Sophisticated safety systems, like the ones that currently exist on many models of automobiles, can substantially reduce truck accident risks. However, the trucking industry has remained largely skeptical of the benefits of these systems.
Data indicates that there has been an increase in the number of truck accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016, more than 4,300 fatalities involved people in accidents with tractor-trailers or big rigs. That is an increase of 5.4% from the previous year.
There is still more data that reveals that safety systems could help mitigate those risks and that the trucking industry has resisted using these technologies. For instance, in 2015, only about 15% of commercial truck fleets in the country came equipped with forward collision warning systems or collision mitigation systems. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that as many as 107,000 accidents every year could be prevented if trucks came equipped with technologies that have been proven to help reduce the risk of accidents. These technologies include blind spot warning systems and electronic stability control systems.
Technologies like these have substantially reduced the number of car accidents involving preventable driver errors. The trucking industry downplays the possible benefits associated with equipping their fleets with these technologies, instead choosing to place much of the blame for truck accidents on passenger driver error.
Equipping more number of trucks with safety technologies can help keep motorists on our highways safer. After all, in an accident involving a large 18-wheeler or semi-truck with a smaller passenger car, it is the occupants of the smaller car who face a higher risk of injury or death. In a situation like this, the onus is on the trucking industry to make sure that their trucks are equipped with the maximum possible safety protection systems to reduce the risk to motorists who share the highways with these massive trucks.
Safety features like forward collision warning systems alert drivers to the possibility of an accident. Other systems can, in the event of driver inaction, act to avoid an accident. Indiana highways would become markedly safer if commercial truck fleets were equipped with such safety technologies.
The Indianapolis trucking accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in trucking accidents across Indiana. If your loved one has been injured in a crash involving a truck, 18-wheeler or semi-truck, speak to a truck accident attorney at our firm. Initial consultations are free.