Road to Zero Coalition takes aim at road fatalities

Motor vehicle accidents claimed the lives of more than 37,000 road uses in New York and around the country in 2017 according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but a group of road safety experts believe that this figure could be reduced to zero by 2050. A report released on April 22 by the Road to Zero Coalition, which is managed by the National Safety Council, suggests that this goal could be accomplished by encouraging vehicle occupants to fasten their safety belts, supporting new safety technology such as autonomous accident avoidance systems and creating a culture of safety that frowns on reckless behavior behind the wheel.

The Road to Zero Coalition says that the strategies they are promoting to cut down car accident rates will also reduce the number of people killed each year in crashes involving large trucks. Commercial vehicle accidents killed 4,317 people in 2017 according to NHTSA, and the vast majority of these fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety believes that technology provides the coalition with the most effective way to lower this annual death toll.

The IIHS is particularly interested in systems that warn truck drivers when passenger vehicles are following too closely or have entered a bind spot. The road safety advocacy group is also enthusiastic about lane departure alerts and crash avoidance systems that warn of impending forward collisions and can sometimes even apply a tractor-trailer's air brakes automatically. According to the IIHS, the number of truck accident in the United States could be reduced by as much as a quarter if every semi-tractor trailer in the United States was equipped with these systems.

Car accident lawsuits are usually filed against negligent motorists or their insurance companies, but road users injured in truck crashes sometimes sue the owners of the commercial vehicles involved rather than their drivers. Experienced personal injury attorneys may suggest taking this path when accidents were caused by poorly maintained or inadequately repaired trucks or records checks reveal a history of safety or hours of service violations.

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