The Deadly Problem
Truck crashes continue to be a major hazard for motorists. In 2016 there were 475,000 crashes involving large trucks. There were 12 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the U.S., an increase from 10.6 in 2010. Large truck crashes cause one out of every 10 motor vehicle crash deaths. A large number of these deadly accidents involved distracted or fatigued truck drivers crashing into other motorists.
A Known Solution
A large percentage of truck crashes are preventable through the use of crash avoidance technology that has been available for over twenty-five (25) years. In the 1990s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discussed available crash technology including adaptive cruise control (“ACC”), collision warning systems (“CWS”) and systems to help prevent rear-end collisions. Today, the trucking industry has available for use workable collision avoidance systems (“CAS”) including lane departure warning systems, forward collision warning systems (“FCW”) and autonomous emergency braking (“AEB”). These crash avoidance systems have proven to be effective at preventing and mitigating severe traffic injuries and deaths. A large motor carrier Con-Way discovered that the use of CAS, AEB, ESC and lane departure warning systems reduced rear-end crashes by 71%. A study conducted by Volvo Trucks demonstrated that trucks with collision warning systems were 37% less frequently involved in rear-end collisions. More than 80% of the truck drivers surveyed in that study reported they preferred driving trucks with some type of CWS.
Since 1995 the NTSB has issued 12 different recommendations calling for technological measures to prevent crashes caused by fatigued or distracted drivers. However, the federal government has failed to require truck manufacturers to install collision avoidance systems. The trucking industry has not voluntarily used this technology thereby allowing large truck crashes to continue to maim and kill motorists.
Because the federal government, the trucking companies and the truck manufacturers continue to fail to require and use these technological safety systems, plaintiff lawyers have become the leaders in attempting to reduce severe injuries and deaths through litigation. Truck accident lawyers have successfully pursued lawsuits in courts that hold trucking companies liable for failing to equip and utilize crash avoidance systems. Truck manufacturers have been held responsible for failing to equip a commercial truck with crash avoidance systems using product liability theories. Plaintiff lawyers have proven design defect claims for failing to utilize brake technology and collision warning systems. In a Texas case against Volvo, the court found that Volvo knew of safety technology and installed it in its European trucks but chose not to use that technology in the United States.
Plaintiff lawyers are bringing gross negligence and punitive damage claims in addition to negligence claims when their clients have been severely injured or killed by truck crashes that could have been prevented by use of collision avoidance technology. The experienced truck accident lawyers at the Van Blois & Associates firm have successfully litigated against trucking companies and manufacturers. The law firm is nationally recognized as a leader in trucking accidents, product liability and catastrophic injury cases.