Are Self-Driving Trucks More Prone to Causing Accidents?

By Peter DePaolis

You have probably heard about autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving vehicles, with some of the big names like Tesla making self-driving vehicle news. While self-driving cars may be challenging enough to accept for many, self-driving trucks are also on their way, and those may pose a whole new set of risks. In a densely-populated area like Washington D.C., the arrival of self-driving trucks before they are ready may have a lot of people looking for a Washington D.C. personal injury attorney after being in an accident with one. 

Are Self-Driving Trucks More Prone to Causing Accidents?

Simply put, there is just not enough data yet and the few prototypes that have hit the road are not being widely used or produced on a large scale. They are largely praised as potentially safer by their proponents since they lack many of the potential weaknesses or shortcomings that humans have. There are many ways in which self-driving trucks improve over human drivers, including:

  • Rule-based safety and efficiency: Programming can limit the ability of the vehicle to exceed certain speeds to improve safety. This can also extend to other potentially risky driving behaviors like they can be programmed to never turn right on red or to give themselves twice the standard stopping distance needed for their speed.
  • They don’t misbehave: Even the most reliable and honest drivers can make a potential mistake or can exceed the speed limit just for a few minutes. An automated driver, however, will always follow the rules and laws they are given.
  • Self-driving trucks don’t need rest: Even if they are limited to a far lower speed to ensure enhanced safety and stopping ability, they can still make better time than human drivers. They will not need to stop for rest or meals as human drivers need to, only to refuel or to deliver cargo. This can make them much more economical than traditionally piloted trucks.

Will Self-Driving Trucks Be Able To Reduce Or Even Eliminate Collisions?

In the future, ideally, self-driving trucks and their technology will advance commensurate with the rest of the tech sector, and they will only become more accurate and safer. This isn’t to say that there won’t be accidents and even fatalities due to self-driving trucks, but unlike human drivers, they should only become safer as time progresses.

Are Self-Driving Trucks On The Roads Now?

In some areas, there has been the deployment of autonomous trucking lines, but they are still in rudimentary stages of implementation. Walmart is one large corporation that has recently started using driverless trucks for the delivery of online grocery orders.

What to Do if You Are Involved in an Accident With a Self-Driving Vehicle

If you are injured in an accident, whether a self-driving truck was involved or not, you should immediately take steps to protect your claim for damages. This will often include gathering as much evidence as you can from the scene, having your injuries documented as soon as possible, and contacting an experienced personal injury attorney. Get in touch with our office today, we offer a free consultation.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.