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Federal officials call for technology to halt truck crashes


Some of the worst accidents that take place on Nashville roads involve trucks at intersections where drivers have trouble seeing each other. Federal officials recently proposed technology that could potentially saving thousands of lives by reducing the occurrence of this kind of truck accident.

The technology is still in its early stages, but the idea is for cars and trucks to have wireless transmitters and receivers that alert drivers to potential collisions with other vehicles. The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal organization set up by Congress, recently called for the government to adopt the technology after studying two fatal accidents involving trucks that collided with school buses at intersections. The NTSB recommended that federal regulators begin working on standards that would ensure the technology in different vehicles is compatible with each other.

Another government agency, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, has spent a year testing the technology in 3,000 vehicles in Ann Arbor. The study, which focuses on preventing collisions at intersections, is scheduled to conclude this month.

Truck accidents are more dangerous than other traffic accidents, even at the lower speeds used in intersections. Because commercial trucks are much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, an accident that might be little more than a fender-bender between two cars could easily lead to serious injury or death if one of the vehicles is a large truck.

There may come a day when technology prevents these accidents from happening, but that day won't be any time soon. In the meantime, Tennessee residents who have been injured - or the families of those killed - in truck accidents are stuck with huge medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. They may be compensated for these damages through a lawsuit if the accident was caused by a truck driver's negligence or by a negligent truck company that violated federal trucking regulations.

Source: NBC News, "NTSB calls for wireless technology to let all vehicles 'talk' to each other," M. Alex Johnson, July 23, 2013

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