“Trucks are overrepresented in fatal highway crashes,” according to John Lannen, executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition. The size of semi-trucks along with the stresses of driving trucks make them particularly vulnerable to accidents. But, as driving becomes more technologically advanced, more options become available to make semi-trucks safer.
One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a semi-truck is jackknifing. Jackknifing is when the semi’s trailer moves out of sync with the cab and forms an L or V shape with the truck, which can easily lead to a dangerous accident. Jackknifing is usually a result of improper braking or over-braking, which can cause the wheels to lock and lose traction and make the tractor swing sideways. One common anti-jackknifing technology is anti-lock brakes, which lessen the effects of over-braking by preventing the wheels from locking up and skidding. Electronic brakeforce distribution works alongside anti-lock brakes by varying the amount of force applied to each of the wheels, giving the driver more control.
Electronic Stability Control
Rollover accidents are also incredibly dangerous for semi-trucks. When trucks follow a curved path, centrifugal force can cause the truck to flip over, potentially injuring or killing the truck driver and others nearby. Electronic stability control uses sensors on the truck to detect the vehicle’s dynamics. The sensors identify any risk of rollover and can automatically slow the truck to prevent an accident.
Electronic Logging Devices
Driver fatigue and overwork can drastically increase the risk of truck accidents. To combat this problem, the law limits drivers to eleven hours of driving per day. However, drivers often work over their limit to increase earnings. Electronic logging devices can prevent this problem by recording drivers’ hours of service and driving behavior. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates that all truck drivers use electronic logging devices by December 2017 and estimates that they will prevent 1,844 crashes and 562 injuries, and save 26 lives every year.
In-cab video cameras can also prevent accidents of all kinds by monitoring driver performance. Cameras capture live footage while the truck is in motion, which can be monitored from a remote location. The cameras allow fleet directors to oversee trucks at all times. Footage from in-cab cameras can be used as evidence in the event of an accident or even prevent accidents by allowing directors to provide real-time instructions to drivers.
Collision Warning and Avoidance
Semi-trucks take significantly longer to brake than smaller vehicles, making them vulnerable to front-end crashes. Early braking systems can prevent front-end accidents by detecting and signaling possible collisions to give drivers sufficient braking time. Volvo is one of many trucking companies that has equipped its trucks with an early braking system. Volvo Trucks explains its system in this video.
When sensors on the truck detect an obstacle ahead, the windshield displays a warning light to alert the driver. If the driver doesn’t react to the warning, the display begins to flash and an alarm sounds. If there is still no reaction from the driver, the truck applies its brakes to prevent the collision. Volvo Trucks has also posted a video demonstration of this system here.
Lane Departure Warning Systems
Similar technology is used in lane departure warning systems, which interprets a vehicle’s position on the road and warns the driver when the vehicle is leaving its lane without a turn signal on. Some lane departure warning systems simply warn the driver of lane drift and rely on the driver’s correction. Other systems can automatically correct the truck’s position if the driver does not respond to the initial warning.
South Carolina Trucking Accident Attorneys
Technological advancement can never eliminate truck accidents entirely. If you have been involved in a crash, you may be able to receive a settlement and need quality representation to guide you through the process. Contact our truck accident attorneys online for a free case evaluation or call us at: