Truck accidents have consistently been a leading cause of serious injuries to drivers and passengers on the roads of Florida. Now, new and developing technologies are improving truck safety in exciting ways. While technologies can reduce truck accidents Florida, truck drivers must always accept personal responsibility for safe driving practices. Carriers also must prioritize proper training and supervision of both their fleet and their drivers.
When truck accidents do occur, injury victims have legal rights which must be protected. They are entitled to be compensated for their injuries and losses from whichever negligent party caused them - whether it was a truck driver, a transportation company, a vehicle manufacturer, the developer of an autonomous driving technology, or a city which failed to maintain its roadways. Carriers can be found directly liable for negligent maintenance, retention and supervision, but they can also be held vicariously liable for the negligence of employee truck drivers - even if there is no evidence the carrier was negligent. This is possible under a legal doctrine called respondeat superior, Latin for "let the master answer." Often in those situations, the legal dispute involves whether the trucker was in fact an employee or rather an independent contractor, with vicariously liability inapplicable for the latter.
How Truck Platooning Works
According to Reuters, truck platooning is a process by which large trucks travel together, one behind the other, in order to save fuel. The trucks are digitally connected to one another, and the automated driving features improve safety for all vehicle operators on the road. Eventually, platooning technology will allow for one lead vehicle to be piloted by a live driver, while drivers in the trucks behind sleep or rest. While the regulations that would allow such autonomous fleets are not likely to come anytime soon, the trucking industry could see a significant return on investment for autonomous technologies when those changes do come. There is also a “huge efficiency potential” in being able to move cargo without federally mandated rest breaks.
Platoon Tests Around the World
Daimler, a German automaker, has received permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation for its truck division to test platooning technologies on public roadways. This permission was granted after successful trial runs were conducted at Daimler’s proving grounds in Madras, Oregon. Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board has also approved an agreement to allow testing of platoon technology in the express lanes of specified Virginia interstates. According to Fredericksburg.com, the Federal Highway Administration has already begun testing platoon groups of three tractor-trailers as part of a larger four-year study into the technology. Trucks.com reports that a total of nine states currently allow platoon testing. Arizona plans to allow limited commercial deployment, and more states are expected to follow suit. Truck platooning tests have already begun in Europe, where the European Truck Platooning challenge has done much to publicize the technology. Automotive World reports that the United Kingdom will allow platooning tests in 2018.
Like any new technology, truck platooning must be subject to many years of testing in order to generate a body of data sufficient to make accurate conclusions about its impact on driver safety. It is therefore likely to be some time before regulations make the practice widely allowed. Drivers who are injured in any truck accident - whether caused by a human driver, autonomous driving settings, improper regulations, unsafe roadways, or other factors - have legal rights. Contact an experienced West Palm Beach truck accident attorney as soon as possible after any motor vehicle accident. Truck drivers and transportation companies are legally responsible for compensating the injuries and losses they cause. It is also important to hold negligent drivers responsible so that the roads can be made safer for everyone.