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Are trucks getting safer or more dangerous to other drivers?

North Carolina holds significant risk for drivers on several interstate highways. One of the most common factors in deadly highway accidents is the presence of trucks, which can cause severe damage or injury in cars that are far smaller and lighter.

Are trucks getting safer?

It depends on how one looks at truck safety. Some developments are positive, like the proliferation of shields on trailers to prevent accidents in which a car may slide under a semi's load. But more people are dying in truck accidents, as there was a 28 percent increase in traffic deaths in truck crashes from 2009 to 2016.

What are the increasing dangers that drivers should know?

One of the most dangerous conditions is one about which other drivers can do very little. The increase in cellphone and social media use among drivers has left many truckers feeling able to check their messages or even read while driving. This increases the risk of a catastrophic rear-end collision in which a truck strikes one or more vehicles after failing to brake.

How can this problem be rectified?

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires forward crash avoidance systems, which can signal a possible hazard or even engage brakes in an emergency, on all tractor-trailer-type trucks. However, the NHTSA has yet to make those changes or even propose an alternative regulation.

How can drivers avoid dangerous truck collisions?

It is always advisable to leave the largest possible distances between a driver's car and any heavy trucks in the area, as this reduces the risk of every type of accident from rear-end collisions to damage done by loose cargo. If an accident does happen, consider contacting a lawyer as soon as all people on the scene are safe.

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