Atlanta, GA-With approximately 500,000 truck accidents occurring on U.S. roadways each year, the trucking industry and safety advocates are always looking for ways to make the roads safer. One safety measure trucking companies can take is to install video cameras in commercial vehicles, and according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute utilizing these cameras could reduce truck accidents by 20 percent.

The Virginian Tech Transportation study utilized the DriveCam system, manufactured by Lytx, who also commissioned the study, and found that 38,000 truck accident injuries and 800 lives could be saved if all trucks over 10,000 lbs. installed the DriveCam system, TruckingInfo reported.

Naturally, a company touting its own product is essentially advertisement—they do have a product to sell—but the study itself is sheds a light on one of the leading causes of truck accidents, driver error, and how to prevent them.

Virginia Tech researcher and group leader for the Behavioral Analysis and Applications Group under the Center for Truck and Bus Safety, Jeffrey S. Hickman conducted a similar study in 2009 showed that these cameras reduce risky driver behavior. This particular study was done in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and also utilized the DriveCam system.

The camera system was installed in two trucking fleets and, according to TruckingInfo, one fleet reduced risky driving behavior by 37 percent and the other by 52 percent. The incidents of “severe critical events”—near misses—were reduced by 75 percent.

For the recent study, researchers used data from the 2009 study and data from a federal crash database which includes the vehicle type, fatalities and injuries, and traffic violations. When accidents where a motorist was at fault or an accident could be attributed to weather or mechanical failure were eliminated, researchers were left with 10,648 fatal bus and truck accidents and 213,000 accidents that resulted in injuries.

After crunching the data, researchers concluded that fatal bus and truck accidents can be reduced by 20.5 percent and injuries reduced by 35.2 percent if DriveCam systems were installed in all commercial trucks and busses.

“Motor vehicle crashes are often predictable and preventable,” Hickman said in the study, but added that drivers “choose to behave in ways that put themselves and others at risk for a vehicle crash and/or serious injuries.” He believes these on-board camera systems can collect information about “driving behaviors that can be addressed and corrected.”

Of course, some truck drivers might find these types of cameras too invasive, and that is understandable, but the issue isn’t privacy, it’s making certain people aren’t harmed by a reckless driver. Plenty of people in other occupations work under constant surveillance from their employers.

These cameras could prove to be valuable tools for truck accident attorneys when they are building a personal injury or wrongful death claim on behalf of an accident victim. But until these cameras are widely available truck accident lawyers have other investigative tools they can rely on to get their clients a favorable settlement. If you were involved in a motor collision with a semi truck, contact Bernard Hoppenfeld Law Offices to speak with an experienced attorney.