We have become used to all the technological safety measures now included in cars, light trucks and SUVs. Examples of this include anti-lock brakes, forward collision warning, blind-spot protection, lane departure technology, and, soon, self-driving vehicles. Semi-trucks will also be a part of this future, but critics claim that the industry is slow to adapt.
Facts do not lie
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a new study finds that even established crash-avoidance technology can help. For example:
- Automatic emergency braking reduces the injuries and damage by 50% when a truck rear-ends another vehicle.
- Automatic emergency braking cuts the number of rear-end crashes by 41%.
- Collision warning systems reduce rear-end crashes by 44%.
The study examined crash data at 62 trucking companies and determined the number of miles per crash. It focused on trucks over 33,000 pounds. It also tracked the difference between trucks at the same companies outfitted with the new technology and those that are not.
After an all-time low in 2009, the number of crashes involving large trucks rose nationally by one third in 10 years. That is a total of 4,136 in 2018, with 119 involving rear-end crashes. While Europe has required this tech in all trucks, the U.S. has no such laws on the books.
Other truck-centric safety technology includes:
- Stabilization control: This makes the top-heavy vehicles more maneuverable at highway speeds.
- Speed governors: This keeps large trucks from traveling at unsafe speeds.
California second most dangerous state
The state has the sad honor of being second only to Texas in the number of semi-truck related accidents. In 2019, 277 people were killed, and another 3,939 people were hurt in crashes involving a large truck or bus. Of the 8,696 truck- or bus-related crashes, 244 of those crashes had at least one reported fatality.
Helps reduce human error
Truckers in the U.S. are allowed to spend up to 11 hours a stretch behind the wheel of vehicles 20-30 times the average passenger car’s size. These lethal facts alone should prompt the utilization of established technology. Trucking lines will pay one way or another – new tech or personal injury lawsuits – but the choice really is not that hard, particularly when safe solutions are available.