The iPhone hadn’t been invented yet. Neither had Google Maps or Facebook. The last time the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a study of the causes of large truck crashes was from 2001-2003, when were significantly fewer high-tech distractions tempting truckers to shift their attention from the roads and traffic.
The agency recently announced that it’s launching a new study; research that will certainly examine the impact of distracted driving, as well as improvements in vehicle safety, roadway design, changes in driver behavior and other trends that have emerged over the past two decades.
The earlier study included a review of 120,000 crashes involving commercial trucks. The FMCSA notes that after that research project was completed in 2003, fatal truck wrecks decreased for six years, hitting a low of 2,893 in 2009. Since then, however, fatal crashes involving big rigs have risen – all the way up to 4,415 just two years ago.
The agency hopes to better understand the reasons behind that 52-percent surge so that it can be reversed with “new initiatives to reduce crashes on our nation’s roadways.”
The FMCSA is going to study not only the effects of behind-the-wheel phone use, but will also explore the impact of in-cab fleet management and navigation systems, as well as safety features such as automatic emergency braking.
The federal agency also says it hopes the study will inform technology developers about driver behaviors and help them shape future innovations with safety in mind.
The FMCSA is currently asking for input from the public and the transportation industry about areas and methods of study.
Let’s hope its research will result in fewer truck crashes, serious injuries and fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a commercial truck wreck, contact a Houston attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.