Are Autonomous Trucks Safe?

Vehicle technology advances every day, and with that comes new ways to make our lives more accessible. It also comes with unknown risks. Recent discussion about new driver technology revolves around whether autonomous trucks are safe. Alabamians are still adjusting to seeing self-driving cars on the roads. Now they must wonder if trucks and other vehicles will endanger them and their families on the road.

There are mixed emotions regarding the safety of autonomous commercial trucks. Some say they are completely safe, while others disagree. A third opinion is how insurance companies will insure these trucks and who is responsible when a truck accident happens.

Commercial trucks are inherently dangerous

Trucks are much larger vehicles than passenger cars and motorcycles on the road. Much of the tech used in autonomous trucks is already present in newer vehicles. Cruise control or lane assist is a prime example of autonomy in many cars. This feature takes away part of the driving process. The human driver can monitor what the car is doing, but they are not entirely in control. Cruise control can be turned off, however, and there is a driver present to take over at any moment.

The biggest concern with autonomous trucks is that there is no human element to take over. They are flying down the highway, and a computer program runs everything. The truck may not accurately predict or react to reckless drivers or road hazards. The software may not program the truck to deal with a sudden change in the road or the weather. By the time the truck has adjusted, it may be too late. If you are involved in a truck accident, autonomous or human-driven, you need a Huntsville truck accident attorney on your side.

What are the risks of autonomous trucks?

There are several risks associated with autonomous vehicles. The biggest concern is the safety of others on the road. Dozens of human-driven cars surround one autonomous truck. An autonomous truck may not be able to adequately predict what another driver or vehicle is about to do, especially if the driver does not use signals of any kind.

Another issue is how drivers around the truck will know that it does not have a human behind the wheel. Technology can fail, and typically when we see a reckless driver on the road, we call emergency services. How will the process work if the robot car begins to drive erratically in reaction to something on the road?

For technology to advance, mistakes will be bound to happen. Take robot vacuum cleaners. They are not perfect by any means. They are supposed to map out their intended route and avoid objects. Many times, they bump into furniture or get stuck on a step, even after they have been cleaning the same home for months. Will autonomous vehicles and trucks be the same? If they veer off course, will they bump into something and reroute? Autonomous truck manufacturers must map out a better solution.

Another factor to consider is that while these trucks will primarily be on the highway, they will need to exit at some point. The software can program the truck to stay in one lane and continue to move forward toward the destination. Other vehicles can move around them. The actual test and danger are when these vehicles reach city streets.

One final risk factor is losing track of the vehicle, or if it is stolen. If the truck owner loses track of the vehicle, how will they regain control? Moreover, what is the truck doing? Does it continue to drive without instruction, or does it pull off to the side of the road? What if the vehicle is stolen and an accident happens? There are still many variables to consider with self-driving commercial trucks. Will the alleged reward outweigh the risk in the end? Only time will tell, but our Huntsville truck accident lawyers are gearing up and ready to handle truck accident cases involving human-led and autonomous vehicles.

What are the different types of truck accidents?

Commercial truck accidents are catastrophic. These vehicles are much larger than many others on the road. The size difference alone is enough to cause tragedy, add recklessness or the lack of a driver, and the results are gruesome. The different types of truck accidents our Huntsville truck accident attorneys are familiar with include:

  • Rollover
  • Head-on collisions
  • Broadside
  • Underride
  • Lost or unsecured load
  • Blindspot accidents
  • Wide turn accidents
  • Jackknife

These crashes can leave the victims with years of medical treatment and expenses. You need to hold negligent parties responsible for their actions by contacting an attorney and filing a personal injury claim today.

Potential injuries from an autonomous truck accident

We have noted that truck accidents cause catastrophic injuries. The most common of these injuries include:

Each truck accident will have different outcomes, and it is not to say these are the only injuries you may suffer. Your damages can be more or less severe, depending on individual factors. Contact a Huntsville truck accident attorney right away to discuss your case.

Commercial autonomous trucks have a long way to go before they are safe for the road. In the meantime, they should have drivers in the cabs that can take over at a moment’s notice until better regulations and fewer risks are involved. Filling up a truck with gas also has yet to be addressed. There is a long road ahead for autonomous trucks. If you have been involved in a commercial truck accident, we invite you to contact the attorneys at Martin & Helms. Call 256-539-1990, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We have offices in Huntsville and Decatur, and serve clients in Madison, Athens, and North Alabama.