All it takes is one instance of not being alert or attentive for driving to become less safe for North Carolina motorists sharing the road with large semi-trucks. This is what happened with one semi-truck driver who was staring at his tablet computer when his truck collided with a mid-size car and claimed four lives. In 2017 alone, more than 4,000 lives were lost as a result of large truck crashes. As these figures remain on the rise, no significant widespread action has been taken to stop this trend.

While some truck drivers do perish when truck accidents occur, the majority of the victims are occupants of cars and other smaller vehicles along with pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. The 2017 crash figures represent a nearly 30 percent spike since 2009. The advocacy group Road Safe America places part of the blame on a lack of action by regulatory agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On multiple occasions since the 1990s, the National Transportation Safety Board has made recommendations to the NHTSA to make crash avoidance and mitigation systems mandatory on large trucks. However, there have been no attempts by the agency to implement such regulations. In 2016, the NTSB made the case that many fatal large truck accidents could have been prevented if the NHTSA had taken action. Some lawmakers believe it’s time for Congress to take action to address the issue. In response to the criticism, the NHTSA reports that the organization is studying next-generation automatic emergency braking technology.

Because truck accidents often have unique circumstances involved, it might be helpful for an accident victim to work with an attorney to identify negligent parties. In some instances, a lawyer may be able to obtain fair compensation for medical expenses and other burdens with pre-trial mediation to avoid the hassle of a lengthy court battle.