Truck accidents can be particularly devastating. Because of the sheer size of these vehicles, when accidents happen, the possibility of victims suffering serious injuries is increased. The Cooper Law Firm is a Canton, Van Zandt, Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson, Paris, and Marshall, Texas truck accident law firm that works with truck accident victims and their families to help them seek compensation for their personal injuries and losses after a truck accident. Despite the risks that large trucks pose to others on the road, new technologies offer the promise of safer trucking. The trucking industry makes billions each year. It is the responsibility of truck drivers, truck companies, insurers, and other stakeholders to work together to take steps to make trucking safer for everyone. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018 alone. Many more were injured. Many of these accidents are preventable. Technology is one way that truck accidents can be prevented. Here are three recent technological innovations that could go a long way to making trucking safer.
• Truck Backup Sensors. The area directly behind a large truck is a major blind spot for truckers. When a truck driver is backing up, he or she might rely on mirrors, and warning systems that rely on others moving out of the way. Rear-sensors can warn a truck driver if there is an object behind the vehicle. Other manufacturers who make sensors for autonomous vehicles are also pitching these sensors to the trucking industry. However, the trucking industry might be slower to adopt sensors because the sheer size of a large truck requires an investment of many sensors in order for the driver to have adequate warning systems. That said, many truck fleets and companies are investing in new vehicles with these warning systems that could give drivers an extra layer of warnings and protections.
• Biometric Sensors. Fatigued driving is incredibly dangerous. Even a driver who is following federal hours of service laws can find him or herself tired after even just an 8-hour shift. Research indicates that the risk of a crash can increase if a driver is on the road for more than 8 hours. Sometimes drivers who are fatigued may not always be aware right away when they are getting tired. New technology, like biometric sensors, can warn a driver when his or her eyelids are closing or when his or her head is drooping more frequently, a sign that he or she may be fatigued. According to the New York Times, fatigue as a cause of truck accidents may be underreported. One expert who works in the long-haul trucking industry estimates that as many as 70 percent of accidents might be the result of fatigue.
• Electronic Stability Control. The consequences of a truck driver losing control of his or her vehicle can be immense. Electronic stability control lets the computer take over, allowing the car’s computer system to perform emergency driving maneuvers that normally only an expert could perform. These systems could mean the difference between the driver losing control of the truck and the truck maintaining its intended course. In fact, these systems are so believed to provide safety benefits that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed making these systems mandatory on all large vehicles. The NHTSA also notes that these systems may be able to prevent vehicle rollovers (as many as 40-56 percent of rollovers and 14 percent of accidents involving loss of control of the vehicle). However, these safety systems can be costly. Because of this, the industry may push back on implementing these systems and may fight new regulations.
While there are a range of new technologies available that could make the trucking industry much safer, truck companies may be late to adopt many of these new technologies. The cost of new technology can sometimes be prohibitive and many truck companies may only choose to adopt technology when it becomes required by law or when insurance companies incentivize the implementation of these technologies. When accidents happen, they can be costly for both victims and truck companies. Victims may be entitled to seek damages from truck companies for their injuries and losses and truck companies can face lawsuits or higher insurance rates as a result of accident claims. Everyone benefits when trucks are safer. Unfortunately, sometimes truck companies don’t take steps to make their trucks safer, and sometimes truck companies fail to perform even the most basic maintenance to keep trucks safe.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck accident, the Cooper Law Firm, a truck accident law firm in Canton, Van Zandt, Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson, Paris, and Marshall, Texas may be able to help you. Our firm can review maintenance schedules, look at what technology the company implemented for safety purposes, and review other factors to determine whether the truck company cut corners, resulting in your crash. Have questions about your rights? You may only have a limited amount of time to make a claim under the law. Reach out to the truck accident lawyers at the Cooper Law Firm today. Or connect with USAttorneys.com to get matched with the attorneys at the Cooper Law Firm.