Large-truck crashes are all too common in Georgia, and many end in death. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the organization that regulates the U.S. trucking industry, found that between 2009 and 2018, the number of fatal large-truck crashes rose a startling 52.6%. A total of 4,415 fatal crashes were reported in 2018. There are several factors in this trend, including new technology and changing driver behaviors.

In January 2020, the FMCSA announced that it would be conducting a large-scale study on the factors that lead to tow-away, injury and fatal accidents involving large trucks. The last time it conducted such a study was from 2001 to 2003, so there are a lot of developments that researchers will be looking into, including the rise of smartphones and the distractions that they pose.

The study will also look into how in-cab navigation systems, fleet management systems and even vehicle safety features like automatic emergency braking can contribute large-truck accidents. Researchers may trace changes in driver behavior through the use of on-board electronic systems, which record when drivers speed, brake suddenly or leave their lane.

Lastly, the FMCSA is hoping to find ways to help guide the development of automated driving systems. In particular, researchers may identify crash-avoidance capabilities that should be incorporated into them.

In the meantime, truckers are supposed to stay alert at all times and not overestimate the abilities of semi-autonomous driving features. If truckers cause a crash through their own fault, then this may open up the way for a personal injury case. Victims who contribute less than 50% to a crash can be eligible for damages in this state, but actually recovering damages is another matter. They may want to leave all settlement negotiations to an accident attorney.