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Track crashes preventable

Injuries and fatalities from truck accidents are tragic, but it is even more alarming that 77,000 of these accidents could be prevented each year with existing technology. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety made this finding in its recent research.

Large trucks were involved in over 400,000 accidents in 2015, which resulted in 4,067 fatalities and 116,000 injuries. AAA discovered that crashes could have been prevented by installing new technologies to the trucks, including lane departure warning systems, video-based monitoring systems on trucks, automatic emergency braking systems and air disc brakes.

AAA conducted a cost-benefit analysis of equipping large trucks, those with a gross rate over 10,000 pounds, with these systems. Results indicated that the benefit of installing lane departure warning systems, on-board video monitoring systems and automatic emergency braking devices would greatly exceed their cost.

A video-based onboard monitoring system is comprised of in-vehicle cameras and sensors to monitor truck driver performance and assist their employer with providing analysis to the driver and improving their performance. This technology could prevent 63,000 accidents, 293 deaths and 17,733 injuries annually. Lane departure warning systems detect when a truck swerves from its lane and provides a warning to the driver. Installation could prevent 6,372 accidents, 115 fatalities and 1,342 injuries each year.

Automatic emergency brakes detect when the truck may hit the vehicle in front of it and automatically apply the brakes. These could prevent 5,294 accidents, 55 deaths and 2,753 injuries. Finally, air disc brakes improve maintenance and performance over drum brakes. These could prevent 2,411 collisions, 37 fatalities and 1,447 injuries.

The economic advantages of reducing accidents include decreasing the costs of medical care, emergency medical services, damage to property and lost productivity. Researchers also placed an economic price to pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.

Until these technologies are fully implemented, motorists still face the unnecessary risk of a truck accident. An attorney can help victims and their families when these accidents are caused by negligence or defective equipment. Attorneys can help assure that the right to compensation is pursued in court or in settlement negotiations.

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, "Leveraging large-truck technology and engineering to realize safety gains," Accessed Sept. 25, 2017

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