Automated automotive technology is a rapidly evolving field and the American Trucking Association has recently adopted their first official policies regarding the use of the technology within the transportation industry. The 21-point policy, which was approved by the board of directors, establishes a framework for the introduction, use, and management of these new technologies.
Key Policy Points
The points outlined in the policy address the safety of the technology, the impact it will have on the transportation of cargo, the role of federal and state governments, manufacturers, and suppliers. These points serve as a guideline that the industry believes will allow for the integration of automated vehicle technology as it is developed.
Crucial points within the policies include the need for demonstrations of automated technology to prove the safety and benefits the technology promotes. While the technology holds much promise, there is also great potential for harm and the ATA feels that significant testing should be conducted to ensure the safety of motorists and those who would be tasked with loading/unloading cargo.
The ATA is also calling for the revision of safety-related laws and regulations that would become outdated as the technology is rolled out and down the road. Similarly, the ATA is asking federal and state lawmakers to ensure that laws governing automated technology are not duplicated and do not hinder the flow of commerce or goods.
Finally, the policy points recommend significant investment in infrastructure including the repair and maintenance of roadways to ensure that the automated trucks will be able to navigate the roads safely and without posing a preventable risk to public safety such as when they are platooning.
Liability for Automated Truck Accidents
While this is a rapidly evolving field of law, there are some key elements that are unlikely to change. For example, vehicle manufacturers will still be liable for accidents, injuries, and fatalities caused by defective vehicles and design flaws. Similarly, vehicle owners will still be liable for accidents caused by poor maintenance and potentially poor programming. Finally, anyone who tampers with the system such as through hacking with the intent of causing a malfunction or failure can be found liable for the damages their actions cause. As this field of law develops, truck accident lawyers in Illinois and throughout the country are examining the potential risks and liabilities inherent to automated vehicle technology and its impact on the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and workers.