Drivers in Texas regularly share the road with truck drivers. While most drivers exercise caution when in close proximity to big rigs, some are reckless regardless of who they share the roads with. Even when careful, some drivers may become the unfortunate victim of another driver’s mistake. Maybe a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel or swerves to avoid a pedestrian and strikes the car in the neighboring lane.
According to a CNBC article published in 2014, there are 11 fatal truck accidents every day. These kill 4,000 people each year. Another 100,000 people are injured in these accidents each year. To put this into dramatic perspective, a commercial plane would need to crash every week and kill everyone on-board to have the same statistical effect.
Here are some of the top reasons these accidents continue to happen:
- Tired truck drivers
- Passenger vehicles weaving through traffic
- Poor driver screening by trucking companies
- Slow government approval for safety tech on the roads
Business Insider proposes autonomous trucks as a possible solution. Surprisingly, it is not technology that keeps these trucks off the road. Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and other trusted car manufacturers have been working on autonomous technology for trucks, for years. In fact, Mercedes-Benz made history in 2015 when they put a semi-autonomous truck on a public road.
However, autonomous trucks only solve one part of the problem. Studies have shown that 80% of crashes involving trucks and passenger vehicles are caused by the passenger vehicles, not the truck. Because of this, until passenger vehicles learn to give trucks a wider berth on the road, autonomous vehicles may only lower up to 20% of the dangers that come with sharing the road with truck drivers.