Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

Is technology the solution to avoiding truck accidents?

It seems as if every time you get behind the wheel of your car, you are placing your life at risk. More vehicles than ever are on the roads, and Tennessee speed limits continue to increase. Throw in a fleet of truckers anxious to meet their deadlines, and you have a recipe for tragedy.

From time to time, TV news or safety advocates will warn drivers of smaller vehicles what they can do to avoid being in an accident with a truck. Avoiding blind spots, keeping your distance and trying not to cut off a tractor-trailer are all sage pieces of advice, but sometimes no precautions can prevent a collision with a truck if the operator makes a critical error.

The benefits of new safety options

The most recent data shows that over 400,000 accidents involved tractor-trailers and other large trucks in a 15-month period. These crashes took the lives of over 4,000 people and caused 116,000 or more to suffer injuries, many of them life-altering. However, it likely doesn't take numbers and statistics to increase your anxiety when driving near big rigs. Their sheer size, weight and speed as they roll past you is convincing enough to make your mind begin to play the ""What-if"" game.

Nevertheless, there may be hope for safer travels, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Technological advances in trucking safety have shown promise in reducing the number of accidents and injuries involving trucks. In fact, AAA believes that the trucking industry can prevent 63,000 accidents annually by adding certain features to every big rig, including:

  • Video safety monitoring, which records the actions of the driver as well as the activity outside the rig
  • Automatic braking systems, which help the truck stop sooner in case the driver fails to apply the brakes appropriately
  • Air disc brakes, which reduce the amount of road a truck needs to come to a stop
  • Lane departure warnings, which alert the driver if the truck crosses the line

Tests and research into these four technologies show that, not only does the new technology offer the possibility of reducing catastrophic trucking accidents, it may also relieve drivers like you to know the trucker next to you has access to those tools to improve safety.

The drawbacks

Of course, technology is only efficient if someone uses it. Many smaller trucking companies may not be able to afford to have such instruments installed in their vehicles, and larger companies may not be willing to spend the money if they don't see a return on their investments.

A more basic concern is that, with advanced technology in their vehicles, truck drivers may become even more careless, relying on the technology to do the work for them. Additionally, a truck driver who is distracted or impaired is still a risk to you and your family. You have every right to expect the trucking industry to do its part to keep the roads safe and to seek legal assistance if you have suffered due to the negligence of a truck driver.

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Memphis, TN 38103

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