Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) offer added protection for truck drivers and for other drivers on the road. These integrated technologies allow near-instant communication between vehicles and their home bases and can provide added help for truckers in navigating unfamiliar areas. ITS implementations may even reduce the number of 18-wheeler accidents. With more than 400,000 crashes and 5,000 fatalities involving these large trucks annually in the U.S., the need for these advanced technologies is evident. For victims of trucking accidents, an 18 wheeler accidents attorney has experience in these cases and can provide solid representation and real help in obtaining the compensation necessary to treat injuries and recoup costs associated with the recovery process.
The Basics of ITS
In general, ITS technology provides added safeguards to improve highway safety. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) has sponsored research into a variety of methods for implementing intelligent transportation systems in current and future projects, including the following:
- Integrated transportation communication systems that use wireless technology to provide valuable information to drivers and that track traffic and weather conditions on an ongoing basis
- Construction methods that reduce the risk of rollover accidents by adjusting centrifugal forces on curves and ramps to promote a safer environment for all vehicles
- Advanced weigh station technologies that can identify overloaded trucks on the highway and can reduce the incidence of overweight vehicles on the road
- Snow and ice melting systems for dangerous or high-traffic areas
- Fleet control systems that deliver information on speeds, locations and traffic safety directly from the 18-wheeler to the trucking company to allow for more efficient deployment of vehicles and greater control over their employees on and off the road
Many of these technologies are already in place and available to 18-wheeler drivers and the companies that employ them. As the DoT continues to implement these construction techniques, communication systems and weigh stations, drivers throughout Texas and across the country will enjoy greater safety on streets and highways.
Working toward Fewer Accidents
Additional technologies are available for installation directly into 18-wheelers that can reduce driver inattention, provide early warning of obstacles and accidents in the road ahead and that can alert drivers regarding signs of fatigue or drowsiness. By implementing these systems, trucking companies can help their employees stay focused on the road and can lower their own liability risk while protecting the safety of other drivers and passengers. Although new hours-of-service rules were put into effect in July 2013, drivers are still allowed to work 14-hour days and may be on the road for 11 of those hours. As a result, driver fatigue continues to be a factor in many 18-wheeler accidents.
Size and Weight Increase Risks
Improving 18-wheeler safety is of critical importance due to the size and weight of these vehicles. Fully loaded, a semi-trailer truck can weigh up to 20 tons and may take nearly twice as long to come to a complete stop compared with smaller vehicles. In a collision with a smaller car or truck, 18-wheelers typically cause catastrophic damage not only to the vehicle but also to the driver and passengers inside. Long recovery times are typical for victims of 18-wheeler accidents. In many cases, consulting a qualified truck accident lawyer in Texas can ensure a more positive outcome and can allow these victims to obtain adequate compensation for their injuries and losses.
ITS technologies offer new hope for reducing the number of semi-trailer truck accidents and improving conditions for all drivers on Texas roadways. For those who have been injured or who have lost a family member to an 18-wheeler crash, however, working with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can provide added financial stability and can allow these individuals to hold trucking companies accountable for failing to implement safety measures for their fleets.