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Coalition announces goal to eliminate traffic deaths

With an ambitious goal of bringing traffic deaths down to zero by the year 2050, an organization called the Road to Zero Coalition is pressing a number of initiatives aimed at improving road safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2016, more than 34,000 died in motor vehicle accidents. Of those deaths, more than 4,700 involved large trucks.

One of the coalition's initiatives is bringing seat belt use to 100 percent. It is already at 90 percent, but half of the fatalities were not wearing seat belts. Another is shifting the culture away from speeding, distracted driving and driving under the influence and toward a focus on safety first. The coalition also aims to improve safety technology in vehicles.

One member of the coalition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has looked at improving truck safety among other issues. According to a spokesman from the IIHS, forward collision warning and mitigation, blind spot detection, stability and lane departure warnings were all technologies that improved safety on large trucks. Over 25 percent of crashes involving these types of trucks would be prevented or made less severe with these technologies installed. The IIHS also supports low-tech safety solutions that will protect smaller vehicles when they have accidents with large trucks including rear and side underride guards.

Truck accidents may be particularly devastating because of the size of the vehicle relative to the size of passenger vehicles. A person who is injured in such an accident might suffer life-changing injuries. Compensation could be critical to paying medical expenses and making up for lost income while the injured person is recovering. Both the driver and the truck company might be liable in such an accident, and an attorney might be able to help a person obtain compensation either through negotiations or filing a lawsuit.

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