Truck platooning is a new concept in the commercial trucking industry that allows tractor trailers to take advantage of on-road slipstreaming to reduce fuel costs up to 15 percent. Two tractor trailers traveling one behind the other become connected through wireless radar and communication, allowing them to significantly reduce the distance between them. This decreases the air drag between the two trucks and reduces the amount of fuel required. The lead truck can save as much as five percent in fuel while the truck following the lead rig can save up to 10 percent.
Trucking companies across the country are eager to implement truck platooning to potentially save millions of dollars in fuel costs each year, but safety advocates are expressing concerns. The Governors Highway Safety Association fears that passenger vehicles on the road that try to cut in between the platoons run the risk of becoming severely injured in an accident. They also worry that the reliability of technology could cause serious accidents if digital connections between the platooning trucks are lost, even temporarily.
How Platooning Works
Through wireless radar, the lead truck controls the acceleration and braking of the truck following behind them. The driver of the second truck steers their vehicle using a television monitor attached to their console that projects what the lead truck sees in front of them. While these images allow the second truck to make steering decisions, the acceleration and deceleration of their rig is still controlled by the lead truck. Many states across the country have strict laws that prohibit truck drivers from watching television screens while driving, making the legality of platooning questionable in the future.
Recent studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation have focused on finding the safest distance between rigs that will allow them to reap the benefits of slipstreaming. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center have found that a one second reduction of following time can have a significant impact on the risk of a serious or fatal truck accident. Studies will continue as commercial trucking companies embrace and implement truck platooning.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 11 percent of all fatal car accidents involve commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, even though trucks account for only four percent of the vehicles on the roadways. There were 4,317 people fatally injured in trucking accidents in 2016. Seventy-two percent were traveling in passenger vehicles while another 11 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, road construction workers, and law enforcement officers.
Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims of Truck Accidents Claim Compensation
If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The Columbia truck accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you claim the maximum amount of compensation available to you. Call us at 803-929-3600, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices can be found at six different locations across the state, allowing us to serve clients throughout South Carolina, including clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.