Atlanta, GA – Today, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association joined Road Safe America in calling on the United States Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to immediately require the installation and use of forward collision avoidance and mitigation technology on all tractor-trailers. This technology, which works by taking over the brakes and engine of the tractor-trailer when an imminent collision is anticipated and alerting the driver to the danger, is already fully-developed and comes as a standard feature on most new automobiles. It is estimated that it would cost less than $500 per vehicle to retrofit current tractor-trailers to meet this standard.
“Today, we are calling on Congress and NHTSA to require all fleet operators and independent truckers to implement this life-saving technology on all current and future tractor-trailers,” said Brian D. “Buck” Rogers, a member of the GTLA Executive Committee and Road Safe America’s Board of Directors. “The cost to implement the technology on all tractor-trailers is relatively inexpensive – particularly compared to the costs and consequences of failing to take advantage of available technology.
“The tragic loss of Georgia lives on Interstate 16 this week is a stark reminder of the dangers that tractor-trailers pose to all other drivers on Georgia highways. The top priority of GTLA and Road Safe America is to save lives, and I am confident that this action would be the among the most significant safety improvements to our highways in American history,” concluded Rogers.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, annually there are nearly 100,000 injuries and 4,000 deaths on U.S. highways as a result of tractor-trailer crashes. In 2013, 97% of those killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle were occupants of the smaller automobile and Georgia is currently among the top five states in the country in truck-related fatalities.
“Tractor-trailers are the only freight method in America that occurs 100 percent of the time on public roads, and this industry should be expected to be held to the highest standard of safety. Unfortunately, that’s the exact opposite of the current standards to which tractor-trailers and truck drivers are held,” remarked Steve Owings, President and Co-Founder of Road Safe America. “This week’s heartbreaking accident in South Georgia is another stunning example of the tragedy that can occur when a truck driver is distracted or otherwise not alert, and the trucking industry must implement the technology that is already available to take over and avoid an often high-speed collision when the fatigued and distracted truck drivers do not do so manually.”
Insight by Atty. Jeff Powers:
What a tragedy to those families who lost their children this week in South Ga on I-16. Unfortunately, the trucking company only has $1 million in insurance coverage. None of those families will be fully compensated for the horrific accident