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How Could Self-Driving Trucks Change the Industry?

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Friday October 23, 2020.

Many experts tout the advantages of self-driving trucks, but concerns remain over whether testing on public roadways is safe.

Self-driving cars have gained traction in the consumer auto market in the US in recent years, so it is only logical that the same technology would eventually extend over to autonomous commercial vehicles. A recent article from online news outlet Vox reports that several companies are already developing strategies to put self-driving trucks on our nation’s roadways. Alphabet-owned Waymo, TuSimple, Daimler, and others stress that the vehicles offer considerable benefits. They can reduce driver fatigue, eliminate human error, and decrease the risk of accidents caused by driver distractions.

However, as testing continues on public roads with civilians, there are considerable safety questions. Self-driving technology for large trucks carries many of the same risks as it does for passenger vehicles, but there are many additional factors that are cause for concern. You should trust a Tulsa truck accident attorney for assistance if you were hurt in any type of crash, but some information on safety in the context of testing may be helpful.

Risks Involved with Testing Autonomous Freight Trucks

Developers have been testing self-driving trucks across the US in recent years, and these trials are not always occurring on remote roadways. There is a possibility that you could have been driving right next to one. Some of the safety threats include:

  • The technology incorporates sensors, cameras, and software to control and navigate the vehicle. Serious accidents can result if any of these extremely sensitive components fails. Plus, there are concerns about hacking issues from external forces.
  • Despite the advancements in self-driving technology, the vehicles are not yet reliable in bad weather and on slippery road surfaces. The system can malfunction and lose control in rain, snow, and sleet. Fog can also create issues with the cameras and sensors.
  • Autonomous trucks must still have a qualified operator behind the wheel and ready to take over manually in the event of trouble. Drivers will need extensive, high-level training, and many are not yet ready.
  • Self-driving systems can respond to predictable events and road conditions, but they cannot completely replace humans. The programming does not take into account every unforeseeable circumstance, so errors will still occur.

Additional Concerns with Self-Driving Trucks

Besides the safety issues, there are other factors that are disturbing when you consider the testing environment. For instance, a semi-tractor with a fully loaded trailer of cargo significantly outweighs other vehicles on the road. When a truck accident does occur, it is more likely to lead to fatalities and catastrophic injuries. In addition, there are complicated liability issues involved regarding the multiple parties that play a role in self-driving truck technology.

Discuss Your Legal Options with an Tulsa, OK Truck Accident Lawyer

Regardless of whether a human or technology had control over the vehicle, you do have rights as the victim of a truck crash. To learn more about them, please call 918-728-6500 or go online to contact our Tulsa, OK truck crash lawyers at BDIW Law. We can schedule a free consultation at our offices in Ponca City, Oklahoma.