Few people would dispute that one of the main dangers on Mississippi roads is the number of large trucks traveling on them. What many people may not know is just why so many fatal accidents are caused. The short answer is: driver error. Anything that can help reduce driver errors on Mississippi highways will reduce the number of innocent people killed and maimed every year. Just look at the statistics for our state, supplied by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Over 280,000 crashes involving large trucks in Mississippi alone;
- Only a third of truck accidents were on an Interstate. The majority were on rural roads;
- A third of truck accidents occurred at night;
- Nearly 90% of fatal truck accidents occurred on a weekday.
The main causes of truck accidents in Mississippi are:
- Driving too fast for the conditions;
- Distracted driving;
- Driver fatigue;
- Reckless or aggressive driving including tailgating;
- Misjudging changing lanes;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Less common reasons for truck accidents included defective brakes, tires or steering; bad weather; load too heavy or badly secured loads.
Note that the vast majority of accidents that result in someone being killed or seriously injured are due to driver error of some sort. In the majority of cases when a collision takes place between a large, heavy trucks and a smaller vehicle, such as an auto, the occupants of the smaller vehicle invariably come off worse. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders are even more at risk than those in a vehicle with four or more wheels and some sort of all round protection.
The Trucking Alliance, a group of transportation and logistics companies, including KLLM here in Mississippi, have just unanimously approved their support for the development and use of “autonomous trucks” with the proviso that they do not completely remove the need for a commercial driver.
An autonomous truck is another name for what has been erroneously termed “driverless vehicles”. Rather than being able to be used without a driver at all, these vehicles are fitted with the technology that is supposed to make driving safer. Vehicles are fitted with a combination of external and internal cameras and other devices linked to computer software and an autopilot which automatically controls driving speed and course.
The Trucking Alliance’s Board qualified its approval by stating that the aim should be to ensure that commercial trucks used “advanced automatic vehicle technology” so that levels of safety in commercial trucks could match that of commercial airlines.
The Board stated that rather than eliminate the need for commercial drivers, the technology would assist them to drive more safely. In addition, the presence of the drivers themselves would be needed to ensure safe driving in the event that there was a computer software malfunction, autopilot malfunction, an unexpected detour or unforeseen unfavorable weather or road conditions or problems with cargo security.
The scenario of having a majority of autonomous 18 wheelers safely traveling Mississippi roads and highways is still some way off and will probably never eliminate tragic truck accidents entirely. In the meantime, if you, or a member of your family, is involved in an accident with a truck and are seriously injured you should not delay. Contact one of our experienced and dedicated truck accident attorneys at the Diaz Law Firm in Jackson, Mississippi. Contact an attorney at 601-607-3456 (toll free 800-459-2222). Our personal injury attorneys are here to fight for your maximum compensation.