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September 26, 2019

Technology Used For the Prevention of Truck Accidents

Fatalities resulting from trucking accidents have continued to increase over the years. There have been ongoing debates between the trucking industry and federal regulators about what causes these accidents. According to the latest statistical figures, approximately five thousand people traveling in passenger vehicles lose their lives every year in crashes involving semi-trucks. On the other hand, these accidents result in the death of seven hundred people traveling in semi-trucks.

The recent boost in the economy has led to an increase in driven miles, which is considered to be one of the reasons behind the increasing number of accidents. However, as far as trucking accidents are concerned, driver fatigue is accepted to be the number one reason. At present, the average age of semi-truck and large truck drivers is around fifty. Therefore, it is likely that driver fatigue-related truck accidents will only increase in the days to come.

The American Trucking Association mentions that they are proactively exploring the possibilities of using new technologies for improved driver performance and vehicle safety. The good news is that many companies have already developed different types of fatigue monitoring systems. However, even after observing the success of technology tools in reducing the number of car accidents, the trucking industry is extremely sluggish in adopting these technologies. For example, the use of airbags is still not mandatory in the US for large trucks. 

Mentioned below are some of the latest technological innovations that can drastically reduce the number of truck accidents.

Eyelid Monitoring: These systems make use of cabin mounted cameras capable of monitoring the eyelids of a driver. In case the driver’s eyelids droop, the system alerts him or her of danger by sounding a warning. A company named Delphi (News - Alert) Automotive has already created a safety system that can sense if the driver is blinking too fast, or the movement of his head indicates that he is sleepy. The cost for the installation of these eyelid-monitoring devices is estimated to be within $500 to $2500. Compared to the overall price of new trucks, this is just a small increase.

Automatic Brakes: Another automotive safety company has recently created a crash avoidance system that warns truck drivers about lane obstructions and collisions resulting from such obstructions. These systems make use of radars to apply automatic brakes, whenever an imminent crash is detected. It also helps maintain a safe distance between vehicles by adjusting cruise control. The cost of installation of these systems in a semi-truck is approximately $2,000 to $2,500. A study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and funded by NHTSA confirmed that the use of these safety systems can prevent three hundred fatalities per year.

Electronic Stability Control: ESC (News - Alert) technology has been used extensively in cars for many years, and NHTSA is currently engaged in efforts to make these systems mandatory for all large trucks. Computer-controlled systems for steering and braking are used by these devices to reduce rollovers during emergency situations.  By installing these systems worth around $1200, trucks will be able to eliminate about seventy fatalities and eight hundred injuries per year.

Continuous Remote Data Feed: Trucking companies also have the option of equipping their vehicles with sensors capable of generating a continuous feed of data, and sending them to specific locations for real-time monitoring. Computers can detect disturbing driving behaviors such as swerving or drifting across lanes and warn the drivers. Safety managers can review the videos later to find out if there was any distraction or fatigue. The equipment cost for this system is around $500, and there is a monthly expense of around $50 per truck for monitoring.

Though many new technology tools are coming up, it is extremely important that the trucking companies show some genuine commitment towards minimizing the number of trucking accidents. Until that happens, the only hope for accident victims is to rely on our truck accident lawyers to fight for their rights. 

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