Fatalities from accidents with tractor trailers have been climbing in the United States. Since 2016, at least 4,300 people died in commercial vehicle crashes. This is an increase of 5.4% from 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The NHTSA also found that advanced safety features such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems are reducing the number of crashes in passenger vehicles.
The problem is that these important safety features are not yet widely available in commercial vehicles. Many of the rigs are more than 10 years old and were manufactured before the new technology was invented. According to a report published by Securing America’s Future Energy, a Washington, DC, think tank, only approximately 15% of large commercial trucks in the United States had collision mitigation systems as of 2015.
The sad thing is that many of the serious crashes with big rigs and other commercial vehicles could be prevented if these safety systems were being used. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that 107,000 crashes in the U.S. each year, including approximately 28% of those that involve commercial vehicles, could have been prevented or reduced with collision prevention systems (systems for forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning and lane departure).
Experts contend that these advanced driver safety systems that are becoming commonplace on cars are even more needed on commercial trucks. Big rigs can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and the consequences of a crash with a commercial truck can be devastating.
Some of the advanced safety features, including forward collision, lane departure and blind spot warning, are intended to alert you to an immediate danger. Others, including emergency braking automation and lane keeping assistance, are intended to prevent crashes.
Many industry experts and safety advocates, such as Consumer Reports, argue that tractor trailer manufacturers need to do a better job immediately in adding essential safety systems to new trucks. Safety advocates also suggest that older trucks should be equipped with newer safety technologies.
Naturally, many trucking companies and organizations are resistant to updating equipment due to the cost. They also resist government mandates. Some truckers argue that while they favor more safety systems on their trucks, new technology will never substitute for skilled drivers.
There is some truth behind the idea that better drivers create safer roads. More than 90 percent of all crashes on our roads are caused by driver error. However, it’s worth noting that these safety technologies are intended to reduce the impact of human error.
In an Accident with a Tractor Trailer? Contact Neale & Fhima Today
Crashes with tractor trailers can result in horrifying injuries and often death. If you or your loved one was hurt by a tractor trailer driver, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation. The attorneys at Neale & Fhima can help you to obtain compensation from the truck driver and/or trucking company. Please contact our law offices today for a free legal consultation.