Features That Can Save Lives and Reduce Big Rig Accidents
In April 2019, a commercial truck lost control and collided with more than two dozen stopped vehicles on I-70 west of Denver, killing four people. This tragic accident was another reminder of the rise in fatal Colorado truck accidents over the last decade.
The number of fatal accidents involving commercial trucks in Colorado more than doubled between 2009 and 2017, increasing from 35 crashes to 80 crashes that resulted in 87 fatalities. Yet during those years, federal and state agencies introduced the most complex system ever used in the United States to track the mechanical and safety violations of commercial trucks. New safety technology may help bring the numbers down.
Making Trucking Safer
Trucking companies are continually adding new safety features to their fleets to reduce the risk and deadliness of crashes.
- Monitoring blind spots. Commercial vehicles have large blind spots along both sides and in the rear of the truck. When a car lingers in these no-zones, the truck driver often cannot see it. Blind-spot detection systems use radar sensors to monitor no-zones and warn drivers if a vehicle is detected.
- Automatic braking. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a normal passenger car traveling 65 miles per hour requires about 300 feet to stop. A fully-loaded truck driving at the same speed requires about twice that distance. Automatic braking systems use forward-looking sensors, alerts, and automatic braking technology to help prevent rear-end collisions involving commercial trucks.
- Limiting speed. Speeding is a major cause of truck accidents. Speed limiters use electronic sensors to detect how fast a vehicle is going, and they communicate this information to a computer that controls the engine’s functions. Once a pre-determined speed has been reached, the computer restricts the flow of air and fuel to the engine, rendering the vehicle unable to exceed the set speed.
- Forward video monitoring. Also known as dash cams, forward-facing cameras are mounted on the truck’s dashboard to record the road from the perspective of the driver. Among other benefits, these cameras promote safe driving habits and provide carriers with data that can help them identify areas where drivers may need additional training.
- Lane-departure warning. Commercial trucks are so big and heavy that the consequences of drifting into another lane can be deadly. Lane departure warning systems alert drivers with an audible warning, wheel vibration, or illuminated icon if they cross lane markers without signaling. Lane-keeping assist will even steer the vehicle back to the middle of the lane.
- Crash notification. Automatic crash notification (ACN) lets emergency responders know about an accident and where it happened. These systems work by detecting that an airbag has been deployed or that a sudden and severe deceleration has occurred. Especially valuable in rural areas where there are often few if any witnesses to call 911, ACN systems can save lives by helping medical personnel reach an accident scene as quickly as possible.
Contact an experienced Colorado trucking accident attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a commercial truck, contact personal injury attorney Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 for a free consultation.