Advanced trucking safety technologies that are already available could prevent thousands of deadly truck crashes and hundreds of deaths each year, according to a recent report from AAA. Unfortunately, trucking company greed and Washington bureaucracy are holding up the push to require these safety systems on America’s big rig trucks.
In a September 2017 report, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that installing advanced safety technologies on all large trucks could prevent 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries, and 293 deaths annually.
“There’s no question that truck safety technology saves lives,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. He also said that “adding many of these technologies to trucks clearly outweigh the costs.”
Judges and juries are also taking notice of trucking companies dragging their feet with safety. This is helping trucking accident victims get the justice and compensation they deserve after a truck wreck.
Below, we’ll discuss the benefits of these safety systems both on the road and in the courtroom.
““There’s no question that truck safety technology saves lives,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. He also said that “adding many of these technologies to trucks clearly outweigh the costs.” “
These Are the Life-Saving Impacts of New Trucking Technologies
The authors of the AAA report classified the trucking technologies they studied into four basic categories:
- Video-based onboard safety monitoring systems observe and record what happens inside the truck’s cab.
- Lane departure warning systems issue a warning when a truck begins to drift from its lane.
- Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems use radar- and camera-based technologies to automatically apply a vehicle’s brakes if it looks like a slow-moving or stopped object is ahead.
- Air disc brakes make trucks easier to stop, and they also require less maintenance than traditional drum brakes.
By installing even one of these four technologies on all large trucks, the report said, trucking companies could prevent thousands of crashes and dozens of deaths per year. For example, AAA found that installing automatic emergency braking systems alone could prevent 5,294 crashes, prevent 2,753 injuries, and save 55 lives annually.
Unfortunately, many trucking companies refuse to implement these life-saving technologies, often citing the costs of installation. However, installing one of these technologies costs only a few thousand dollars per truck. And many of these innovations have been shown to save companies money in the long term.
How Will New Truck Safety Technologies Affect My Truck Accident Case?
For victims who have already suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a crash with a large truck, technologies like video-based monitoring systems can provide important evidence in a lawsuit. Video recordings from inside the cab can establish what a driver was doing at the time of a wreck. For example, they can help prove that the driver was engaging in negligent behavior like:
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving while fatigued or drowsy
- Driving while intoxicated
- Falsifying logs
- Driving extra-long hours in violation of regulations
Even if advanced safety technologies aren’t present, the simple fact that they exist can strengthen an injured truck crash victim’s lawsuit. In some cases, courts have actually considered trucking companies’ failure to install available and affordable safety systems as negligent behavior in itself, and injured victims have received compensation as a result.
Regulatory Push to Require Advanced Safety Technology Remains in Limbo
Far too many trucking companies remain motivated mainly by short-term profits, which means that life-saving innovations probably won’t get implemented throughout the trucking industry unless Congress or a federal regulatory body like the U.S. Department of Transportation moves to make them mandatory.
Unfortunately, that scenario currently seems like a distant one, as a 2016 regulatory and lawmaking push to study and promote new truck safety technologies remains stalled.
“AAA found that installing automatic emergency braking systems alone could prevent 5,294 crashes, prevent 2,753 injuries, and save 55 lives annually. “
In November of 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigates highway wrecks and proposes policy solutions, said that it was “disappointed” by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s lack of progress in promoting the development and advancement of new collision avoidance technologies for large trucks and other commercial vehicles. They urged quick action on the matter.
In the same month, the U.S. House Rules Committee refused to consider an amendment to a $325 billion transportation bill that would have required collision avoidance systems on most commercial trucks within three years.
Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, through a spokesperson, refused to provide any explanation for the committee’s decision, saying it handles too many proposals to comment on each one.
“The rules committee decided in its abundant wisdom that it was not in order,” said Representative Hank Johnson, who proposed the amendment. “They don’t have to give a reason.”
Meanwhile, the total number of fatalities from large truck crashes has increased steadily in the last decade. In 2015 alone, 3,852 people died in collisions with tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks, up from 3,147 deaths in 2009.
Contact Crosley Law Firm if You’ve Been Injured. We Represent Trucking Accident Victims in San Antonio and Across Texas.
If you or someone you know has been injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation, and the team at Crosley Law Firm is ready to handle your case. Our attorneys are well-versed in Texas law as well as important federal regulations that deal with large trucks, which means we have the knowledge and experience to hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies accountable.
We handle all personal injury cases on a contingent-fee basis, so you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we make a financial recovery on your behalf. We also offer free initial consultations. Please call Crosley Law Firm at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a no-risk meeting with us today.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. (2017, September 21). Truck safety technology can prevent 63,000 crashes each year [press release]. Retrieved from http://newsroom.aaa.com/2017/09/truck-safety-technology-can-prevent-63000-crashes-year/
Edwards, J. (2015, November 24). Technology that could curb truck deaths is mired in DC bureaucracy. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved from http://www.myajc.com/news/news/transportation/technology-that-could-curb-truck-deaths-is-mired-i/npRNN/
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (2016, November). Fatality facts: Large trucks: 2015. Ruckersville, VA: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Retrieved from http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.