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FMCSA plans new study of large-truck crash factors

There are any number of factors that can contribute to a large truck accident, but a few of them are of relatively recent origin and have not been studied in depth. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted its last large-truck crash causation study between 2001 and 2003, so an update is clearly needed. New Jersey residents should know that just such an update was announced at the start of 2020.

The FMCSA is fielding comments on how best to proceed with the study. It's clear, though, what sort of crash factors the organization will be analyzing: calling and texting behind the wheel, for example, and the use of in-cab navigation systems and fleet management systems. Even safety features like automatic emergency braking have been linked to accidents.

Fatal large-truck crash numbers have gone up 52.6% from 2009 to 2018, according to the FMCSA. It recorded a total of 4,415 such crashes in 2018. The increase is largely due to the above-mentioned activities, which make drivers inattentive to the road. Safety features cause inattention insofar as drivers overestimate the features' ability to keep them safe.

In the end, researchers hope to create strategies for avoiding and mitigating the severity of large-truck accidents. They intend for the strategies to be applicable even to highly and fully automated vehicles.

When truck collisions are initiated by distracted truckers, they cannot blame technology for their negligence. Until fully automated vehicles come out, drivers are expected to stay alert and keep control of their vehicle at all times. Since truck accidents can lead to serious, sometimes catastrophic, injuries, it's important for victims to be compensated for all medical expenses and lost income. Victims, or their family, may want to see a lawyer about filing a claim against the guilty driver's employer.

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