Truckers in Kentucky know first-hand how their industry has changed over the years with fleets having navigation systems, fleet management systems and safety features like automatic emergency braking installed on them. These changes naturally affect the way truckers drive, and if they reduce the risk for crashes in some respects, they can raise it in others.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration intends to study the effect of these changes and determine what new factors are becoming widespread in tow-away, injury and fatal crashes involving large trucks. It announced this plan for a large-truck causation study in January 2020 and is welcoming feedback on how best to proceed. The last time the FMCSA conducted such a study was in the early 2000s.
The announcement comes at a time when truck crashes, especially fatal ones, are on the rise. Between 2009 and 2018, for instance, there was a 52.6% jump in fatal truck collisions. A total of 4,415 such crashes occurred in 2018.
Among other things, the FMCSA will be taking into account the distracting effect of calling and texting behind the wheel. It will also look into what sort of capabilities the automated driving systems of the future will need to ensure safety among commercial fleets. Researchers ultimately hope to create effective crash mitigation and avoidance strategies.
When truck collisions occur as a result of trucker distraction, injury victims may be able to file a claim and be reimbursed for their medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. Victims may want a lawyer to evaluate their case in light of Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence law. If the case holds up, the lawyer may go on to build it up with the help of crash investigators, medical experts and other third parties.