It seems like every time we turn around there’s been another serious accident involving a semi-truck and smaller vehicles. The fact that these trucks sit so much higher above cars and even SUVs and pickup trucks makes them vastly more dangerous when they slam into the back of a vehicle. Their lines of sight are diminished by their size putting everyone around them at risk for being side-swiped or rear-ended.
Technology is constantly evolving in an attempt to compensate for the lack of visibility and other handicaps truck drivers have to work with when maneuvering such a large vehicle. One more of these potential solutions to minimizing truck accidents and fatalities just surfaced, and, if successful, it could be one of the biggest steps forward in truck collision prevention and safety that we’ve seen in quite some time.
Two out of five cars could escape being rear ended
Two forms of technology that now come pretty standard in cars have been deemed to be incredibly beneficial to semi-trucks. By incorporating Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) systems into tractor trailers, thousands of victims could be saved each year. A study conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that adding these features to big rigs could result in approximately a 40% reduction in rear impact collisions and injuries.
Data from IIHS showed:
- There has been an increase in truck crashes by approximately 33% since 2009.
- In 2018, there were 119 passenger deaths from rear-end crashes with 18-wheelers.
- FCW resulted in 22% fewer overall crashes with a 44% reduction in rear-end collisions.
- AEB resulted in 12% fewer overall crashes with a 41% reduction in rear-end collisions.
How does AEB work?
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) engages through the use of radar or sensor technology to gauge the distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. If you’re too close to the vehicle you’re approaching and you fail to brake quickly enough or hard enough, the system will act to slow your vehicle down or actually bring it to a complete stop.
Trucking companies have known for years that this technology will help prevent accidents but it becomes a question of cost versus risk. According to trucksafety.org, in 2018 the cost to add the AEB system to trucks of 10,000 pounds or more would have cost the end user somewhere between $70 to $316 per vehicle, and saved an annual average of 166 deaths and 8,000 injuries.
How does FCW work?
These systems use a combination of audio and visual cues inside the cabin to alert the driver that there’s an obstacle in its path and so that he or she can alter course to avoid a collision. This could be another vehicle, a person, or an object in the roadway.
Think about how many times you’ve had near misses while driving because something was lying in the roadway that you had to swerve to avoid. Now think about a 50,000 pound big rig squarely hitting the back end of your car because the truck was traveling too fast or the driver was distracted and didn’t see you.
Some of these systems have the capability of setting the warnings to give drivers more notice. For trucks that take longer to stop due to their size, this can make an enormous difference in accident prevention. The outcome could be the difference between a passenger vehicle occupant being unharmed, or a truck driver being sued for wrongful death.
While there is no legislation mandating that passenger vehicles or commercial trucks be equipped with front end crash prevention systems, automotive technology should be utilized to make every vehicle sharing the road safer.
If you or a loved one is injured by a tractor trailer, you need the experienced Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Harris Lowry Manton LLP standing beside you to ensure fair treatment by the insurance company. Schedule your free case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team today by calling our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.
Jed Manton is committed to representing individuals and business that have been harmed by the actions of others. With a solid track record, Jed has helped numerous clients who have been seriously injured or who have lost a loved one obtain justice, while holding the wrongdoer accountable.
Read more about Jed D. Manton here.