As motor vehicle accident fatalities rise throughout the country, the trucking industry is turning to technology to make large trucks safer and reduce the risk of accidents.
Trucking Through a Technological Century
Technology is advancing rapidly and trucking companies are adopting a wide variety of new tools to improve fleet safety. In a few years, the trucking industry will bear little resemblance to the past century. These new tools include distance alert safety features that warn drivers of objects in the roadway and behind them as they are backing up. They include collision warning systems that notify drivers when a collision with another vehicle is possible.
New technologies include emergency brake systems that can stop the vehicle when a driver fails to apply the brakes in time to prevent a collision. These systems are critical as it is estimated that approximately 20% of all large truck accidents involve the truck striking a vehicle in the path of the truck.
Many of these truck safety technologies incorporate cameras, radar, infrared, and other systems that provide a comprehensive picture of the environment around the truck. This information is rapidly disseminated to the driver so that they can make an informed decision about vehicle speed and maneuvers. These technologies also provide solid records that truck driving companies can review as they examine and modify driver behavior within their fleets.
AAA Pushes for Reforms
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been instrumental in pushing the trucking industry to make reforms and adopt new safety technologies. These include recommendations to install automatic braking systems on all large trucks. Estimates from AAA in 2017 indicated that doing so would prevent more than 7,700 accidents, prevent more than 4,200 injuries, and save 92 lives per year.
AAA also determined that installing cameras and lane departure warning devices would prevent 69,000 accidents, prevent 24,000 injuries, and save 408 lives per year. These are significant figures and the Trucking Alliance paid attention to what the recommendations made by AAA in 2017. As a condition of membership in the Trucking Alliance, companies are currently required to have these safety features installed on their fleet vehicles. It is a small step, but a significant step, towards a safer future for motorists and pedestrians in the United States.