Friday, July 24, 2015

Will Crash Avoidance Technology Reduce Truck Accidents?

Commercial truck accidents are a serious safety issue on the highways in Florida and across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports1 that, in 2013 alone, accidents involving large trucks led to the death of nearly 4,000 individuals and caused injured to approximately 95,000 more. Furthermore, the large majority of truck accident victims are not the truck drivers but are instead occupants of other motor vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians. In order to protect other motorists on the highway, many safety advocacy groups have been seeking new ways to improve commercial truck safety in the U.S.

New technology may increase safety of motorists
In recent months, advocacy groups Road Safe America, the Center for Auto Safety, and the Truck Safety Coalition have all gone before NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation2 to request that the agency mandate that every new commercial vehicle be equipped with systems intended to prevent crashes before they occur. The technology is called the forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking (F-CAM) system.

The F-CAM is specifically meant to prevent a truck from colliding into the rear-end of a smaller passenger vehicle. The system includes both sensors and radars that can detect when a truck is drawing too near another car in front of the truck. A warning goes off to alert the driver that a forward collision is imminent, giving the driver the chance to brake. If the driver still fails to brake for some reason, a collision mitigation braking system will apply the truck's brakes on its own to avoid a crash or at least slow the truck down so that a crash is not as severe as it may have been.

Some trucks already have F-CAM systems in place, however, there is no federal mandate requiring the installation of this technology in all new trucks. In fact, estimates show that only about three percent o f commercial vehicles have such a system in place. However, research indicates that the current version of the F-CAM has the potential to prevent an estimated 2,500 crashes on an annual basis. Additionally, as companies develop more advanced and refined technology, more than 6,000 forward collisions may be avoided per year.

Override accidents can be fatal
Forward truck collisions can be especially dangerous as they often result in override accidents. An override accident occurs when the front end of a truck actually drives onto a smaller vehicle in front of it. These accidents can happen due to both the weight of the truck and the proportion of the clearance under the front of the truck to the back of a small car. As you can imagine, when an 80,000 pound truck drives onto the back of a car, devastating injuries may occur. Often, a truck may even go all the way through the rear window of a car into the back seat, where children are most often located in a vehicle.

Over the next couple of decades, the maximum tonnage of commercial trucks is expected to increase significantly. This means that override accidents can become even more dangerous and the need for F-CAM technology may become even greater to avoid serious injury. Until all trucks are required to have these systems, however, it is imperative that all commercial truck drivers avoid negligent behaviors that may lead to forward collisions. Such behaviors include distracted driving, tailgating, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fatigued driving, among other. Any driver who engages in such behavior and causes serious or fatal injuries should be held fully liable for all losses suffered by accident victims.

Find out how our qualified Clearwater truck accident attorneys can help you
At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, our team of highly skilled truck accident lawyers are committed to helping injured victims receive full compensation from any negligent truck drivers or trucking companies. We have experience facing off against large trucking corporations and have the resources necessary to successfully pursue and prove your legal claims. Our consultations are always free and we can advise you of your legal rights and options. Call today at 727-451-6900 to learn how we can help you.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756


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