Large-truck accidents are on the rise with fatal accidents seeing a 52.6% jump between 2009 and 2018. There were 4,415 such fatal accidents reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2018. Residents of Pennsylvania should know that a number of changes both in and outside of the trucking industry may be factoring into this trend.
Among the changes are advances in technology and changes to roadway design. The former is crucial because it encompasses a lot of the devices that tend to distract drivers, including smartphones, navigation systems and fleet management systems. Even vehicle safety features have been tied to inattentive driving as truckers let their guard down when these are engaged.
The FMCSA announced in January 2020 that it will be conducting an extensive study on these and other changes in the trucking industry and how they factor into large-truck crashes, including injury, tow-away and fatal crashes. The last study along these lines was conducted between 2001 and 2003, so many had long felt the need for an update.
Researchers will focus on the ways that automated driving systems can be improved as well. The FMCSA anticipates that such systems will become available for commercial truck fleets in the future and intends to create crash avoidance strategies that apply even to highly or fully automated vehicles.
In the meantime, though, truckers are meant to have control of their rigs and have a duty to keep others safe. If they crash and cause someone to incur a serious personal injury, that person may be able to sue the trucking company. A successful claim may victim victims for past and future medical expenses, vehicle replacement costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. For assistance with each step of filing a claim, victims may retain an attorney.