Large truck accidents are a serious danger to other motorists, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.
Luckily, new and improving safety technologies hold the potential to reduce truck accident rates across the country. There are many factors that can cause truck accidents - and in most cases - they can be catastrophic. An experienced Laredo truck accident attorney will help accident victims identify all negligent parties in order to seek full compensation.
How Truck Platooning Technology Reduces Truck Accidents
According to Reuters, truck platooning is a process by which large trucks travel together - one behind the other - in order to save fuel. The trucks are digitally connected to one another, and the automated driving features improve safety for all motorists on the road. Eventually, platooning technology will allow for one lead vehicle to be piloted by a live driver, while drivers in the trucks behind, sleep or rest. While the regulations that would allow such autonomous fleets are still a long way off, the trucking industry could see a significant return on investment for autonomous technologies when those changes do come. There is also a "huge efficiency potential" in being able to move cargo without federally mandated rest breaks.
While current road regulations do not allow the technology to be widely employed with all autonomous features engaged, Reuters reports that several states have allowed limited testing of the technology (usually with human drivers in all vehicles, prepared to take over in the event that the self-driving features fail). Truck platooning tests have already begun in Europe, where the European Truck Platooning challenge has done much to publicize the technology. Automotive World reports that the United Kingdom will allow platooning tests in 2018. Here in America, nine states currently allow platoon testing, and Oregon is the latest state to join the fray. Trucks.com reports that Daimler, a German automaker, has received permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation for its truck division to test platooning technologies on public roadways. This permission was granted after successful trial runs were conducted at Daimler's proving grounds in Madras, Oregon. Many more states are expected to follow suit, and Arizona plans to allow limited commercial deployment. The Federal Highway Administration also recently announced successful tests of three-truck platoons in Centreville, Virginia, just miles outside of the nation's capital.
Texas Law Protects Accident Victims' Rights to Compensation
The expansion of autonomous driving technologies raises an interesting legal question: who is responsible for an accident caused by a self-driving vehicle? Though the situation is slightly different, the legal principle remains the same. Any person whose negligence causes an auto accident is legally obligated to compensate the injury victim for his or her losses. Platoon trucks are held to the same legal standards as any other vehicle on the road. The victim can be compensated by any person or company whose negligence caused the self-driving truck to malfunction. This could be the truck's manufacturer, the software developer, the transportation company which put the self-driving truck on the road, or an employee who was supposed to be monitoring the self-driving technology.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, contact a dedicated Laredo truck accident attorney as soon as possible. If the truck driver and/or carrier was negligent in causing the crash, you may be entitled to damages.