Trucking companies are quick to reference data suggesting that a majority of tractor-trailer accidents are caused by the driver of a passenger vehicle. However, the failure of the trucking industry to adopt available technology that can furnish a complete record of the way a semi crash occurs would seem odd given this assumption. Technology that provides a complete visual record of a truck driver’s actions and the road ahead immediately prior to a collision would encourage safe driving by truckers and demonstrate that the truck driver and trucking company did not cause the accident. The slow adoption of this technology suggests that the trucking industry has some doubt about whether a complete crash record would exonerate commercial drivers and the companies for whom they work.
The “Smartdrive®” system, for example, is comprised of a multi-camera computer system that records video of a truck driver’s actions inside the cab of a semi-truck and the view from the cab available to the driver of the road ahead. The computer combines this video content with other footage produced by cameras located on the truck to deliver real time footage of a trucking collision from a vast array of perspectives. This technology could provide a commercial carrier with information about g-forces imposed on the truck, braking events, vehicle speed, engine RPMs, lane departures, following distance, and other vehicle and/or engine data.
If this system were adopted by the trucking industry, the footage provided along with black box data would simplify the process of determining exactly what happened in the wake of a fatal trucking accident. The hesitancy of the trucking industry to implement this type of technology suggests that trucking companies are not so sure that unsafe passenger car drivers are the most significant cause of semi-truck crashes. If the primary cause of serious trucking collisions was negligent drivers of passenger cars, this footage would provide a valuable tool for trucking companies to avoid liability claims.
Although the trucking industry predictably opposes this type of safety improvement based on cost concerns, these objections rings hollow. Admittedly, installation of this type of system involves a financial investment, but trucking companies could reduce or avoid litigation costs, settlements, and jury verdicts resulting from commercial carriers mistakenly being determined to be at-fault for causing collisions. The increased information also would permit trucking companies to more closely supervise and monitor its drivers, saving the company expenses related to regulatory fines, vehicle wear and tear, and/or damage to the vehicle from abusive driving practices.
Given these savings from use of a system that facilitates completely accurate reconstruction of a commercial trucking accident, it is fair to speculate whether the hesitation of the trucking industry is more related to an “ignorance is bliss” attitude than concerns about cost containment. While trucking companies would have more information about unsafe practices by their drivers if they implemented this type of system, commercial carriers also would have limited ability to deny knowledge of hours of service violations and other regulatory violations by drivers.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Unsafe Trucking Practices
If you or a close family member suffers a serious injury or you lose someone you love in a big-rig crash, our Miami Trucking Accident Injury Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.