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Coalition identifies initiatives to eliminate traffic deaths

Traffic fatalities may drop in the years ahead for Pennsylvania drivers if the efforts of one transportation safety coalition are successful. The 675 members of the Road to Zero Coalition hope to completely eliminate traffic deaths by the year 2050. In 2016, the number of traffic fatalities rose 5.6 percent from the previous year to 37,461.

The coalition has identified a number of initiatives to make roads safer. For example, it wants to encourage a cultural shift toward prioritizing safety over behaviors such as speeding and driving while distracted or under the influence. It has also set a goal to bring seat belt compliance up to 100 percent from the current 90 percent. It's important to note that half of the people who die in car accidents fall in the 10 percent group not wearing seat belts.

Safety technology is another area where the coalition hopes improvement will lead to fewer accidents. This may be particularly significant for large trucks, which were involved in 4,317 deaths in 2016. One coalition member, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has identified several high-tech solutions that could reduce the incidence or severity of truck crashes by 25 percent if used on all large trucks. Those technologies are stability, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning and mitigation and blind spot detection. IIHS also identified side and rear underride guards as playing a significant part in safety since they protect occupants in smaller vehicles.

The size discrepancy between trucks and passenger vehicles is one element that makes a truck accident so serious. Truck drivers may also be particularly vulnerable to errors caused by the fatigue of driving long distances. When a motorist is injured in an accident caused by fatigue or another form of negligence, a personal injury claim may be in order. An attorney could help a victim obtain compensation.

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