Will Self-Driving Trucks Pose Greater Danger on the Roadway? Are new laws necessary?
Commercial trucks are an essential part of our economy, and 2020 has proven this fact even more. Trucks deliver goods ordered online, work to keep shelves stocked, and much more. The trucking industry is always looking for ways to improve safety and efficiency, and one major breakthrough has been driverless trucks. Similar to driverless cars, autonomous trucks will be able to operate without human drivers. However, unlike driverless cars that regularly make the news, the rise of driverless trucks has been relatively quiet, and most people are unaware that we will likely be seeing these vehicles on the road sooner than you might think – by 2021.
While manufacturers of this technology assert these vehicles will make roads safer, people consistently wonder whether driverless trucks, in fact, will pose a greater danger on the roads and highways.
Possible Risks of Driverless Trucks
As with any new type of technology, driverless trucks could have flaws when they first hit the road. Despite exhausting numbers of tests of this complex autonomous technology, something could go wrong, or an unanticipated situation might arise on the road that the technology does not know how to react to.
Tech engineers have claimed that these trucks can operate under any conditions, including in heavy traffic, at night, in the rain, or a combination of these conditions. However, engineers cannot program technology to expect every possible situation that might lead to an accident. There is always the chance that driverless technology will fail to brake, make a turn properly, or other maneuvers that can result in a crash.
Some driverless trucks will start out with humans in the cab, but they are considered to be more like babysitters of the technology than operators. If they sense a risky situation, they can disengage the driverless system and take over. However, there are different reasons why having a human “babysitter” might not be as effective as you might think:
- Humans cannot react as quickly as technical systems, and if they sense danger, it might be too late to disengage and prevent a crash
- Humans can “check out” if they are not actively involved in driving, and mental, visual, or physical distractions can keep them from stopping the accident
Liability Issues with Driverless Truck Accidents
If a driverless truck causes a crash, who should be held responsible? This is an important question to ensure that injured accident victims receive the compensation they deserve. Some parties that might be liable include:
- Driverless truck manufacturers
- Truck drivers babysitting driverless trucks
- Trucking companies for not maintaining truck technology
- Third-party drivers
While driverless trucks might seem like something of the future, that future is near, and it is important for our legal team to examine how this might impact accident and injury claims.
Pat Neustrom has stated:
“If you have $10,000 in medical bills, it may change your life. But can you afford to sue and bring a case costing $100,000 for experts? Trucking companies should be held responsible for their trucks. If there is a defect in software or systems on driverless trucks, the law should require trucking companies to hold manufacturers liable. Their choices create danger and responsibility. Comparative fault will not work on over 90% of the cases. We need new law. If you need a good injury law firm, we are the premier injury firm in this area.”
Contact a Salina Truck Accident Lawyer after an Injury
After a truck crash, a Salina truck accident attorney at Neustrom & Associates is ready to help. Contact us online or call 785.825.1505 for your free case evaluation today.