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Are Self-Driving Trucks More Likely to Cause an Accident?

Human error is behind the majority of devastating truck accidents that occur on busy roads and highways across the country. Distracted driving, speeding, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and drowsy driving are just a few examples of negligent behavior that continue to cause serious truck accidents in the United States. Companies like Uber, Ford, and GM tout the benefits of self-driving trucks, including the fact that autonomous trucks reduce the risk of human error, which could lead to fewer serious truck accidents. However, public opinion on self-driving trucks is mixed, particularly when it comes to the safety of automated trucks. If you or someone you know was seriously injured in an accident involving a self-driving truck, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

What Are the Proposed Benefits of Self-Driving Trucks?

Truck companies are investing a significant amount of time and money towards research on automated driving systems. Advocates of automated trucks argue that these vehicles offer a range of benefits, including:

  • Greater efficiency: Commercial truck drivers are under pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines, which often means driving long hours on too little sleep. While truck drivers are required to take stops over the course of the trip in order to get the required amount of sleep, self-driving trucks remove the need to make stops along the way, so they are able to deliver the cargo in the shortest amount of time possible. There is also a shorter turnaround time between deliveries.
  • Possible reduction in truck accidents. Drowsy driving, distracted driving, and impaired driving are some of the most common causes of truck accidents, all of which are examples of human error and are eliminated with the use of self-driving trucks. Once the truck is properly programmed, the system should select the safest way to arrive at the destination and avoid potential hazards.
  • Response to a changing job market. There has been a shift away from labor-intensive forms of employment, including truck driving. While there are jobs available for truck drivers, fewer people are interested in this type of work, which involves extended periods of time away from family. Self-driving trucks present a possible solution to this problem.
  • Reduced traffic congestion. If a truck driver does not properly navigate a sharp turn at an intersection, or uses a prohibited road as a shortcut, this can cause a traffic jam. Even though there may be an increase in the number of self-driving trucks on the roads as this technology continues to evolve, the vehicles will be programmed to follow all traffic laws, and adhere to road safety, which will help traffic continue to move smoothly.

What Are the Potential Dangers of Self-Driving Trucks?

Critics of self-driving trucks argue that certain technology and manufacturing companies are overlooking the necessary research and development in an effort to speed up the process to make a profit. In addition, while the trucking industry imposes regulations on a range of issues, including federal hours of service regulations, there are no regulations in place yet when it comes to the operation of self-driving trucks. The technology used in self-driving trucks is also a potential safety issue. If a massive commercial truck is being operated by a computer, and the computer malfunctions, or a hacker gains access to the computer system, the truck could veer off the road or collide with a passenger in the vicinity.

Are Self-Driving Trucks Really Safer?

If the human driver is removed from the equation, some believe that this could lead to fewer truck accidents. In fact, some studies suggest that automated technology could reduce the number of truck accidents by 80 percent. In addition, if a self-driving truck is in a situation where a crash is unavoidable, the truck’s automated system could reduce its speed, which could reduce the severity of the collision. However, a study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that self-driving vehicles struggled to prevent two-thirds of accidents, particularly if the automated vehicle is programmed to reflect the driver’s preferences rather than prioritizing traffic safety.

Who Is Liable for a Self-Driving Truck Accident?

Truck accidents often cause considerable property damage and severe injuries. The costs associated with these accidents can accumulate very quickly, particularly if you were severely injured and you require extensive, ongoing medical care. In order to secure the financial compensation that you deserve, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party. When it comes to truck accidents involving self-driving trucks, there are a number of parties that may be liable for the accident and the resulting injuries, including the following:

  • The truck driver: If the truck driver engaged in negligent behavior while riding in a self-driving truck, they may be liable for an accident.
  • The owner of the truck: If the owner of the truck failed to properly maintain the truck’s mechanical components, the truck company may be liable for your injuries.
  • The truck manufacturer: Mechanical defects can cause a truck to break down or fail to function properly, which can increase the risk of a serious accident. The truck manufacturer may be held liable if there was a manufacturing defect.
  • The designer of the truck’s software: A self-driving truck depends on the vehicle’s computer software to function properly. If there is a serious malfunction that causes a truck accident, the software designer may be held liable for your injuries.

Dayton Truck Accident Lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC Represent Victims of Self-Driving Truck Accidents

If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a self-driving truck accident, contact our skilled Dayton truck accident lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 937-222-7477 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Dayton, Ohio, where we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.