When tractor-trailers compete with smaller passenger vehicles on South Carolina roads, the results can be deadly. The combination of excess size, speed, and industry-wide poor safety practices have long been known to lead to deadly crashes.
Fatalities attributed to collisions with large trucks have been climbing steadily in recent years, with more than 4,300 people dying in these crashes in 2016, according to Consumer Reports. This marks a 5.4 percent increase compared to the year before, per the most recent figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Can technology prevent truck accidents?
We do know that technological advances that help improve safety features can substantially lower the crash rate of passenger vehicles. These include automatic emergency braking and forward collision-warning systems.
Despite knowing how beneficial these systems are, large commercial truck carriers have not yet invested in this same technology for their fleets. In fact, many of these huge vehicles are more than a decade old, predating most of these newer features. An analysis by Securing America's Future Energy reveals less than one-fifth of commercial trucks in the U.S. have any of these newer crash prevention technologies.
Meanwhile, research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety opines that nearly a third of serious crashes involving large commercial trucks could be reduced in severity - or even prevented altogether - if these fleets were equipped with this technology. Such prevention systems include lane departure warnings, stability control, and blind-spot warning features.
Safety should be the first priority
Some of these protections warn drivers if collision conditions are imminent, while others can actually help truckers avoid them. Officials say an estimated 107,000 truck crashes might be prevented if fleets were equipped with this kind of technology.
Although most truck drivers take safety seriously and do their best to abide by federal hours-of-service regulations that limit on-the-road hours (with intent to reduce fatigued trucking accidents), a fair number of these crashes are caused by truck drivers who are operating their rigs aggressively. Often this is attributed to enormous (and perhaps unrealistic) employer pressure to meet delivery deadlines.
In the event that you or a loved one is injured in a crash with a big rig, consult with an experienced attorney at Lourie Law Firm, LLC.