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AAA studies benefits of truck safety technology

Many drivers in Florida and throughout the U.S. feel uncomfortable when sharing the road with commercial trucks. As trucking companies incorporate new safety technology, however, the rate of serious tractor-trailer accidents could significantly drop.

A recent AAA study analyzed the benefits of four technologies: lane departure warning units, automatic emergency braking, air disc brakes and video-based onboard safety monitoring units. The authors estimated that video-based monitoring alone could prevent up to 63,000 crashes every year. When combined, the other three could prevent over 11,500 crashes. The four together could prevent 460 deaths annually.

No original research was done; rather, the authors examined data on rates of large truck crashes between 2010 and 2015, consulted other published studies and listened to the recommendations of a special advisory panel. This panel was composed of individuals from various fields in the trucking industry, such as representatives from an insurance company, a safety technology vendor and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In a AAA companion survey, one in four adults said that they would feel better about driving alongside trucks if the safety technologies were added. However, it should be noted that only larger companies are incorporating these technologies. For the owners of smaller fleets, they are still rather expensive.

Despite these enhanced vehicle safety devices, trucking accidents can still occur. Those who are injured because a trucker fell asleep at the wheel or acted recklessly can speak with a lawyer about filing a claim. The attorney could bring in investigators to check the logbook, get the trucker's medical record and crash history and reconstruct the accident. Once the proof is established, the lawyer may negotiate for adequate compensation.

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