CHICAGO, Illinois. Imagine there was technology that could save as many as 500 lives per year and prevent as many as 23,275 injuries. According to the National Law Review, one recent study performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that truck safety technologies, if they were in more widespread use, could prevent approximately 77,077 crashes each year. The report recommends that large trucks be updated with new technologies that can prevent crashes. What are these technologies? And why aren’t truck companies updating their trucks to reflect the latest technological advances in safety features?
The report focused on several technologies that could prevent accidents. This included video monitoring systems, lane departure warning systems, emergency braking systems, and air disc brakes. According to the AAA Foundation, video monitoring systems not only give drivers a view of what is happening outside their trucks, but the video monitoring systems can also film the driver, giving a truck company a better idea of what actions a driver may be taking right before an accident takes place. Video technology is not high cost. In fact, on the high end, installing and buying a video monitoring system costs about $750 per truck with a monthly service fee ranging from $20 to $60 per month. These systems could save lives by making it easier for truck drivers to see blind spots, allow them to have a better view of the rear of the truck when backing up, and by holding drivers accountable while driving.
Lane departure warning systems warn a driver when his or her vehicle leaves the lane. Drivers may depart the lane for many reasons, but distracted driving and fatigue are among them. Research has shown that these warning systems can reduce the risk of accidents. The AAA Foundation studied that the average cost of these warning systems would be about $1000 per truck. Yet, when truck owners factor in the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, lost productivity, pain and suffering damages, and other losses that can occur with a truck accident, it becomes clear that the benefits of lane departure systems far outweigh the costs.
Automatic braking systems, likewise, can save lives. While the cost of these systems can be higher, at $2500 per truck, researchers estimate that they could prevent as many as 2,753 injuries each year.
So, why aren’t truck companies updating their vehicles with these new technologies? Cost may play a large role. Truck owners may choose to cut costs today, not taking into account the possible risk of injury or accident in the future. Owners may choose instead to rely on their insurance rather than paying up-front for new technology that could prevent accidents. Federal and state laws have also not caught up with the new technology. The purpose of the AAA reports was to offer sound data to shape policymaking going forward.
With the current political climate favoring less regulation rather than more regulation, it appears that it may be many years before the truck industry updates its fleet. Until then, families who have suffered as a result of a truck accident have the right to pursue lawsuits against truck companies and drivers when crashes happen. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a truck crash, you may have the right to seek damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. The Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. are truck accident attorneys in Chicago, Illinois who help the voices of victims and families be heard. As more victims speak up, the hope is that regulators and the truck industry will make changes that could result in a safer fleet. Visit our firm at www.dinizululawgroup.com to learn more about how we can help your family seek justice after a crash.