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Tony Seaton supports mandating truck braking technology

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Congress may have just passed an important highway safety bill, but the legislation didn't include a new mandate that could save a significant number of lives. Republican Congressman Hank Johnson had proposed a new mandate that would require all commercial vehicles to have radar-based automatic braking technology within three years. However, the proposal didn't make it into the final legislation.

Johnson City truck accident attorney Tony Seaton says the proposal's exclusion was a big mistake. "Requiring automatic braking technology on trucks is one of the biggest things we can do to reduce truck accidents and improve highway safety," he argued. "Automatic braking has been around for a long time, so implementation of it on the nation's commercial fleet is long overdue. I can't think of a reason not to do it."

This technology uses radar to detect when traffic is stalled in front of a truck. If traffic is stalled, the technology will automatically enforce the truck's brakes, preventing a dangerous rear-end collision. That could eliminate one of the biggest threats posed by truck's on the nation's highways.

"A truck can be extremely dangerous when it's barreling down on a car at a high speed," explained Mr. Seaton. "I've seen too many people who were either killed or seriously injured or disabled because a truck driver was too fatigued or distracted to stop in time. What might just be a fender bender between two cars becomes a deadly accident when it involves a truck and a car."

The House Rules Committee made the decision not to include the proposal in the final bill. Committee Chairman Pete Sessions wouldn't elaborate on why the proposal was left out. However, some in the trucking industry felt the proposal would be unfair to smaller trucking companies because the cost to install the technology would be prohibitively expensive.

Mr. Seaton doesn't buy that argument. "I have no doubt that installing new technology is costly," he argued. "But is it more expensive than paying a settlement to a family who just lost a loved one? This technology saves lives and should be used."

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