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Does safety technology help prevent truck accidents?

| Oct 14, 2014 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Most passenger vehicles now come standard with advanced technology to improve operation safety, such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, and, more recently, electronic stability control. Option packages typically include additional features that reduce driving hazards, but current performance standards do not require them.

Due to their size and weight, large trucks are less maneuverable in traffic.  In 2011, they caused 93 deaths and more than 2,500 injuries in Illinois alone, according to Illinois Crash Data. Installing safety equipment on tractor trailers can reduce truck accident injuries and fatalities. The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that the optional features become standard on all new passenger and commercial vehicles.

Safety features reduce driving hazards

Driver reaction time is a critical factor in avoiding accidents. Technology that improves responses to sudden changes in traffic can help avoid some of the deadliest accident threats, including rear-end collisions, loss of control and speeding. Safety features that have proven effective at helping drivers deal with unexpected traffic conditions include the following:

  • Automatic braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision warning

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that lane change maneuvers cause 9 percent of the accidents on the highways, and these can be avoided with a lane departure warning system. When a driver drifts into another lane or changes lanes without signaling, an alarm sounds. This helps drivers dealing with fatigue, as well as those who consistently fail to signal lane changes.

Large commercial vehicles such as trucks require longer stopping distances due to their size and weight. Tire pressure monitoring, onboard monitoring and speed-limiting technology are particularly helpful for commercial drivers because they decrease the potential for hazardous situations and reduce the threat of serious injury or death on the roadways.

Agencies advocate for safety equipment

According to the NHTSA, electronic stability control systems significantly reduce loss-of-control accidents. Installing these systems on tractor trailers has the potential to prevent approximately 4,500 accidents each year. A cost-benefit analysis published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimated that forward collision warning systems on trucks could have prevented between 8,500 and 18,000 rear-end collisions between 2001 and 2005.

The safety technologies recommended by the NHTSA can reduce the heavy toll of traffic accidents. However, the equipment is not likely to be included on all new vehicles without federal laws and regulations to mandate their installation.

Victims of accidents involving large commercial vehicles may benefit from the legal advice of a Chicago personal injury attorney who can ensure that adequate compensation is received.