big rig truck on a highway

Autonomous Trucking: Increased Safety or Liability?

In recent years, there has been much discussion about the potential for autonomous trucks to revolutionize the trucking industry. Some proponents argue that these vehicles will ultimately improve safety on the roads, while others contend that they could create new liability issues.

Safety in Self-Driving

As autonomous technology continues to develop, many experts believe that autonomous trucks will be safer than their human-operated counterparts. Thanks to their advanced technology, there are a few key reasons why autonomous trucks may be safer than traditional “big-rigs.”

  • Sensors and Cameras - Autonomous trucks are equipped with technology that gives them a 360-degree view of their surroundings, allowing them to detect potential danger and avoid accidents.
  • Driving During “Off-Hours” - Self-driving trucks can operate during non-peak hours, when traffic is lighter, allowing for fewer trucks on the road during the day when accidents are more likely to occur.
  • Drowsy/Distracted Driving - While driver fatigue and texting-while-driving are leading causes of trucking accidents, autonomous vehicles would not have that problem.

Ultimately, the deployment of autonomous trucks could lead to a significant reduction in the number of truck-related accidents and fatalities. Daimler Truck CEO, Martin Daum, said of the progress being made by Torc Robotics, an autonomous vehicle company in Albuquerque, “We are fully committed to autonomous trucking as it can benefit everyone. It will increase safety, because systems do not get tired and do not lose attention.”

Potential Risks of Autonomous Trucks

As beneficial as autonomous driving may seem, the potential downfalls and dangers must be addressed. While it may seem that driver liability is taken out of the equation, who remains liable when unexpected malfunctions occur? Here are some of the potential risks:

  • Software Failure - If the software controlling the truck malfunctions, the truck could lose its ability to brake or steer properly.
  • Hacking - Autonomous trucks could be vulnerable to cyber attacks that could disable the vehicle and cause disruption.
  • Learning Human Behavior - Even with autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence still has to understand the nuances of human behavior while driving. There is concern that autonomous trucks may not be able to adequately predict human errors.

Albuquerque Trucking Accident Attorneys

For more than 35 years, the lawyers at McGinn Montoya Love Curry & Sievers PA have been fighting for the rights of victims of trucking accidents. We understand the devastation that can be caused, and we are dedicated to helping our clients rebuild their lives and get the compensation they deserve.

Schedule your free consultation today by calling us at (505) 405-4441 or filling out our form online.


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