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AAA studies benefits of four truck safety devices

Drivers in Georgia, as anywhere else, will probably admit to feelings of discomfort when driving around commercial trucks. However, four safety technologies could do a lot to lessen that uneasiness if trucking companies decide to install them. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has published a study measuring the benefits of these devices.

Lane departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking, air disc brakes, and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems can prevent crashes, injuries, and deaths. Safety monitoring systems are by far the most beneficial, preventing an estimated 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths every year. These alone could prevent 61 to 80 percent of crashes. The other three technologies together could prevent 500 deaths.

Researchers came to these conclusions after tallying truck crash rates between the years 2010 and 2015, reviewing the best studies from sources like Transportation Research Information Services and the DoT, and listening to the recommendations of a special advisory panel. Advisors included representatives from a truck insurance carrier, a safety technology vendor, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

After technology vendors told AAA the prices of various video-based monitoring systems, which ranged from $300 to $750, researchers showed that the benefits could outweigh the costs. However, only large trucking companies are incorporating such technology at this stage, while smaller fleets cannot.

Such technology does not take away the need for responsible driving, so when negligence or recklessness contributes to a trucking accident, the victim has a right to compensation. A lawyer may first assess the validity of the claim and determine if the victim was partly guilty. Afterwards, he or she may hire investigators to retrieve the trucker's logbook and medical records, check for defective truck parts, and more. This may prepare the lawyer for negotiations with the trucking company's own legal representatives.

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