When it opposes technologies designed to prevent fatal trucking accidents, the trucking industry typically argues that they aren’t cost-effective. Lobbyists often contend the financial costs exceed what would be prevented – in terms of lives, serious injuries, and property.
A respected traffic safety organization put that argument to the test, providing a cost-benefit analysis of several safety systems that could save many lives lost in truck crashes.
Leading Cause of Fatal Trucking Accidents is Human Error
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently released the findings of its study examining the relative benefits of four safety technologies for trucks. All four address the leading cause of catastrophic truck accidents: human error.
One technology is lane departure warning systems. They alert the truck driver when a big rig weaves onto the highway shoulder or into another driving lane. This can happen when the truck driver is not alert or focused on the road ahead.
According to AAA, lane departure warning systems placed on all large commercial trucks could prevent 6,300 trucking accidents, 1,340 injuries, and 115 deaths each year.
If video-based onboard safety monitoring systems were on all big rigs, the report estimates they would save nearly 300 people each year. Truckers who know they are being visually monitored and recorded may be less likely to speed or engage in other dangerous behaviors.
Almost 5,300 truck accidents would be prevented and 55 lives saved per year with automatic emergency braking systems. These systems, using sensors, driver warnings and automatic braking ability, help prevent trucks from rear-ending vehicles in front of them. Such accidents occur frequently when traffic is stopped and truck drivers aren’t paying attention.
The AAA study found that air disc brakes on all large commercial trucks would prevent 37 deaths and nearly 1,500 injuries each year. The study notes that disc brakes can stop big rigs much quicker, which is important when truckers don’t react properly to changing road or weather conditions.
Victims’ Cost from Trucking Accidents
The researchers calculated the costs facing victims of serious trucking accidents, including medical care, property damages, lost wages, diminished quality of life, and pain and suffering. These costs were then compared to the economic factors on the trucking ledger: the cost of acquiring, installing and maintaining the systems.
For each of the trucking safety technologies, the researchers concluded their benefits – lives saved, injuries avoided, property undamaged – far outweigh the costs borne by the trucking industry to adopt them.
When truck drivers and truck companies act negligently and cause crashes that severely injure or kill others, they should be held accountable and pay for the harm they inflict.
If you lost a loved one or suffered serious injuries in an accident with a commercial truck, contact a truck accident attorney to investigate your claim.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.
Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog November 8, 2017