Tractor-Trailer Accidents and Automated Trucks

Tractor-trailer accidents are not a rarity here in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that in the year 2012 alone, there were 9,739 reported auto accidents involving tractor-trailers. These tractor-trailer accidents account for 3.8 percent of all reported auto accidents in Illinois. Tractor-trailer involved accidents often result in fatalities! This is a problem across the nation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that in 2012 there were 3,802 tractor-trailers connected to fatal auto accidents.

Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents and Automated Tests

There are numerous causes of tractor-trailer accidents; some are more common than others. The common causes are driver fatigue, defective brakes, traffic patterns, drugs and speeding. In hopes of reducing tractor-trailer related accidents, Peloton Technology is experimenting with automated tractor-trailers.  

Ohio is the test-site for this experiment and it will take place on one of Ohio’s busier highways, Alum Creek Drive. The tests involve two-truck platoons that are to be controlled by technology. Within each platoon, every other tractor-trailer is to be automated. These automated trucks will be programed to closely tailgate the truck directly in its path. The brakes and steering of the automated trucks are to be synched to the truck ahead of it.

It should be noted that, at the moment, the tractor-trailers will not be entirely automated or automatic. Instead, the automated trucks will operate as if you are driving your vehicle in cruise control mode. So, what this means is that there must be a driver behind the tractor-trailer’s steering wheel at all times. The driver must remain aware with his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

The Benefits of Automated Trucks

In an effort to cut back on tractor-trailer accidents, various states are beginning to test automated tractor-trailers. If successful, automated tractor-trailers will not only reduce the number of truck-related accidents, but will also save money by significantly reducing fuel use, and it will benefit the atmosphere and our health.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tractor-trailers are responsible for 20 percent of all greenhouse emissions and fuel use across the nation. This is true despite tractor-trailers only accounting for five percent of all vehicles on the road. By the automated tractor-trailers being capable of closely following the truck directly in its path, this will reduce drag time and thus save on fuel use. By reducing fuel use, we will thereby save money.

The United States Department of Energy maintains that this reducing fuel use will also slow climate change by decreasing the carbon footprint, decreasing the cost of oil dependency and increasing our energy sustainability. Automated tractor-trailers will also help decrease pollution. By automated tractor-trailers decreasing pollution, our health is benefited.

Are you injured from an Auto Accident?

If you are injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, it is important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. The Illinois personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have such experience and will aggressively take on your case. Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.


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