What Types of Safety Features Do Semi-Trucks Have?October 10, 2022
The commercial trucking industry remains integral to our daily life. Semi-trucks haul cargo across and around the nation, ensuring that people and businesses have access to the physical products they need. However, owing to their size, commercial trucks such as semis and big rigs can cause extensive damage and life-threatening personal injuries when they are involved in truck accidents.
Truck manufacturers, fleet operators, and truckers themselves have made progress to help reduce the number of trucking accidents each year. One method is by incorporating safety features into the trucks. Whether the safety features are built-in during the manufacturing process or added on later, they help keep everyone on the road a little safer.
Have Trucks Kept Up with Car Safety Features?
If you have purchased a car recently, you know that the auto industry has been diligent about adding more safety features to newer vehicles. Many makes and models of cars come standard with anti-lock brakes, collision warning, dashboard cams, and back-up cameras. Unfortunately, the truck industry has lagged behind and is only now catching up.
Why are truck and car manufacturers not on the same page about adding safety devices to their vehicles? The simplest answer involves the price of upgrades. Semi-trucks can average around $150,000 apiece. Investing in a whole new fleet can seem daunting to companies. Individual truckers who own their trucks are equally as reluctant to replace their vehicles before they need to do so. With that being said, many after-market alterations could be made cost-effectively.
What Safety Features Are Being Embraced by Truckers and Truck Companies?
Not all trucks are running without advanced safety features. Plenty of them have begun to rely on popular features including lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring, forward video monitoring, and electronic stability control.
What Are Truck Lane Departure Warning Systems?
Truckers typically drive hundreds of miles each day, making them more prone to conditions such as fatigue and distraction. Even taking the eyes off the road for a few seconds can lead a trucker to veer across lanes on the highway.
Lane department warning systems for trucks work in the same way as they do for cars. When the truck tires leave the confines of the lanes on the road, a signal alerts the trucker. The trucker can then make the necessary driving adjustments.
One of the most common types of trucking accidents involves sideswiping. Lane department warning systems can help to reduce sideswipe events by giving truckers the opportunity to realign their wheels.
How Does Blind Spot Monitoring Work on a Truck?
Semi-trucks have several blind spots. These are large areas that are essentially invisible to the trucker. These blind spots are known as “no zones.” When other vehicles, such as cars or SUVs, are in the truck’s blind spot, the trucker may not know they are there. Blind spot monitoring systems can be the answer.
These systems rely on sensors. The sensors can tell when an object is in the truck’s blind spot. Like the lane department warning system, the trucker hears a sound or sees a visual notification on the dashboard that something is in a blind spot. When used in tandem with other blind spot warning features such as mirrors, blind spot monitoring devices can become a trucker’s second set of eyes on the road.
What Does Forward Video Monitoring Do for Trucks?
Like a car dash cam, a forward-facing video monitoring camera is mounted on the dashboard of the truck. The camera gives a so-called trucker’s eye view of the road. Two different kinds of forward video monitoring are available: continuous or event based.
Continuous video monitoring works as you might expect. As soon as the truck starts to run, the dashboard video begins capturing images. These images can be invaluable during trucking accident cases for proving what happened. Event-based video monitoring kicks in when an event such as a collision is likely to occur. The system starts recording what the camera sees when an event seems imminent.
Depending on the video monitoring system chosen, the trucker may get an alert or the truck itself may react to the video image. For instance, some event-based video monitoring systems can be connected to the braking system to activate the brakes before a collision.
How Can Truckers Benefit from Electronic Stability Control Systems?
Rollover accidents involving semi-trucks can be fatal to truckers, as well as other drivers and their passengers. Nevertheless, commercial trucks are more prone to rolling because of instability related to their length, height, and weight.
Electronic stability control systems recognize when a truck seems out of control. The system works with anti-braking systems to find ways to rebalance the vehicle before it tips over.
Future-Forward Safety Features for Semi-Trucks
The future looks bright for truck companies, truck manufacturers, and truckers interested in making semi-trucks even safer. Many technologies are showing promise when it comes to finding ways to boost the overall safety and design of big trucks. Some that are being tested and gaining momentum include the following:
Fused technology: Fused technology is the outcome of two technologies working seamlessly together. A good example of fused technology would be forward-facing cameras working with radar sensors. The right technology could examine the size and shape of an object to provide an instant classification of what it might be. Knowing whether an object was likely a deer, a bicyclist, or a car could be important for a trucker.
Active steering: Already available on many commercial trucks, active steering makes some of the steering adjustments on behalf of the driver. However, it is not autonomous and is not intended to replace a trucker. Active steering could be considered a type of nudge to help truckers make better steering judgments.
Cross-traffic mitigation systems: Like blind spot monitoring systems, cross-traffic mitigation systems stay on the lookout for objects along the sides of the semi-truck. These systems are engineered to avoid not only sideswipe accidents but also rear-end and even T-bone accidents. Ideally, cross-traffic mitigation systems tie in other types of truck safety features to provide the most robust results.
More cameras: As noted above, manufacturers of semi-trucks are exploring the use of many types of cameras. One type that has not become standard is the mirror camera. Mirror cameras sit behind conventional mirrors. They give a wider view of the road than traditional mirrors, offering a superior field of vision and range.
What Are the Advantages to Truckers Adopting More Safety Features?
As a driver, you want to feel more comfortable, secure, and confident when you share roads with semi-truck drivers. Advanced safety features prompt greater peace of mind for everyone thanks to their main benefits.
- Fewer crashes: Truck accidents can be catastrophic and expensive. If an advanced safety feature can save just one life, it has already paid for itself.
- Lower insurance costs: Truck insurance, like car insurance, is based on the chance of risk. Lowering the risk of a truck accident can lead to lower insurance costs for truckers and fleet owners.
- Healthier truckers: Many semi-truck safety features keep truckers more alert. This may end up helping them make better choices, such as pulling over to get rest when they begin to show signs of drowsiness.
- More efficient runs: Inefficiencies such as unnecessary idling cost trucking companies untold amounts every year. The right safety features can make truckers more effective, optimizing each run.
- Lower litigation fees: When car drivers and passengers get hurt in trucking accidents, the resulting fees can be very high for the trucking-related defendants. Safety features can mitigate the cost of litigation.
What to Do after a Truck Accident
Many future truck accidents will be avoided thanks to the implementation of safety features such as rear-facing and front-facing cameras. Nevertheless, some truck accidents are likely to occur.
If you or someone you care about is severely injured after being in a semi-truck accident, you may want to talk with a skilled truck accident attorney. Trucking accident lawyers have the expertise to counsel you on your rights as an accident survivor. Most trucking accident law firms offer free consultations, so you have the chance to learn more without paying anything out of pocket for the advice.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients Recover from an Accident with a Semi-Truck
Drivers can feel overwhelmed, scared, and confused after being in an accident with a semi-truck. If you were involved in an accident with a truck, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will explain every step of the claims process and ensure that you receive full and fair financial benefits. Our dedicated legal team will continue to fight for you until you are completely satisfied. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.