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Tools That Prevent Serious Truck Crashes

There are proven measures to prevent one type of serious big rig accidents.  But could the reason the trucking industry would not widely adopt them be money?

One of the most catastrophic commercial truck crashes is when the tractor-trailer rear ends a car.  Often times the car that it is hit by a commercial truck pinballs into other vehicles.  These multi-vehicle wrecks caused by an 18-wheeler can leave a wake of serious personal injuries and fatalities.

Crashes Caused by Inattentive Truck Drivers

Inattentive truckers are often to blame for rear-end crashes.  The failure by a truck driver to properly react to changing road or traffic conditions ahead can be the result of careless behavior, including:

·         Trucker distracted by talking or texting on a cell phone

·         Truck driver fatigued by too many hours spent on the road

·         Commercial truck driver under the influence of illegal or illicit drugs

·         Trucker driving too fast for the road or weather conditions

A new survey provides an answer as to how to prevent a good number of serious commercial truck rear-end crashes: technology.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in early September released the findings of its latest research into big-rig accidents. The IIHS is a nonprofit organization working to reduce fatal truck and car crashes.

The study (“Effectiveness of Front Crash Prevention Systems in Reducing Large Truck Crash Rates) was based on reviewing truck driving data from 2017-2019.  The data were taken from a video-based monitoring system in truck cabs. The information told researchers which of the rigs had two safety technology systems:

·         Truck automatic emergency braking systems

·         Truck forward collision warning systems

Avoidable Truck Rear-End Crashes

Included in the truck driving data were some 2,000 truck crashes.  The research focused on the more serious tractor-trailer wrecks; eliminating any that had no injuries or little personal property damage.

The study shows that this trucking safety technology has a dramatic positive impact:

·         Big rigs with forward collision warning systems had 44 percent fewer rear-end crashes

·         18-wheelers with automatic emergency braking systems had 41 percent fewer rear-end crashes

And trucks employing this technology had fewer crashes of any type compared to rigs without. Researchers also found that crashes not prevented by these safety tools tended to be less severe because they slowed down the trucks before impact.

No sooner did these results become public than the trucking industry objected to them. Almost immediately the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a trucking trade association, questioned the accuracy of the study.

When announcing the study’s results, the IIHS noted that commercial trucks are not required to have either AEB or forward collision warning systems.

So are the trucking industry’s objections to employing safety technology that can reduce serious crashes based on empirical evidence or an effort to protect their bottom lines? This is not the first incidence of trucking concerns belittling known safety measures that protect the public.

If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a commercial 18-wheeler, turn to a truck accident attorney who has experience in holding trucking companies and truck driver responsible for their negligence.

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

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog September 10, 2020