Four highway safety groups have petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require large tractor-trailer trucks to be outfitted with collision alert systems. The collision alert systems would alert truck drivers to stopped traffic and automatically brake if the trucker failed to respond.
According to the petition, the requirement would apply to all trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more. Groups supporting the petition are arguing that 2,500 truck accidents could be avoided every year. The groups responsible for the petition also cite research from the NHTSA, showing that automatic braking systems cost $270 to $290 per truck.
Trucking companies have previously explored the option of using computers and other sensors to detect objects and avoid accidents. Presently, 50,000 of the largest trucks on the road are equipped with collision safety systems that use a front-mounted radar to sense potential accidents. However, 50,000 is a small fraction of vehicles, as there are currently millions of large semi-trucks driving across the country on a daily basis.
New technologies used to avoid truck accidents are not mandatory, and it is likely that many trucking companies will not make changes to avoid extra expenses. Companies that can afford the changes might see it as worth the cost to avoid possible litigation for truck accidents.
How Would the New Technologies Work to Reduce Truck Accidents?
How exactly do proponents of new technologies hope to reduce the number truck accidents? By observing the causes of truck accidents, many of which result from driver fatigue or speeding, proponents argue that having some degree of automation would help reduce the number of fatal accidents.
For example, truck accidents caused by driver fatigue would become far less likely to happen if a vehicle could keep itself confined to one lane or from hitting other vehicles.
Frederick M. Dudek is a San Diego injury attorney with experience fighting for victims of truck accidents and their families. To receive regular updates on Dudek Law Firm and learn more about how we help personal injury victims, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Dudek Law Firm, APC – San Diego Injury Attorney
Did You Know? One major automobile manufacturer is working on a semi-truck that will be able to drive itself on highways and interstates.