Drowsy and distracted truckers are behind many accidents in North Carolina and across the U.S. In 2017, a total of 4,102 people died in large truck crashes: a 28% increase from 2009. Of the fatalities, 17% were truck occupants whereas 68% were in passenger vehicles, and 14% were pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Despite the danger in having 80,000-pound trucks share the road with 3,000-pound cars, efforts to fights it have stalled.

In particular, safety groups are advocating the use of forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems on all heavy trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with a mandate for their use; in fact, it has done so at least 10 times since the 1990s, but the NHTSA is not budging. According to a written statement, the NHTSA is still studying automatic emergency braking tech, but critics say the agency is over-analyzing things.

Safety tech on trucks is badly needed as a growing economy and increased reliance on online shopping have led to a rising number of freight shipments by truck. Many new passenger vehicles come equipped with AEB and forward collision warning systems, and it’s predicted that by 2022, all new vehicles sold in the U.S. will have them. Compared to this, trucks are clearly behind.

Whatever happens, truckers are still responsible for their actions behind the wheel. If they cause motor vehicle accidents through their own fault, their company may find itself facing a personal injury claim. Those who survive truck crashes can be left with catastrophic injuries, which means that a claim they file will likely involve significant amounts of economic and non-economic damages. To ensure a fair settlement out of court, victims or their families may want to talk to an attorney.