Local optometrist advocates for safety technology on all semi trucks: 'This has got to stop'

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As we’re learning new information into the fatal I-65 crash that took three young lives, a local doctor says it’s time to action at the federal level to prevent something like this from happening again.

Jim Haines of Zionsville Eyecare says he’s tired of the tragedy.

“I got thinking, this has got to stop,” said Haines, “There’s got to be some way we can reduce the likelihood of these accidents.”

Along with Sunday’s fatal I-65 crash and last summer’s similar accident on I-465, he’s also been personally impacted.

“It started about four years ago, one of my colleagues from Greenwood, Dr. Jill Buck lost her life along with her two sons coming back from Chicago on I-65, just north of Lafayette,” Haines explained.

His colleague was killed, along with others by a semi-truck that didn’t stop in time. A terrible tragedy that pushed Haines to be an advocate for change in hopes of making highways across the country safer.

“The cost of litigating a fatal accident over negligence cost millions of dollars. Why don’t we put millions of dollars into technology to avoid these?” Haines asked.

Now he wants to see a federal mandate to equip all semi’s with collision avoidance systems.

“What it does it measures the vehicle in front of the truck and if it sees the vehicle approaching too quickly it puts the brakes on, whether the driver is aware of it or not,” John Paugh explained.

It’s a safety system that some trucking companies already use, like Carter Logistics in Anderson. President and CEO John Paugh says they have seen a reduction in accidents because of the technology.

“The technology first came out in 2017 and since then 100 percent of our new truck purchases have had it,” Paugh added.

Dr. Haines hopes by sharing this will begin what he calls a much-needed conversation and that people will reach out to their local representatives like he has to push for this idea to become a federal mandate.

“It’s been around for years; many cars already have it and many trucks have it also,” said Haines, “So, implementing that by mandate I think is something that needs to be done.”

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