Safety technology on trucks could prevent 63,000 crashes

A recent AAA study says that safety technology could eliminate 63,000 large truck crashes each year.

Many drivers are understandably nervous about driving around large trucks. As Transport Topics reports, 61 percent of U.S. drivers say they feel uncomfortable driving close to trucks and tractor trailers due to their size, blind spots, and likelihood of swerving out of their lanes. However, a recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that many truck accidents could be prevented if more trucking companies adopted new safety technologies, such as lane-departure warning systems and video-based safety monitors. With deaths from truck accidents on the rise, the study offers a much needed way of helping save lives on the road.

Technology that could save lives

The AAA study looked at truck-related accidents covering a 15-month period and how safety technology could potentially help reduce those accidents. The study concluded that video-based onboard monitoring systems would have the biggest impact on safety, helping to eliminate 63,000 crashes each year, saving 293 lives, and preventing 17,733 injuries. That technology could reduce safety-critical events by 44 to 86 percent, according to the report.

The report also found that lane-departure warning systems would reduce crashes by 6,372, injuries by 1,342, and deaths by 115. Automatic emergency braking, meanwhile, would eliminate 5,294 crashes, 2,753 injuries, and 55 deaths each year. Finally, air disc brakes could prevent 2,411 accidents, 1,447 injuries, and 37 fatalities.

Trucking companies slow to change

Truck accidents and deaths are rising. As Forbes reports, in 2015 there were over 400,000 accidents involving large trucks in the United States, which led to more than 4,000 deaths and 116,000 injuries. That accident rate is four percent higher than the year before and adopting the above safety technology could eliminate a large portion of those accidents.

However, many trucking companies have been slow to embrace this new technology, largely because of the costs associated with doing so . As Transport Topics reports, video-based monitoring systems cost about $300 to $750 per truck and then just $20 to $60 in monthly service fees. While those figures are low compared to the value in goods such trucks carry, it's the reason many trucking companies, especially smaller ones, have been so slow to bring this life-saving technology onboard.

Hurt in an accident?

While any motor vehicle accident has the potential to be serious, those involving large trucks tend to be particularly traumatizing and are far more likely to lead to death or serious injury. Furthermore, such accidents are often at least partially caused by poor safety standards by the trucking company, such as having drivers work unrealistically long hours and having a truck fleet that is not properly maintained. Anybody who has been hurt in a truck accident should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Going up against the big trucking companies is never easy, but an attorney can help clients see what sort of claims are available to them and whether they may be able to pursue additional compensation in cases involving negligence or reckless behavior by the other party.