Truck accidents cause more severe injuries than accidents involving passenger vehicles. This is because larger, heavier vehicles exert more momentum, and thus greater force with which to cause injuries during a collision. Truck accident injury victims in Seminole County have the legal right to be compensated for their losses by anyone who is legally responsible for causing the accident. This can be the truck driver, the transportation company which employed the driver, or a state, county, city, or local government which failed to maintain the roadway infrastructure in a safe condition. Luckily, new truck safety technologies have the potential to make the roads of Florida safer for everyone.
How Truck Platooning Technology Reduces Truck Accidents
Truck platooning is a process by which self-driving commercial trucks travel together on long stretches of highway. The process allows the vehicles to both improve fuel efficiency and reduce the risk of serious truck accidents. In a truck platoon, a lead vehicle is piloted by a human driver, and other self-driving trucks follow closely behind. The trucks are all connected digitally. This allows the follow trucks to immediately respond to braking or changes in cruise control made by the lead driver. The process also improves fuel efficiency, as follow trucks benefit from the decreased wind resistance created by the trucks ahead. While current road regulations do not allow the technology to be widely employed with all autonomous features engaged, Reuters reports that several states have allowed limited testing of the technology (usually with human drivers in all vehicles, prepared to take over in the event that the self-driving features fail).
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. Here in America, nine states currently allow platoon testing, and Oregon is the latest state to join the fray. Trucks.com reports that 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. Many more states are expected to follow suit, and Arizona plans to allow limited commercial deployment. The Federal Highway Administration also recently announced successful tests of three-truck platoons in Centreville, Virginia, just miles outside of the nation’s capital.
State Laws Protect Florida Accident Victims
The expansion of autonomous driving technologies raises an interesting legal question: who is responsible for an accident caused by a self-driving vehicle? Though the situation is slightly different, the legal principle remains the same. Any person whose negligence causes an auto accident is legally obligated to compensate the injury victim for his or her losses. Platoon trucks are held to the same legal standards as any other vehicle on the road. For example: Section 316.123 of the Florida Statutes governs the right of way at intersections. A driver who fails to yield the right of way is legally responsible for compensating an accident victim for injuries sustained in a resulting collision. Similarly, an injury victim who is injured by a self-driving vehicle which failed to yield the right of way is also entitled to be compensated for his or her losses. The victim can be compensated by any person or company whose negligence caused the self-driving truck to malfunction. This could be the truck’s manufacturer, the software developer, the transportation company which put the self-driving truck on the road, or an employee who was supposed to be monitoring the self-driving technology.
An experienced Seminole County truck accident attorney will ensure that truck accident victims are fairly compensated for their injuries and losses.