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Self-driving trucks are a reality, but will serious accidents actually decline?

truck accident attorneysTruck accidents are among the most serious cases a personal injury attorney sees. The tremendous forces involved in a crash between an 18-wheeler and a smaller car often result in serious injuries and even death. The cause of these tragedies is often traced back to an error by the truck driver.

That’s why news that autonomous trucks are being tested on the roads seems promising. Torc Robotics, a Daimler trucks, and technology company, began testing self-driving trucks on roads in southwest Virginia, according to CNBC.

Key points from the announcement in September:

  • An engineer must oversee the entire system and the safety of the driver during the “automated runs.”
  • All drivers in the testing hold commercial driver’s licenses and have training in automated systems and vehicle dynamics.
  • The firm has conducted safety tests on a closed loop track.

In a statement, a Daimler board member said self-driving trucks will move the company closer to its goal of delivering safe and reliable trucks that will help its customers.

Are self-driving vehicles safe?

The chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, based in the United Kingdom, told CNBC that “self-driving vehicles are still some way off because of the challenges involved with equipping them to handle all possible driving situations.”

There are five levels of self-driving. At level 5, an automated vehicle can drive under all conditions. On the other side of the scale, a level 1 vehicle can independently accelerate and steer. Daimler wants to bring level 4 automated driving onto the roads, which means the trucks can drive themselves under limited conditions.

Self-driving cars might seem futuristic, but they have been seen on the streets and crashes involving automated cars have been reported. Carsurance.net cited several different sources in their examination of self-driving cars. Wired reported there have been 13 serious crashes, including six fatalities, involving self-driving cars. According to Government Technology, “self-driving cars have a have a higher rate of accidents compared to human-driving cars but the injuries are less serious.”

What to do if injured in a truck accident?

Will trucking accidents be eliminated with automated technology? Unfortunately, that does not seem likely to happen. We have read news reports about fatalities involving self-driving vehicles, including an Uber crash that resulted in a pedestrian’s death. Hopefully, technological advances will reduce the number of tragedies.

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a trucking accident, contact experienced personal injury lawyers at Davis, Davis, Davis, & Davis, PC.

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