Automatic emergency braking systems will be standard equipment in virtually all of the passenger vehicles sold in Texas and around the country by 2022, but the commercial trucking industry has been slow to adopt this potentially life-saving technology. An Arkansas-based logistics company says that fitting automatic brakes and collision avoidance technology to its fleet of trucks led to a 50% reduction in rear-end accidents, but only about half of the tractor-trailers sold in the United States are equipped with these systems.
Reducing the severity of truck accidents
This issue was discussed during a safety summit held by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in August. The panelists pointed out during the summit that systems that engage automatically in dangerous situations not only prevent truck accidents, but they also significantly reduce injuries and property damage when crashes do occur. When a Wisconsin-based trucking company switched to vehicles equipped with autonomous safety technology, the frequency of rear-end collisions fell by 68% but the severity of these accidents was reduced by 95%.
Nullifying distraction and saving lives
Automatic braking systems have sensors that monitor road conditions and engage when the distance between vehicles closes quickly. This can be particularly effective when drivers are distracted and take their eyes off the road to look at a cellphone, navigation screen or some other distraction. A senior executive at one of the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers believes that combining automatic brakes with features like lane departure warnings, collisions avoidance systems and rain-sensing windshield wipers could reduce commercial vehicle accidents by up to 69%.
Electronic evidence in truck accident lawsuits
Most autonomous safety systems feature hard drives that are used to store performance data. This information could be used by investigators to determine the cause of a crash, and it could also be introduced in court in lawsuits filed on behalf of truck accident victims. This is one of the reasons why experienced personal injury attorneys may have commercial vehicles inspected before initiating this kind of litigation. Inspections could also uncover evidence of negligence such as defective parts, substandard repairs or inadequate maintenance.