Platooning is a new concept that is being developed within the trucking industry. It is designed to save money and improve trucking safety. The main goal of this strategy, which involves the electronic piloting of multiple trucks in tandem, is to increase vehicle efficiency and safety which reduces operating costs and as a result, will potentially reduce semi truck accidents.
Developers are seeing positive results in the testing phase, which suggests that platooning could be coming to the highways sometime soon. Yet there are still some concerns with the technology, leaving safety advocates and trucking accident lawyers questioning the practicality of platooning in terms of how it may influence trucking accidents.
What Is Platooning?
Platooning is a trucking technology that is being developed to allow carrier companies to digitally link multiple vehicles together so they can be driven autonomously in tandem. This technology keeps trucks traveling at specific speeds and at a specific distance from each other to reduce drag and improve the fuel efficiency of all vehicles in the platoon.
This technology could be instrumental in reducing semi truck accidents in a variety of ways. Platooning is being tested with drivers onboard; however, developers hope to reach the point where driverless vehicles can efficiently pilot themselves in tandem.
Can Platooning Make the Roads Safer?
Although the main emphasis on platooning is in improving fuel and overall vehicle efficiency, developers must also consider safety, and how this technology might cause or prevent trucking accidents. It is theorized that by platooning multiple vehicles together, they will operate more efficiently and yet be safer due to less interference by other vehicles on the highway.
This technology is also designed to improve safety by reducing the effect of driver distractions and errors that can result in semi truck accidents. Despite these intentions, trucking accident lawyers assert that developers still have to deal with a number of safety issues that must be resolved before any driverless trucks make it to the road.
Are There Safety Concerns?
Currently, the biggest concerns being expressed about platooning by safety advocates and trucking accident lawyers involve hazard interpretation as well as ensuring the correct responses from vehicles based on these conditions. This technology still requires the input of specially trained drivers who will oversee the entire fleet and can assume manual control in the event of road hazards.
There are still many questions about reactions and the prevention of trucking accidents. Identifying certain hazards such as the difference between water or oil on the road or being able to see highway lines in snowy or rainy conditions are a few of the limitations that developers must resolve before the technology can be considered safe for use by the masses.
Solving Remaining Issues
With platooning just over the horizon, the race is on for developers to solve the various issues pertaining to hazard detection and response before the technology can be approved for regular use. Since the driving force behind development is based mainly on improving efficiency, it is essential that safety advocates continue to follow this to ensure the technology is safe and will not increase the chance of semi truck accidents.
While the risk of trucking accidents caused by driver error can feasibly be reduced by platooning, trucking accident lawyers agree that this technology must be smart enough to react correctly in all circumstances before it can be considered to be effective!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190