States need to adopt new legislation to plug gaps in their existing highway safety laws, including targeting “the needless carnage resulting from large truck crashes,” says the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
The recommendations are included in the safety organization’s annual wish list of reforms called the Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws.
The report rates all 50 states and Washington, D.C., on progress made toward enacting 16 traffic safety laws that AHAS advocates. At present, no state has adopted all 16 recommended laws.
AHAS says,“Truck crashes continue to occur at an alarmingly high rate,” observing that in 2017, 4,761 people were killed in large truck accidents.
“This is an increase of 9% from the previous year and a staggering 41% increase since 2009,” It adds, pointing out that more than 100,000 people also are injured in large truck accidents each year.
The report also notes that in fatal two-vehicle accidents between a large truck and a passenger vehicle, 97% of the fatalities are occupants of the passenger vehicle, citing figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Several safety improvements would help, AHAS argues. These include available safety technologies like speed limiting devices and Automatic Emergency Braking, which the group says could prevent crashes if required on all trucks.
“Further, trucks should be equipped with strong underride guards to mitigate horrific and violent crashes when a vehicle goes under the rear or side of a truck,” AHAS asserts.
AHAS consists of a broad base of safety advocate groups organized by Joan Claybrook, former head of NHTSA under President Carter, Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen organization and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), a spin-off funded by the rail industry and tort lawyers to fight against increasing sizes and weights in the 1990s.