A truck crash that killed five nursing students in Georgia is leading to renewed calls for mandating collision avoidance systems on heavy trucks.
Five Georgia Southern University nursing students were killed last Wednesday in a seven-vehicle crash on Interstate 16.
Truck driver John Wayne Johnson, 55, of Shreveport, Louisiana, failed to stop in time and crashed into traffic slowed on the interstate around 5:45 a.m. due to an earlier wreck. Seven vehicles, including two tractor trailers and five passenger cars, were involved in the crash.
Four of the students died at the scene. Three other students were taken to the hospital, where one died. Three other people were also injured in the crash.
The crash led Road Safe America founder Stephen Owings to renew his call for Congress and the federal government to require collision-avoidance systems in all tractor-trailer trucks, reports WSB-TV 2 in Atlanta.
In February, Owings' Road Safe America joined with three other safety advocacy groups in petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to initiate a rulemaking that would require forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking (what they dubbed F-CAM) systems on all new trucks and buses rated at 10,000 pounds or more GVW. The lobbies argued that specific technology exists that would markedly reduce truck-related crashes if it were mandated on commercial vehicles.
Owings formed Road Safe America after his son Cullum died in 2002 when a truck failed to stop behind congested traffic.
Meanwhile, a wrongful death suit could be in the works. According to StatesboroHerald.com, an attorney representing the mother of one those killed has previously sued the trucking company involved, Total Transportation of Mississippi. Fried said the trucking company's record "shows a systemic history of unsafe driving."
WSBV-TV reports that according to DOT records, Total Transportation's 740 vehicles have been involved in 85 other crashes over the last two years, leading to 27 injuries. Company drivers got citations in at least four of those crashes.