The changes technology has brought to the American way of life over the past 20 years is undeniably significant. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has decided to assess the impact of those changes on an important part of the shipping industry. The agency recently announced that is launching a study of the causes of large truck crashes – the first of its kind since 2001.
The FMCSA says it will use data from the new study to help guide future government policies.
The 2001-2003 study included the review of 120,000 crashes involving large trucks. The agency said that in the years since, technology has changed the trucking industry and that there have also been evolutions in “vehicle safety, driver behavior and roadway design” since the early 2000s.
The FMCSA says that after the study concluded in 2003, there was a decrease in fatal large truck crashes until 2009. Fatal truck wrecks dropped to 2,893 that year, but have been rising steadily since. There were 4,415 fatal crashes in 2018 – an increase of more than 50 percent from the 2009 figure.
“This study will help FMCSA identify factors that are contributing to the growth in fatal large truck crashes, and in both injury and property damage only (PDO) crashes,” the federal agency said in a statement.
Of course, one of the most important changes in driving since the early 2000s is the dramatic increase in distracted driving for both truck drivers and people who are behind the wheels of passenger vehicles.
Other changes expected to be part of the new study’s evaluation of large truck wrecks include in-cab navigation and fleet management systems nearly universal in today’s big rigs, as well as the emergence of automatic braking systems (AEB).
The FMCSA is also going to look at the effectiveness of the Automated Driving Systems (ADS) that have been deployed in some commercial truck fleets. New data will help guide manufacturers’ improvements to those systems in coming years, the federal agency says.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a crash involving a tractor-trailer, contact a Raleigh lawyer skilled in both personal injury and wrongful death litigation.