Big Rigs Roll Out New Stopping Technology
Collision mitigation technology offers great promise to save lives on the roadways of Texas. It’s developing quickly, at least as far as passenger cars are concerned. But will trucking companies be as swift to embrace the new safety equipment?
How technology can prevent truck collisions
Ron Kremer, a writer with the National Safety Council, recently wrote about the technology in an article, “Truck Safety Journey Begins with a Quarter-Mile Trip.” Kremer witnessed what he called “the future of transportation safety” during a visit to Race 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois.
In one instance, Kremer rode with driver Fred Andersky in a semi-truck as it approached a slow-moving pickup from behind at about 30 to 35 mph. An alarm sounded, growing louder as the semi closed in on the pickup. The system is designed to alert the driver, not to take over operation of the vehicle.
“Safe driving practices, comprehensive driver training and safe and alert drivers are still important in delivering the full safety equation,” Andersky pointed out.
In a second demonstration, the semi-truck rounded a corner toward a parked pickup. In this case, Andersky turned control of the semi over to its automated emergency braking system, which stopped the truck short of a rear-end collision.
Kremer wrote about “the game-changing potential of advanced driver assistance systems” in terms of saving lives and preventing property damage, then backed it up with statistics. He cited the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which reports video-based onboard monitoring systems in trucks can prevent as many as 63,000 crashes annually.
“[Fleet owners are] in business with pretty thin margins, so the technology has to deliver,” Andersky said, noting that a reduction in deaths and injuries, along with property damage, means operating expenses will drop.
Technology is no substitute for responsibility
Until crash mitigation technology becomes standard across the industry, though, motorists on Texas roadways are at the mercy of their fellow humans. Humans make mistakes. Humans drive when they are tired or under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Sometimes even professional drivers, such as truckers, make poor judgment calls – driving too fast, following too close or switching lanes without signaling. And too many trucks lack safety features that can even partially compensate for those errors.
If you’ve been in an accident involving a big rig, you have experienced the worst of the encounter. You may have been badly injured, leaving you unable to work and support your family. You may require weeks or months of expensive rehabilitation. While the bills pile up, an insurance company may tempt you with a financial settlement that is far less than you need or deserve.
What you need while you deal with the physical, mental and emotional issues is someone who will aggressively protect your interests. The El Paso truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, LLC have more than 30 years of experience of handling big rig cases. For a free consultation in either English or Spanish, contact us.