who are not at fault may be able to seek compensation under truck accident law. It may be wise to hire a lawyer because trucking companies might have their own legal team ready to fight any claims. A lawyer may have investigators try to prove the trucker's negligence using everything from the police report to any in-cab camera footage and phone records. The lawyer may then strive for a reasonable settlement.