Saving Lives with Truck Safety Technology
A 15-month study, undertaken by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, concluded that as many as 63,000 large-truck-related crashes each year could be prevented using video-based onboard safety monitoring systems. The study, “Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains,” determined that an additional 14,000 large-truck-related crashes could also be averted if large trucks used lane-departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking, and air disc brakes. The results were made public in September, 2017.
During 2015, over 400,000 large truck-related crashes caused 116,000 injuries and 4,067 deaths, a 4 percent rise from the previous year. Preventing a total of 77,000 crashes would mean a nearly 20 percent drop in collisions and a savings of 500 lives per year. The study also determined that the extra cost for the technologies would not be prohibitive. The executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, David Yang, remarked that “There’s no question that truck safety technology saves lives. This new research shows that the benefits of adding many of these technologies to trucks clearly outweigh the cost.”
The Technologies Likeliest to Save Lives
The AAA’s analysts reviewed the available research and discussed various topics with subject matter experts. After doing so, the analysts determined that:
- Up to 293 deaths, 17,733 injuries, and 63,000 crashes could be prevented annually by installing video-based onboard safety monitoring systems in large trucks.
- Up to 115 deaths, 1,342 injuries, and 6,372 crashes could be prevented annually by installing lane-departure warning systems in large trucks.
- Up to 55 deaths, 2,753 injuries, and 5,294 crashes could be prevented annually by installing automatic emergency braking in large trucks.
- Up to 37 deaths, 1,447 injuries, and 2,411 crashes could be prevented annually by installing air disc brakes in large trucks.
The numbers above are based on the 2010-2015 data for large-truck crash rates, the best studies available on the subject, and the recommendations drawn from experts in the trucking industry and the federal government.
People Are Nervous Around Big Trucks
A AAA survey that ran parallel to the large truck technology study discovered that around 6 out of 10 adults in the U.S. feel more uncomfortable driving past large trucks than they do driving past passenger vehicles. The most common reasons given by the survey respondents were as follows:
- 28 percent noted the greater size and length of large trucks.
- 18 percent mentioned the reduced ability of large trucks to see them, with bigger blind spots.
- 14 percent cited the possibility of large trucks swerving or drifting out of their lane.
Jake Nelson, the AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research called such fears “understandable,” noting that adding safety technologies would relieve some anxieties. Approximately 1 in 4 adults did say that adding safety technologies to large trucks would reassure them.
What Would It Cost?
According to one technology vendor, video-based safety systems would cost between $300 and $750 per truck, including installation. The monthly service fees to operate the monitoring systems would run from $20 to $60 for each truck.
It’s difficult to know whether trucking companies would accept the costs and whether drivers would use the new technologies. Smaller owner-operators would likely be the last ones to adopt such systems. AAA’s Nelson commented that it’s hard to find data regarding the use of these technologies, but that “Some of the larger fleets are the ones who are advancing first in that direction.”
We can only hope that sharing the road with large trucks will become safer soon.
When others breach their duty, we keep ours.
Indiana truck accident cases can be complex legal claims that require thorough investigation and demand aggressive litigation to secure the best possible outcome for the plaintiff. While monetary compensation can never undo the damage done as the result of a truck accident, a financial recovery can ease the burdens caused by overwhelming medical bills, loss of income, and disability.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, we suggest you talk with Indianapolis truck accident lawyer Mike Stephenson. With more than three decades of experience, substantial financial resources to commit to your case, and a commitment to the highest standards of client care, you can count on Mike. Contact him today by calling 1-317-825-5200 for a free accident consultation, or use our online contact form. At McNeely Stephenson, when others breach their duty, we keep ours.