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Safety coalition hopes to reach zero traffic deaths by 2050

Safety initiatives by the Road to Zero Coalition may make roads in West Virginia and throughout the country less dangerous in the decades ahead as the coalition has set a goal to end all traffic fatalities by 2050. The CEO of the National Safety Council says that although autonomous cars are likely still some way off, safety technology can still play a significant part in reducing fatal traffic accidents. The coalition has identified other focuses as well to bring down the numbers of deadly motor vehicle crashes.

The numbers rose in 2016 after several years of decline, with a 5.6 percent climb compared to 2015 resulting in the deaths of 37,461 people. Large trucks were involved in accidents that claimed 4,317 of those lives. Several of the initiatives proposed apply to trucks as well such as getting seat belt compliance to 100 percent from 90 percent. The coalition also plans to push toward a culture more focused on safety and away from behaviors such as driving under the influence, distracted driving and speeding.

One coalition member, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, supports low-tech solutions for truck safety such as rear and side underride guards. The organization has also found that accidents would be significantly reduced or made less serious if all trucks had lane departure warnings, forward collision warning and mitigation, blind spot detection and stability.

Truck accidents may be serious for several reasons including the size of big rigs compared to that of passenger vehicles. Trucks may also jackknife or roll or could be carrying hazardous materials, and for those that do not have underride guards installed, shearing the tops off passenger vehicles is a possibility. If people are injured in a truck accident and it is the fault of the truck driver, the victims might want to talk to an attorney about obtaining compensation.

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