If you drive on a regular basis, you have probably seen this more than you ever should have – a tractor trailer flipped on its side, passenger vehicles crushed, and first responder vehicles scattered throughout the scene. Whatever the truck was hauling may be strewn everywhere, causing the roadway to be closed and traffic diverted. Commercial truck accidents have become the norm, not the exception, and they are terrifying.
Transportation companies have been notorious for pressuring drivers to stick to tight delivery deadlines for years. After all, time is money. This industry practice has come under fire due to the added safety risk of tired drivers maneuvering 40-ton vehicles that require much more time to stop than does the average passenger vehicle. That means eighteen wheelers have less room for error than most of us, and they have much greater potential for causing damage and death. It’s a huge responsibility.
Better safety equipment and technology could lead to a reduction in truck accidents, injuries, and deaths. So why haven’t manufacturers moved towards including these features on all of their trucks?
According to Forbes, there were over 400,000 trucking accidents in 2015. A study was performed on the effects of safety technology being added to new and existing trucks, and looked at adding safety features such as lane departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking systems, air disc brakes, and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems. The results found that 63,000 accidents could be prevented annually.
The cost of staying alive
Truck drivers and transportation companies are in a very dangerous line of work, yet some drivers and companies have to purchase available safety equipment that should be standard on their trucks. When automatic installation of safety features will prevent many of the accidents that are killing and seriously injuring other drivers, why are transportation companies made to choose between spending more or saving lives? Why aren’t manufacturers ensuring that all available technologies come with the “basic” models?
Although the frequency of accidents is minimized with the addition of these safety features, getting them onto trucks can be a hinderance, financially. It can run upwards of $6,000 or more per truck to make them safer. For larger trucking fleets with thousands of vehicles, that can be millions of dollars. For independent drivers, those costs are prohibitive.
Reliable safety equipment that currently exists should not be optional and it should not cost truck drivers more to safeguard everyone on the road – themselves included – from completely avoidable mishaps.
Technology companies and commercial vehicle manufacturers need to work together to find a cost effective way to automatically install accident reducing technology on trucks to eliminate injuries and deaths. They owe that responsibility to everyone on the road. Until then, they should be held accountable right along with the drivers who are being denied the right to safer vehicles without added expense.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, you should talk with an attorney who can guide you through the claims and settlement process. A truck accident attorney can help you get the fair compensation you deserve when the insurance company is being difficult. To schedule your free consultation today with a Martin & Helms truck accident attorney in our Huntsville or Decatur office, call us at 256-539-1990, or reach out to us through our contact page. We’re proud to fight for injury clients in Madison, Athens, and throughout the Tennessee Valley.