You’re motoring along a San Bernardino County road when you notice that the truck ahead of you looks as long as a city block. It’s not your imagination. It is as long as a city block. But it is in the slow lane. Whew.
But wait - is it wobbling into your lane with no directional flashing? Or that it your imagination?
Your worry is understood. In 2015, large trucks were involved in more than 400,000 accidents, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths and 116,000 injuries, according to AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety - a nonprofit research organization.
That is a four percent increase from the previous year. But according to a study by Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering Safety Gains, in conjunction with AAA, adding advanced safety technology has the potential to prevent more than 60,000 truck related accidents a year.
Among the suggestions:
- Lane departure warning systems, which alert the driver when a vehicle drifts out of its lane.
- Automatic emergency braking systems, which detect when a truck is in danger of striking a vehicle (and brakes automatically if needed).
- Air disc brakes, which compared to traditional drum brakes, provide maintenance and performance advantages.
- Video-based onboard safety monitoring systems, which can use cameras in vehicles and other sensors to monitor the driver’s performance and behavior. They can also help trucking companies provide feedback to their drivers.
“There’s no question that truck safety technology saves lives,’’ said Dr. David Yang, executive direction of the AAA Foundation. “This new research shows that the benefits of adding many of these technologies to trucks clearly outweigh the cost.’’
The survey’s analysis also claims that lane departure warning systems could prevent up to 6,300 crashes, 1,300 injuries and more than 115 deaths per year.
The report also recommended that, when traveling near a large truck, drivers should:
- Follow at a safe distance.
- Be aware that trucks have large blind spots. If you cannot see the driver in the truck’s side view mirror, he or she cannot see you.
- Leave plenty of room between your car and a truck when coming to a stop on a hill. Trucks may roll back as the driver takes his or her foot off the brake.
- Don’t speed up when a truck is passing. Slow down and give the truck plenty of room to pass.
- Allow plenty of space for a truck driver who is signaling to change lanes.
A recent AAA consumer survey conducted in parallel with the report found that six out of ten U.S. adults feel less safe driving past large commercial trucks than driving past passenger cars. This is due to factors like large truck size and the fact that trucks have larger blind spots and less visibility.
About one in four U.S. adults, according to the survey, said that adding safety technology to large trucks would help them feel better about sharing the road.
It’s not just your imagination.
If you are involved in an accident with a truck, please contact the Law Offices of Brian Brandt.