The coming impact of technology on the trucking industry and road safety cannot be overstated. From electronic log books to self-driving semis, the future is here.
Refrigerators are already being delivered to Southern California by robot trucks, according to Wired Magazine.
Technology v. Trucking Accidents in West Palm
Trucking accidents are complex cases and are best handled by a truck accident attorney experienced in handling traffic collisions involving commercial vehicles. This will be even more true in the future, as technology will play an increasing role in determining fault.
While many motorists cringe at the prospect of being forced to share the road with 80,000-pound driverless tractor-trailers barreling down the freeway at 75 miles per hour, they would do well to remember the most dangerous part of the equation has always been the truck driver.
The most common factors leading to commercial trucking accidents include drug use, traveling too fast for conditions, unfamiliarity with the road, driver distraction and fatigue.
So it's no wonder entrepreneurs like Elon Musk continue to invest billions in safe-trucking technology. According to the Wired report, autonomous trucks are hauling Frigidaire refrigerators along a 650-mile stretch of I-10, from a warehouse in El Paso, to a distribution center in Palm Springs. A human driver rides in the cab to monitor the computerized driver.
But ditching the human driver is the goal. Not only are drivers the most expensive part of delivering goods, there is a critical shortage of more than 50,000 qualified truckers, which increases the cost of delivering goods and makes it all the more likely that drivers will ignore safety rules put in place to protect the pubic.
Trucking technology impacts motorist safety
Under federal law, Hours of Service regulations of commercial truckers limit driving to 11 hours before 10 consecutive hours off. They may not drive more than 14 hours in any 24-hour period and no more than 60 hours in any consecutive 7-day period.
But the industry has relied for decades on paper logbooks, which permit truckers to self-report compliance. After years of debate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has finally started mandating electronic reporting. The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Rule applies to most carriers that are required to keep records of duty status under federal law. The rule went into effect Dec. 18, 2017, so we are already starting 2018 on a safer note thanks to technology.
Some of the initial units may not measure speed, but the speed of a commercial rig can be deduced by miles traveled and length of time. Other technologies, including speed-limiters, offer even greater promise but are not yet mandatory and so are not being as widely deployed. In mid-2017, the trucking industry reported federal speed-limiting rules had stalled in Washington.
When it comes to trucking accidents, deployment of new technology is likely to have a positive impact on traffic safety and may even provide proof of fault to plaintiff's injury lawyers who know where and how to look for it. That's why you need the legal counsel of an experienced truck accident attorney at Gonzalez & Cartwright. We'll be glad to answer your questions and help weigh your options.