As truck accidents increase, technology is being used to try to lower collision rates and protect everyone on the road.
Earlier this year in Savanna, Georgia, a tractor trailer was seen drifting between lanes on a busy interstate. AJC reported that authorities suspect the truck driver had fallen asleep. Moments later, the semi caught fire after it hit two vehicles. Five people were killed.
As the number of tractor trailers has grown, so too have the number of accidents involving them. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that in 2013, truck accidents resulted in the deaths of 3,602 Americans. Passenger vehicle occupants are at a great disadvantage in collisions with semis, given the difference in the size of a big rig which can weigh up to 80,000 tons with a full load. However, new technologies are being explored to keep those on the road safer.
Electronic stability control
USA Today reported that buses and trucks will now be required to have electronic stability control systems installed. It is estimated this kind of technology will prevent rollover crashes by 56 percent and that there will be over 1,700 less crashes each year involving trucks and buses.
Electronic stability control systems have been present in light trucks and cars for the past three years and have been credited with preventing accidents and saving lives. The system stops a vehicle from losing control in an emergency by keeping it traveling in the direction it is supposed to go. Often times, a loss of control results in a rollover or a spinout which can be fatal with a larger commercial vehicle.
One company says it has come up with a technology-based solution that will lower fuel consumption of tractor trailers and improve safety on the nation's highways. According to ABC News, the company, Peloton Technology, is using a platooning system that consists of a data communications exchange between tractor trailers.
The idea is to attach data-gathering sensors on the trucks. These sensors gather important information about the driving environment such as the weather and highway conditions. The data is then transferred back and forth between the trucks, telling the trucks how far they should be from one another and how fast they should go. So far, the system has been tested using two tractor trailers that were kept 40 feet apart from them along a busy interstate section in Nevada. Despite the technology, the drivers have control when to use it and can override it, if needed. The system has received a vote of support from the state's highway patrol and other agencies.
While technology may be able to help prevent disastrous accidents involving heavy trucks, there are truckers and trucking companies which will still act negligently. Victims of these collisions in Marietta should meet with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand what their rights are.