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More Automation in Large Trucks Could Save Lives

Big rig crash

Large truck accidents are, like all traffic accidents, becoming increasingly common in the US. Researchers believe that, by introducing some of the same safety and automation technologies that are already available in many passenger vehicles, many severe accidents involving large trucks could be made less severe or prevented entirely. Read on to learn more, and contact a New Jersey truck accident lawyer if you’ve been injured in a crash.

Advanced safety features hold great potential for preventing crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that over 4,300 people died in accidents involving large commercial trucks in 2016. This is an increase of over 5% from the previous year’s total. Research has found that safety features such as front-crash warning and automatic emergency braking systems, when installed in passenger vehicles, have prevented many accidents and could prevent many more. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, for example, believes that about 107,000 accidents, nearly 30% of which involve large trucks, could be prevented or made less severe every year if vehicles used advanced safety technologies such as front-crash warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning and lane-departure warning systems. While these systems could prevent needless injuries and fatalities, the think tank Securing America’s Future Energy has found that only about 15% of all large commercial trucks use these sorts of crash-avoidance systems.

Greater use of automation could prevent additional accidents

In addition to added advanced safety technologies, some roadway safety experts assert that self-driving systems could make large trucks less likely to become involved in accidents. Despite several accidents that have drawn widespread media attention, many of which could be attributed in part to driver behavior, self-driving systems in motor vehicles are far safer than human-driven vehicles and hold the potential to save thousands of lives every year. Some of auto manufacturer Tesla’s passenger vehicles offer self-driving systems, but so far no commercially-available trucks offer autonomous driving systems.

That said, numerous manufacturers, including Daimler, Tesla, and Volvo, are currently testing self-driving features in large trucks. In fact, a truck using an automated driving system developed by Uber’s trucking subsidiary, Otto, traveled 120 miles in Colorado to make a beer delivery in 2017. Some manufacturers have discussed the option of designing the self-driving systems to operate during certain portions of a drive, such as while the truck is traveling a long stretch on a highway. Time spent driving on surface streets or when entering or exiting the highway would be controlled by the human driver, as would loading and unloading cargo.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a New Jersey tractor-trailer crash, find out if you’re a good candidate to file a claim for money damages by contacting the effective and seasoned personal injury lawyer Andrew R. Jacobs for a free consultation at 973-532-9681.

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