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Drunk Driving Crash in Arden

NHTSA urged to mandate crash avoidance systems for large trucks

Truck accident fatalities around the country rose by an alarming 28 percent to more than 4,300 in 2016 according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures. This surge in semi-tractor trailer crash deaths has prompted the National Transportation Safety Board and road safety advocacy groups to urge the agency to make forward collision avoidance systems mandated safety equipment on all large trucks driven in North Carolina and elsewhere. The NTSB has made similar requests to the NHTSA on at least 10 occasions since the technology was developed in the late 1990s.

Safety groups say that autonomous forward collision avoidance systems could reduce rear-end big rig accidents by up to 70 percent and save hundreds of lives each year. When these systems are unable to prevent a crash, they greatly reduce the severity of injuries according to road safety experts.The NHTSA does not question these findings, and it says that field testing of the latest truck accident avoidance technology should be completed within two years.

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AAA points out over-reliance on car safety tech

In North Carolina and across the U.S., more and more people are relying on driver assistance systems to stay safe on the road. Yet many overestimate the abilities of such technology, forgetting that it's meant to assist, not replace, the driver. This is the conclusion of a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Researchers found, for example, that 80 percent of drivers with blind-spot monitoring systems are not aware of its limited ability to detect fast-approaching cars, cyclists and pedestrians. A quarter of respondents were so confident in their technology that they never look for oncoming motorists when changing lanes.

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Teens may benefit from realistic drivers' ed programs

Teen drivers in North Carolina and other states are often considered to be the ones who are more likely to take risks while behind the wheel. According to results from a university study, a realistic supplemental drivers' education program that includes emergency room, ICU and morgue visits may boost awareness of risky driving behaviors among younger drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the leading cause of accidental teen deaths are motor vehicle collisions.

The supplemental risk reduction program referenced in the study included nearly two dozen teens referred by the courts or their parents because of instances of risky driving. During the six-hour program, participants received firsthand accounts of health care professionals' experiences with victims of car accidents, watched videos, toured various areas of a hospital and formed safe driving plans with their parents that included written contracts.

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