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Truck platoons stand to greatly reduce tractor-trailer crashes

While many of us hear a lot in the news about the latest automobile technology that allows motorists to get around in autonomous vehicles, very little attention is given to what the trucking industry is doing on this end. Just this month, though, it emerged that researchers are working on what's being referred to as "truck platoons," an automated way of transporting freight from one location to the next.

A truck platoon involves a lead tractor-trailer being placed in front of up to three other ones that are connected wirelessly to the front one.

Industry analysts point out that, once implemented, this technology has the potential of decreasing shipping costs, cutting fuel emissions by as much as 10 percent and reducing traffic congestion by as much as 50 percent.

If this technology were to be rolled out on a large scale, it would reduce the demand for trained tractor-trailer operators, a need that has steadily increased as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted stricter Hours of Service (HoS) regulations in recent years.

Perhaps even more important is the potential that this technology has to reduce truck crash rates. Researchers point out that truck platoons feature more precise braking and acceleration and that they're capable of traveling at steadier speeds.

One of the leading types of truck crashes is end-to-end. The United States Department of Transportation (DoT) suggests that as many as 90 percent of collisions may be this type. By instituting the truck platoon technology, their ability to slow down would be normalized and the days of heavy loads shifting would largely disappear.

During President Barack Obama's administration, he championed the idea of federal regulators and technology companies coming together to work on developing technology that would improve safety on U.S. roadways. Right now, this truck platoon technology is being tested in California. If it's proven to work, it's likely that other states will try it out as well.

Until then, it's likely that crashes will continue to occur. If you've been injured in a serious collision, then an attorney can represent you so that you can keep focused on your recovery and your future.

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