The number of accidents involving semi-tractor trailers in Indiana and around the country has risen by about 33% in just the last 10 years according to government crash figures, and many of the road users killed or seriously injured in commercial vehicle collisions each year are struck from behind. Accidents involving commercial vehicles that struck the rear-ends of passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs accounted for claimed 119 lives in 2018, but that figure could be reduced substantially if all tractor-trailers were equipped with front-end collision warnings and automatic emergency braking systems.
IIHS studies truck accidents
This was the conclusion reached after researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied 2,000 truck accidents. When they compared the accident rates of tractor-trailers equipped with FCW and AEB systems to the crash rates of commercial vehicles lacking the safety features, they discovered that the technology reduced rear-end collisions by more than 40%.
Safety advocates call for mandated safety systems
The results of studies like the one conducted by the IIHS have led road safety advocacy groups to call on government agencies like the National Highway Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to require auto manufacturers to include FCW and AEB systems on all new passenger and commercial vehicles sold in the United States. These calls have so far gone unheard. However, carmakers have decided to take action. They have vowed to make AEB systems standard equipment on virtually all passenger vehicles by September 2022.
Fatigue, distraction and intoxication
Tractor-trailers that strike other vehicles from behind often have distracted, drowsy or impaired drivers behind the wheel. Experienced personal injury attorneys pursuing compensation on behalf of a truck accident victim may seek damages to cover their client’s lost income, medical bills and pain and suffering. They could also ask the jury to award punitive damages when the trucking company involved encouraged their drivers to flout hours of service regulations or took no action when they failed drug tests or were cited for distracted driving.