Technology that could prevent or reduce the severity of 30,000 truck accidents per year is readily available. Still, you won’t find it in most tractor-trailers on the road in Oklahoma and throughout the country, according to consumer safety advocates.
In a recent report, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) states that most commercial trucks today lack advanced safety features. They are features that you can find today in most passenger cars such as:
- Forward-collision warning(FCW)
- Lane-departure warning (LDW)
- Automatic emergency braking (AEB).
If those systems were more widely used in the trucking industry, they could lead to a 44 percent decrease in accident fatalities and a 47 percent drop in injuries, according to SAFE.
Most trucks lack these potentially life-saving features because they are older vehicles, Consumer Reports states. For example, only about 15 percent of large commercial truck fleets in the U.S. were fitted with FCW systems in 2015.
SAFE has called for a government mandate that would require the trucking industry to adopt the new technology in new or retrofitted trucks. However, the trucking industry claims that there is no need for such a requirement. A spokesman for the American Trucking Associations told Consumer Reports that companies should be able to choose for themselves which technology works best for their particular operations.
Truck Accidents Cause Unnecessary Injuries and Damage
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that deaths from crashes involving large trucks have gone up in recent years. In 2016, more than 4,300 people died in commercial truck accidents, which marked a 5.4 percent increase from 2015.
In roughly a quarter of the accidents in which a commercial truck driver is at fault, the underlying cause of the crash is speeding, distracted driving, visibility problems, failure to yield the right of way and fatigue- or alcohol-related impairment, according to SAFE. Those factors could be eliminated, or at least greatly diminished, if more trucks used driver-assistance technology or driving task automation features, the report states.
“If anything, it’s more important that these advanced driver aids come standard on trucks than on cars,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of auto testing. “Tractor-trailer trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and the consequences of a crash — no matter who is at fault — can be devastating.”
Safety Benefits Should Outweigh Cost Concerns
Cost concerns may be the main reason why the trucking industry has been slow to adopt new safety technology. For instance, equipping a new truck with safety features such as FCW, LDW and AEB systems could add more than $13,000 in costs, according to SAFE.
At the same time, some after-market systems which prevent collisions, save lives and even conserve fuel could also be bought for less than $1,000. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study found that adding after-market FCW, LDW and roll stability control systems (RSCS) could all provide a return on investment within 37 months.
In the end, trucking companies must make a decision about what is more important to them: Safety or profits. If they choose profits over safety, and an innocent person suffers injury or the loss of a loved one as a result of their decision, then they should be held accountable.
Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Oklahoma City
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident in Oklahoma City, Edmond or elsewhere in Oklahoma, contact Cain Law Office today. Our skilled and dedicated truck accident lawyers are ready to start work on your case right away.