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Mandating automatic emergency braking on trucks could have spared my family a horrific loss | READER COMMENTARY

In this Monday, March 25, 2019, file photo, cars and trucks travel on Interstate 5 near Olympia, Washington. A study says that safety features such as automatic emergency braking and forward collision warnings could prevent more than 40% of crashes in which semis rear-end other vehicles. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
In this Monday, March 25, 2019, file photo, cars and trucks travel on Interstate 5 near Olympia, Washington. A study says that safety features such as automatic emergency braking and forward collision warnings could prevent more than 40% of crashes in which semis rear-end other vehicles. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) (Ted S. Warren/AP)

My wife might be alive today, and my son might not be in a wheelchair unable to talk, had the truck that rear-ended them 11 years ago had automatic emergency braking or AEB. The U.S. Senate will soon be voting on a multiyear, multibillion-dollar surface transportation bill, S. 2016, the Surface Transportations Investment Act. The bill directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to mandate that lifesaving AEB technology on new large trucks. However, due to the influence of the trucking lobby, the bill excludes small and medium sized trucks (”Truck Safety, Driver Age Spur Advocate Divisions on Highway Bill,” July 14).

Every day, hundreds of thousands of these trucks travel through our neighborhoods satisfying our e-commerce delivery needs. As one who has lost a loved one in a preventable truck crash, it is impossible to justify this deadly loophole. These trucks are responsible for 27% of all truck crash deaths and threaten the safety of our children, pets and neighbors.

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While the passenger vehicle industry is voluntarily installing all sorts of collision avoidance technology, including AEB, the trucking industry resists every effort safety advocates make at getting them to do the same. I encourage U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen to oppose this loophole and require AEB on all new trucks.

Research shows that AEB can dramatically reduce crashes and save lives. It’s time to require all new trucks to be equipped with this affordable and available technology.

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Ed Slattery, Lutherville

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