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How Safe are Self-Driving Trucks?

self driving big rigs

We share our roads with thousands of big rigs. There are over 130 million big trucks in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Texas is a hub for transportation across the country, and therefore we have more trucks than most other states.

Trucks can make travel more dangerous, and if you get into an accident with a truck, you are likely to suffer significant or life-threatening injuries. Over the last couple of years, companies have been developing and testing

self-driving trucks. Many people wonder how safe these autonomous trucks will be when they become more prevalent in our roadways.


What are Self-Driving Trucks?

Self-driving trucks are also called autonomous trucks. Autonomous trucks are vehicles that will transport goods with no human truck

driver. Testing has been going on with prototypes that include a truck driver sitting in the cab. Soon, however, the trucks will be ready to use without a person on board. Sometime this year, trucks without drivers will start to be tested, and if the testing goes well, they could begin to be on our roads soon after that.


While much of the technology of these trucks is secret, the systems use a network of sensors, cameras, and radar devices that are hardwired to an internal artificial intelligence supercomputer that makes the truck function.

Autonomous vehicles can drive in any road conditions and both during the day and at night.

Some systems can see as far as a half-mile ahead. The system is autonomous, so it does not require a WiFi signal to operate. A benefit of these trucks is that they can make cross-country trips more quickly because they only need to stop for gas. Truck drivers must abide by rules that limit the time a driver can be behind the wheel without a break.


Concerns About Autonomous Trucks

Understandably, there are many concerns about the safety of autonomous trucking. The companies making and testing autonomous trucks need not report individual tests. They do not have to provide information about where or when they will conduct testing. That means you could be on the road with a self-driving truck and not even know it. New laws and regulations will need to be put in place to address the safety of autonomous trucks. There are no formal testing procedures with the Department of Transportation.

Companies argue that driverless trucks will be safer than those with drivers because there is no possibility of distracted driving or

driving while intoxicated.


Still, other things might be more dangerous. For example, how will an autonomous truck know when there are unforeseen dangers in

the road, such as accidents and pedestrians? There is still a lot of uncertainty that must be resolved to ensure these vehicles will be safe.

Ultimately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other governmental entities will provide regulations for autonomous trucks.


If you or someone you love were injured in a truck accident, the time to act is now. Contact our experienced truck accident lawyers to discuss your

injury in a free, no-obligation initial consultation.  Contact Baumgartner Law Firm today. We will fight to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call (281) 587-1111!