Semi-truck accidents are a common occurrence and the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) is well aware of that. While there are many efforts being made to help combat truck collisions including the implementation of self-driving vehicles, there is something else the WYDOT has been planning that is also geared to decreasing truck accidents on Interstate 80. Currently, I-80 is a “major corridor for semi-trucks hauling freight between the Midwest and the West Coast” and “semis make up 30 to 40 percent of the 11,000 to 16,000 vehicles that travel on I-80 each day, and up to 70 percent of that traffic during winter months.”
The reason WYDOT is targeting I-80 is because it sits about 6,000 feet above sea level and is usually covered in snow and ice during the winter time. And if you are someone who lives in Missouri or a truck driver who has to travel during this time of year, then you know how hazardous snow and ice can be to a vehicle, especially a semi-truck. Aside from the slippery and cold weather conditions, the state experiences heavy gusts of wind frequently. Unfortunately, these conditions have to led to almost 1,500 traffic accidents occurring on the interstate every year.
One of the major issues the WYDOT is seeing is that when wintery weather conditions are present, semi-trucks often “drive straight into massive pile-ups involving dozens of vehicles.” In 2015, there were two major pileups that occurred. One involved seventy vehicles while another involved 59 vehicles that crashed.
What does the WYDOT plan to do to help prevent these tragic truck collisions from occurring on I-80?
According to IEEE Spectrum, because the U.S. Department of Transportation selected the state of Wyoming to “participate in a new connected vehicle pilot to see whether installing dedicated short-range communications radios in vehicles and infrastructure along I-80 could improve safety,” they have used the funds they were awarded to plan this project. In fact, the department has already begun to install this new equipment and the pilot is expected to begin by the end of 2018.The radios are expected to help notify truck drivers of accidents that have occurred up ahead along with when inclement weather is present so they can prepare themselves better and avoid engaging in an accident.
The pilot is going to allow semi-trucks to have DSRC radios installed made by Lear and Sirius XM as well as a tablet that will go inside the cab to alert the drivers of the changing road conditions or accidents ahead. Weather stations will be collecting data and sharing it with WYDOT’s Transportation Management Center in Cheyenne where operators can then relay the message to the roadside radios. These radios “should be able to warn a driver if they’re about to hit another DSRC-equipped truck in front of them, or alert them of an icy patch or foggy conditions on the road ahead. And every time a driver passes by a roadside DSRC transceiver, their radio will upload data about the conditions the truck experienced on the last stretch of road.”
Hopefully, with all the time and money the WYDOT has put into this project, less commercial truck collisions will be reported. Until all these new modifications take effect, we can expect that semi-truck collisions will continue to occur on roadways all across the state of Missouri. And if you are a victim of one of these horrific crashes, consider contacting USAttorneys.com today. We will work with you to help you locate a Missouri truck accident lawyer who will determine what forms of compensation are available to you that can help get you through this difficult time.