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Do monitoring systems reduce the risk of trucking accidents?

It is no surprise that large trucks can cause catastrophic accidents. The most basic laws of physics teach us that the larger a vehicle is the more mass it has. The more mass it has, the more difficult it is to stop. When a large truck crashes into a smaller passenger vehicle, those within the smaller passenger vehicle experience a huge amount of force — often resulting in serious injuries.

Surely, there must be some way to reduce the risk of these crashes?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently asked the same question. To answer this question, the agency conducted a study. The study focused on non-video-based onboard monitoring systems (OBMS). The OBMS used in the study were equipped with a global positioning system, accelerometers and other means of collecting data, but did not record video. It was designed to indicate if a driver was speeding or failing to use a seatbelt based on the use of sensors.

How did the agency choose which areas of compliance to study? The agency notes that 87.3 percent of trucking accidents were connected to driver error and 38 percent of these errors were connected to poor driver decisions, such as the decision to speed. As such, the agency focused in on speeding in an effort to target one of the higher violations that led to serious accidents.

What did the agency find? The FMCSA reports that the monitors were able to catch drivers when they were speeding 86 percent of the time. Use of the device reduced rates of speeding violations by 37 percent when compared to baseline numbers. Also, 33 percent of drivers experienced a decrease in the rate of driver-at-fault safety-critical events.

Will this change current regulations or laws? The research does not directly result in a change in regulations or laws, but it does provide evidence for review when lawmakers are crafting new proposals. As such, proposals requiring these types of devices could appear in the future.

What does this mean for victims of trucking accidents? Those who are injured in a trucking accident that is the result of the trucker’s negligence or due to wrongdoing by the trucking company can pursue legal remedies under current laws and regulations. Victims are wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced truck accident lawyer can review the details of the accident and build a case that is tailored to your situation, better ensuring a successful outcome

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