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Rear-End Truck Accidents: Proposed AEB Requirement Could Prevent Crashes

A red tractor-trailer in the rearview mirror of a car driving down the highway.

Getting rear-ended by a tractor-trailer can result in severe injuries and fatalities.

Automatic emergency braking systems on 18-wheelers and other heavy vehicles have been proven to reduce the severity and frequency of rear-end truck accidents.

Saying that lives could be saved, two federal agencies announced a proposal that would require heavy vehicles to be equipped with advanced driver assistance systems, according to a report by The Trucker.

Rear-end crashes involving big rigs often lead to severe injury or death in communities throughout Massachusetts and nationwide. The requirement could lead to safer roads and highways. Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems use sensors to detect an imminent crash. The system applies the truck's brakes if the driver fails to do so.

Requiring AEB systems could save lives

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require the technology on heavy vehicles. The NHTSA released statistics showing that about 60,000 rear-end crashes involving a heavy vehicle rear-ending a smaller vehicle occur each year.

The NHTSA estimates the new rule would prevent about 19,118 truck accidents, save 155 lives, and prevent more than 8,814 injuries each year.

Trucker negligence is a common cause of crashes

Distracted driving remains one of the top causes of rear-end crashes involving 18-wheelers. A truck driver talking on a cell phone, texting, or fiddling with the radio might not notice a slowdown in traffic and could crash into the vehicle in front, causing a devastating chain reaction crash. Other factors in rear-end truck crashes include:

  • Tailgating: Truckers should keep a safe distance. A truck driver following too closely could cause a catastrophic accident if the driver in front suddenly hits the brakes. Remember, a tractor-trailer requires a longer stopping distance due to its massive size and weight.
  • Drunk driving: Impaired drivers are dangerous drivers because alcohol leads to loss of judgment and lowered alertness. That's why the FMCSA holds professional truck drivers to rigorous standards regarding drinking and driving.
  • Fatigued driving: While there are federal regulations to restrict the number of hours a truck driver can stay behind the wheel, many break the rules to meet deadlines. They may drive while fatigued, which could lead to impairment or falling asleep behind the wheel.

What to do if you're rear-ended by a semi-truck

A rear-end truck accident can lead to severe injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. In some cases, victims in the smaller vehicle die as a result of the crash.

A serious accident can be life-changing, whether you were injured or you lost a loved one. These accidents can also lead to complex claims. It might seem clear that the trucker was at fault, but other factors often play a role. A defective truck part might have contributed to the accident. Another driver on the road might have committed a negligent act. Or the trucking company may be responsible.

How a truck accident attorney can help

With so much at stake, it’s important to contact an attorney to protect your rights and review your potential legal options. Medical bills can pile up. You may be unable to work and collect a paycheck. At the same time, the insurance companies might be offering a lowball settlement that doesn’t cover all of the expenses.

If you were involved in a rear-end truck accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone to arrange a free consultation. Our knowledgeable attorneys have experience handling complex accident claims involving big rigs and can work for you while you focus on your recovery.

Best of all, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we win your case. Reach out today to find out how we can help.

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If you were injured or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident in Boston, Worcester, Springfield or Holyoke, a personal injury lawyer can fight to help you obtain compensation you deserve. At the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone, serving Massachusetts, our personal injury attorneys have an impressive record of trial verdicts and settlements.

Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone