Truck fatalities continue to rise despite safety technology

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that advanced safety technology that is already widely available could prevent around 63,000 truck-related crashes each year - if only truck fleet owners adopted the technology more quickly. The study looked at four different types of safety technologies that can easily and cost effectively be added to trucks and which could prevent hundreds of deaths. The report comes as fatal truck accidents have risen for the second straight year in a row.

Safety impact of advanced technology

The study concluded that if all new and existing trucks were equipped with video-based onboard safety monitoring systems then truck-related accidents would fall by about 63,000 per year, injuries by 17,733, and deaths by 293. If all new and existing trucks had lane departure warning systems, meanwhile, accidents would fall by 6,372, injuries by 1,342, and deaths by 115 each year.

The study also looked at the impact of having all new (but not existing) trucks adopt automatic emergency braking and air disc brakes. The results showed that automatic emergency braking would prevent up to 5,294 crashes, 2,753 injuries, and 55 deaths per year. Air disc brakes would lower crashes by 2,411, injuries by 1,447, and deaths by 37.

Deaths continue to rise

Despite the fact that such technology is described by AAA as being cost effective, many fleet owners have been slow to put in the initial investment that is necessary to make their trucks safer both for their drivers and everybody else on the road.

The delay is especially alarming given that truck accident fatalities are rising rapidly throughout the country. As American Trucker reports, figures recently released by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2016 there were 4,317 fatalities from accidents involving large trucks, which was a 5.4 percent increase from the year before and the highest number of truck-related fatalities since 2007. Furthermore, it comes after a four-percent increase in truck-related fatalities in 2015.

The NHTSA figures also showed how occupants of smaller vehicles are disproportionately at risk of being killed when involved in a collision with a large truck. The data showed that 72.4 percent of fatalities in truck-related accidents were of occupants of vehicles other than the large truck. Large truck occupants made up just 16.7 percent of the fatalities, while non-occupants made up 10.8 percent.

Help after an accident

Being involved in any type of motor vehicle accident can be devastating, but especially when it is a collision between a large truck and a smaller vehicle. Anybody who has been hurt in a truck or other type of accident should reach out to a personal injury attorney for help. An attorney can guide clients through what their legal options are and assist them with making any claims for financial compensation that they may be eligible for.