More than 4,000 people are killed each year in Texas and around the country in motor vehicle accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles. Experts say that equipping the nation’s semi-tractor trailers with advanced driver assistance systems could save many of these lives, but the logistics industry has been slow to adopt the technology. This reluctance has now attracted the attention of government regulators and Congress. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released brochures that detail the benefits of ADAS, and lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make at least some automatic safety technology mandatory equipment for large trucks.
ADAS safety and financial benefits
According to the FMCSA, every dollar invested in ADAS like onboard cameras, lane departure warnings, automatic emergency braking systems, and adaptive steering control saves trucking companies. Installing these features may also reduce insurance premiums and help truck operators to recruit and to retain more experienced drivers. The truck accidents that these systems are designed to prevent cost logistics companies and their insurers about $18,000 when only property is damaged and more than $5 million when lives are lost.
On June 10, the Surface Transportation Investment Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to make automatic emergency braking systems mandatory on semi-tractor trailers, but small and medium-sized trucks are exempted. This exception concerns road safety advocates because the trucks not covered by the bill are usually operated in congested urban environments and account for almost one-third of all commercial vehicle fatalities.
Truck accident lawsuits
While many large commercial vehicles lack sophisticated technology that is designed to prevent accidents, they are equipped with black-box type devices that monitor vehicle speed and driver behavior. If you are injured in a truck accident, an experienced personal injury attorney could seek to obtain this electronic evidence to learn more about what transpired in the moments before the crash occurred. If the data reveals that the truck was speeding or being operated recklessly, an attorney could use it to establish negligence and encourage the trucking company or its insurer to settle your case at the negotiating table.