Young & McCarthy LLP

5 New Developments in Truck Safety Technology

Serious truck accidents are common.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were more than 400,000 traffic accidents involving trucks in 2015. Of those, nearly 100,000 caused injuries, and 3,600 resulted in fatalities.

Though the automobile industry is moving toward developing autonomous driving technology, truck-drivers are asking what safety technology is available today to help them avoid accidents and make roads safer.

Video-based onboard safety monitoring systems

This monitoring system helps drivers make a more informed decision when choosing whether they should pass into an oncoming traffic lane to get by a large truck. By placing a video wall on the back of the truck, a monitoring system can display the road conditions ahead for drivers behind the truck in real-time.

The recent launch of the Samsung Safety Truck is just one example of the many heavy vehicles utilizing this technology to make our roads safer. The Samsung Safety Truck combines four OH46D video walls at the rear of the truck. The display is both dust- and water-proof to minimize the chances of weather conditions interfering with a driver’s view of the screens.

Lane departure warning systems

Similar to rumble strips in the road, lane departure warning systems alert drivers that they are changing lanes. The purpose of this alert is to catch the attention of a driver that may be accidentally drifting out of his or her lane, rather than intentionally choosing to do so.

Using these systems in conjunction with other ways to minimize distracted driving can reduce the number of “close calls” and full-blown catastrophes on the road.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the benefits of lane departure warning systems and video monitoring systems outweigh the costs associated with purchasing and installing them.

Air disc brakes

The increasing popularity of disc brakes is apparent for the superior performance they provide over drum brakes. Many truck equipment manufacturers have made air disc brakes (ADBs) standard equipment. International, Peterbilt, Kenworth and Freightliner Trucks are just a few of the manufacturers who provide ADBs as a standard on truck models.

Automatic emergency braking

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems brake automatically if a truck is in danger of striking the vehicle or object in front of it.

The technology works by using a sensor, which can detect both the proximity and speed of the car in front of it to estimate whether an impending forward crash is at risk of occurring. Prior to applying the brakes automatically, the system warns the driver to take corrective action.

Driving logs

Today, most U.S. interstate commercial trucking operations are required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs). These are logs that commercial drivers use to track hours-of-service (HOS) and records of duty status (RODS).

The electronic records allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to ensure that the requirements and restrictions they've set for truck drivers are being met and not exceeded. With less drivers feeling fatigued, stressed and overworked from hours that are too long, there’s a higher likelihood that they can focus on truck-driving best practices.

Though the recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study indicates that passenger vehicle drivers are most often at fault in collisions with heavy trucks or buses, these collisions often create cause to file an accident claim or lawsuit in any case. Electing to use these safety technologies in addition to wearable safety technology could mean a world of difference.

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