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Can platooning technology prevent trucking accidents?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Cases a Chicago truck accident lawyer sees daily

A Chicago truck accident lawyer understands that thousands are killed every year due to accidents with large trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 104,000 individuals were injured and 3,900 killed in 2012 due to accidents involving large commercial trucks, numbers that saw increases from the year before.  In 2012, large trucks had a greater chance of being involved in a fatal multiple vehicle crash than a fatal single crash. A semi-tractor trailer’s ability to cause so much damage exemplifies just what makes these vehicles so dangerous. In efforts to reduce the number of injuries and fatal accidents, researchers have developed a technology that they call platooning in which vehicles can travel in a safer environment on the nation’s highways.

What is platooning?

According to the CEO of the company responsible for the technology, platooning is when two vehicles travel in succession with linked communications and data systems. ABC News reports that the link allows the vehicles to synchronize their acceleration and braking in a way that may increase safety and create a better environment for fuel economy. Drivers maintain complete control over steering their respective trucks and can break away from the platoon at all times.

The CEO believes that platooning technology and safety go hand in hand, and trucks engaged in this symbiotic relationship may help drivers avoid the conditions that create accidents.  Using sensors from each truck, data is collected and sent in real-time to a central operations center for analysis. In addition to data on current weather and highway conditions, as well as other factors, the system determines when trucks are able to safely platoon, how fast they should be traveling, and how much distance should be kept between the two vehicles.

Initial reception

Even though the developing company has a serious interest in making sure the technology is successful, initial reception of the platooning technology has been very positive with many other agencies backing up the company’s claims. Law enforcement, a leading trucking organization and highway safety experts have overseen recent tests of the system, and many of the claims from the developers appear to be legitimate. One key feature that excites many agencies is the stopping time that the system creates. Normal reaction time for a driver is between 1 and 2 seconds. The platooning system reacts and begins to slow its trucks in just a fraction of a second. Researchers and agency officials alike believe that if the system proves itself, it has the potential to prevent many fatal crashes in the future.

Unfortunately, the technology is not now available and trucking accident fatalities are likely to continue at the same rate as previously seen. Those who have already been injured in a trucking accident can contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to get information, start the claims process, and receive the compensation they need.