According to a new report from the
Highway safety advocates called the increase alarming, considering that the number of people killed in all kinds of crashes on the roadways fell 1.8 percent in 2017, to 37,133 lives lost.
"The trends are getting worse," said
The public policy group Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety was among the first to comment on the new numbers, demanding that regulators take steps to reverse the rising death toll from truck wrecks. First, by opposing trucking industry efforts to loosen current safety regulations and secondly by requiring safety technology like automatic emergency braking on all vehicles, especially large trucks.
"It is unacceptable that so many people continue to die on our roads while verified, lifesaving technologies like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning systems are not widely included as standard equipment in vehicles," the group based in
Most new passenger vehicles will have automatic emergency braking by 2022, by voluntary agreement of the automakers. But there are no minimum standards set by the government and no agreement by truck makers to have the equipment installed on all big trucks.
NHTSA continues to study the issue, The Star reported, some three years after the
"While NHTSA reveals these horrific new fatality figures," Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said, the
Among the regulations that have stalled is one that's been in the works for more than a decade that would require the drivers of big trucks to activate the speed-limiting equipment already installed on all semis since the 1990s. Speed is a contributing factor to the severity of most truck wrecks, yet both the George W. Bush and
Owings said this inaction by regulators "verged on criminality" considering all the lives lost to truck wrecks.
Yet as fatal truck wrecks have climbed every year but one this decade, some trucking industry groups have been attempting to loosen regulations limiting the number of hours truckers can be on the road, roll back mandates on electronic devices that log those hours and lobby the government to lower the minimum age for driving large trucks across state lines from the current 21 to 18.
The trucking industry is divided on a possible government mandate that would require technologies like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning systems.
The American Trucking Associations in
"Over-regulation is pushing out the safest, most experienced drivers," OOIDA president
NHTSA's breakdown of fatal truck wrecks in 2017 showed a nearly 6 percent increase in lethal wrecks involving tractor-trailer combinations and a nearly 19 percent increase in single-unit straight trucks.
While most victims of fatal truck wrecks are occupants of passenger vehicles, 2017 saw a steep, 16 percent increase in the number of truck drivers killed. Of the 4,761 people killed in truck wrecks, 841 were in the trucks.
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