Can Better Technology Prevent Fatal Truck Accidents?

What can be done to reduce the high number of fatal truck crashes in the United States? Sincedriver error is a leading contributor in deadly truck accidents, one answer may be equipping tractor trailers with better technology.

Collision avoidance technology is widespread today in U.S. passenger cars. These systems alert drivers to upcoming dangerous roadway situations and, when necessary, initiate actions to avoid an accident situation. Four leading U.S. highway safety groups have called for the federal government to mandate large commercial trucks be outfitted with similar life-saving technology.

The advocacy groups are: Center for Auto Safety, Truck Safety Coalition, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and Road Safe America. They jointly petitioned the National Traffic Safety Administration to force all new trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds be outfitted with what is called a forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking system (F-CAM).

Trucking Accident Deaths Increased 16 Percent, Injuries 40 Percent

According to the groups, the number of deaths in large truck accidents increased 16 percent between 2009 and 2012 – to more than 3,900. And the number of people injured in truck crashes jumped to 104,000, a 40 percent rise. The groups project the weight of freight shipments in the United States to increase 63 percent by 2040, only heightening the chances for catastrophic trucking accidents.

One solution to reversing this tragic trend, according to the safety groups, is forward collision avoidance systems.

Preventing Deadly Rear-End Truck Collisions

Like the passenger car systems, the technology warns a truck driver – who may not be paying sufficient attention – that his or her rig is getting too close to a vehicle. If the driver doesn’t respond and onboard sensors calculate that a crash is imminent, the system automatically hits the brakes. The object is to prevent or diminish catastrophic rear-end truck crashes.

F-CAM technology exists today. However, the advocacy groups argue that there are no current standards for the systems and companies that buy new trucks don’t often order the option. According to the groups, if today’s forward collision avoidance system were employed at the scale they call for, the technology would prevent more than 2,500 crashes, saving hundreds of lives. The groups estimate that future systems could prevent over 6,300 truck accidents each year.

Trucking Companies Don’t Always Do the Right Thing

Trucking companies often are more concerned with their bottom line rather than the safety of others. So following a crash, you can’t count on trucking companies to do what’s right. If you had a loved one killed or catastrophically injured in an accident involving a large truck, you may want to consult with an attorney experienced in dealing with trucking companies to pursue just compensation on your behalf.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.