Can Technology Prevent Deadly Trucking Accidents?

When tractor trailers are involved in accidents on the road, the result is often fatal – but rarely for the trucker. That’s because, when a large vehicle like a truck collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, a bicyclist, or pedestrian, they have a serious advantage in terms of size and protection. Still, such vehicles obviously play a necessary role in transporting goods across the country, so is there really anything we can do about this issue?

One proposal that’s come to play a significant role in today’s thinking about the trucking industry is really quite simple; we have technology that assists us in nearly every aspect of our lives. What about trucking safety, then?

By employing new technology, it may be possible to significantly reduce the number of large truck fatalities – but this will take a concerted effort by major fleet owners, as well as independent operators. Still, the tools we need exist and are ready to be deployed.

Start With Fleet Maintenance

When it comes to preventing large truck fatalities, the first and easiest issue to address is fleet maintenance. Whether a fleet owner has just a few trucks or hundreds on the road, keeping up with maintenance is a key safety issue, and fleet maintenance software can help. Such programs track upkeep, ensure vehicles are in working order, and are good for driver safety and your business’s reputation since it helps minimize operation-related delays.

Emphasize Awareness

Another major factor that contributes to trucking accidents is distracted driving. This is, of course, a modern problem impacting all drivers, but the fact is that a slight swerve on the part of your average passenger vehicles is far less likely to injure someone than a drifting tractor trailer. Luckily, there are in-cab technologies that monitor driver behavior and can minimize distraction-related behaviors, like looking at a phone while driving. They can also collect data on drivers, identifying those who need a stronger corrective or professional repercussions for their behaviors behind the wheel.

In addition to the standard concerns associated with distracted driving, situational awareness is especially important for truck drivers because of how large their blindspots are. These blindspots or “no zones,” as they are sometimes referred to among passenger vehicle drivers, include a significant part of any truck’s immediate perimeter. This can easily lead to deadly collisions with bicyclists or damage, if not injury, to neighboring passenger vehicles.

Automation Options

While technology designed to minimize distracted driving can go a long way towards minimizing injuries to others on the road, they aren’t always enough. That’s why a number of fleet owners are also installing forward-collision warning technology, as well as automatic emergency braking in their trucks. Such technology can significantly reduce the total number of collisions, as well as the likelihood that a collision will be fatal, making these tools worthwhile investments for the trucking industry.

There are many factors that contribute to large truck accidents, and each requires a different solution. Still, we have to start somewhere, which is why fleet owners should be encouraged to address whichever concern is most manageable or worrisome to them.

Over time, continuous mitigation efforts will make our roads safer for everyone.