Truck crashes are more dangerous than most automobile accidents. Just the sheer size of these massive vehicles can cause more property damage, injuries and even deaths. However, these trucks are vital to American industry, responsible for transporting over 71% of all freight and employing 6% of all Americans. So, when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) trusted researchers revealed data about new trucking safety technology, federal regulators listened. According to the research, this new technology could prevent almost one-quarter of all truck crashes nationwide.
Led by Eric Teoh, director of statistical services at the IIHS, researchers studied crash data from over 2,000 incidents over two years. Across 62 trucking companies and two billion miles traveled, the IIHS discovered that two safety technologies could help prevent truck crashes and reduce the severity of injury: forward collision warning and automatic braking systems. Many fleet operators already include these systems on their trucks, in line with recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, including this tech is not yet law, so many trucks operate without it.
New Technology to Improve Commercial Truck Safety
New technologies have the potential to play a significant role in preventing commercial truck crashes and enhancing overall road safety. Here are several ways in which new technology can contribute to this goal:
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
ADAS technologies utilize sensors, cameras, and radar systems to assist drivers in making safer decisions on the road. Some examples include:
- Collision Avoidance Systems: These systems can automatically apply brakes or steer the truck to avoid collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles.
- Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist: These systems help prevent unintended lane departures by alerting drivers or gently steering the truck back into the lane.
- Adaptive Cruise Control: This technology maintains a safe following distance from vehicles ahead and can automatically adjust the truck's speed to match traffic conditions.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Blind spot monitoring systems use sensors to detect vehicles in the truck's blind spots. They provide visual or auditory alerts to help drivers avoid dangerous lane changes.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
AEB systems can automatically apply brakes to prevent or mitigate collisions. They are particularly effective in situations where the driver's reaction time might be too slow to prevent a crash.
Telematics and Fleet Management
Telematics systems collect and transmit real-time data from trucks to fleet managers. This information includes vehicle speed, location, braking patterns, and more. Fleet managers can use this data to identify risky driving behaviors and provide targeted training to drivers.
Advanced algorithms can analyze historical data to predict areas or situations with higher crash probabilities. This information can be used to design safer routes, adjust schedules, and allocate resources more effectively.
Fatigue Detection and Monitoring
Technologies like facial recognition and eye tracking can monitor driver behavior for signs of fatigue or distraction. Alarms can be triggered to alert drivers when they show signs of drowsiness.
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) Communication
V2V and V2I technologies allow vehicles to communicate with each other and with road infrastructure. This can help trucks coordinate movements, share information about road conditions, and receive warnings about potential hazards.
ELDs and Hours-of-Service Monitoring
Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) track driving hours to ensure compliance with regulations and prevent drivers from exceeding their allowable driving time, reducing the risk of fatigue-related crashes.
Simulation and Training
Virtual reality and simulation technologies can be used to provide realistic training scenarios for truck drivers, helping them practice handling challenging situations in a safe environment.
Enhanced Vehicle Design
Truck manufacturers are constantly improving vehicle design for safety. Features like improved visibility, reinforced crash zones, and driver-friendly cab layouts can reduce the likelihood of accidents.
The resistance to expanded regulation
Federal lawmakers may soon pick up this cause alongside recommendations from the IIHS. The new study found that this tech prevented 40% of truck crashes where the semi hits another car from behind, a particularly lethal combination. When studying the impact of two systems—collision avoidance systems and emergency braking systems—researchers discovered that trucks with forward collision warning had 22% fewer crashes than unequipped trucks, while trucks with emergency braking had 12% fewer.
Should these recommendations receive more lawmaker support, fleet operators and independent truckers may have to invest in these new systems to work. Before paying these hefty costs, industry professionals require more research. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association believes the study needs to expand its scope to include driver experience and safety records. The American Automobile Association wants the tech to become more reliable before being federally mandated.
However, it shakes out, it might be a while before these systems become standard on America’s biggest vehicles. Should you or a loved one face injury in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may have legal recourse. A local attorney familiar with Texas motor vehicle law can answer questions, assess your case and help secure the coverage you deserve.
Call a Texas truck accident attorney if you’ve suffered injuries in a truck crash
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a commercial truck accident, you need a personal injury lawyer with experience handling truck accident claims. Wyatt Law Firm’s team of truck accident lawyers has over three decades of experience helping clients like you obtain maximum compensation for their medical bills and other damages. Contact us today at 210-871-0628 or submit a confidential fact sheet to schedule a free consultation.