Autonomous Trucking Accident Lawyer

The advent of autonomous vehicles will clearly transform the trucking industry. One of the largest industries in the United States today, the trucking industry employs 3.5 million truck drivers and 7.3 million people in non-driving positions. Truck driving is considered the most common job in 29 states, and big rig accidents are responsible for a disproportionate number of major injuries and deaths that occur on our highways.

Autonomous trucking will disrupt that industry by putting self driving big rigs on the road to make those long cross-country deliveries with no human intervention. While the makers of autonomous vehicles suggest that such long-haul trucks will be safer, there is no proof of that. Further, any software or hardware malfunction, or wife by hacker went on doing damage, can put people on our highways at risk.

The Benefits to Autonomous Trucking

Autonomous trucking aims to solve these problems with the trucking industry today:

  • Improve safety. In 2015 alone, there were 415,000 crashes involving a semi-truck. About 83,000 of those resulted in injury, and 3,598 resulted in fatalities.
  • Improve mileage. Autonomous trucks can be programmed to prevent rapid acceleration and sudden braking, and maintain proper cruise speeds for maximum fuel efficiency.
  • Solve the shortage of drivers. There’s been a massive shortage of truck drivers since 2005 – the shortage then was roughly 20,000. In 2014, that number ballooned to 38,000, and current statistics put those numbers at 48,000.

The Drawbacks to Autonomous Trucking

A report released by Goldman-Sachs states that, when autonomous trucks fully saturate the market, the trucking industry will lose 300,000 U.S. driving jobs in one year.

In addition, the largest vehicles on the road will have no drivers to take over in the event of a technology glitch.  What happens when the software or hardware that is supposed to keep other drivers safe fails? The results could be catastrophic.  If you or a loved one is involved in a collision with one of  an autonomous big rig , you’ll potentially be up against some of the biggest, most powerful companies in the world.  These companies have limitless resources and will be ready to fight claims and lawsuits.  Victims will need attorneys that are prepared to take the fight to them. Victims will need law firms who have been following the technology as well as the legal developments and you have both the experience and the economic capability to fight against a major corporation on your behalf. Walkup Melodia Kelly and Schoenberger is such a law firm.

Companies Involved in Autonomous Trucking

  • Uber. Formerly named Otto, Uber’s autonomous trucking project was conceived primarily to improve the safety and efficiency of the trucking industry.
  • Google. Now called Waymo, Google’s self-driving division is looking to enter the self-driving truck industry, with road tests scheduled to take place in Arizona by the end of the year.
  • Starsky. Starsky Robotics is a start-up that advertises an aftermarket retrofit kit that allows all trucks to have autonomous capability via remote control. This allows long-haul drivers traveling uneventful straight highway routes to take a break from monotony and recharge. In February 2017, they successfully hauled a 5,000-lb load of cargo from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale, FL (roughly 120 miles).
  • Peloton. Peloton is another startup that’s looking at automation through a concept called “platooning.” It’s a driver assistance technology that, when enabled, allows trucks to autonomously follow behind each other, maintaining proper space and speed. Backed by Volvo & UPS, this product has been projected to save nearly 7% in fuel savings for truckers.

Autonomous trucks have an immense potential for danger on the road. After all, these vehicles will run up to 24 hours a day on busy major interstate highways. If a software or hardware failure occurred in a driverless truck traveling at high speeds on a busy  freeway, the results would be catastrophic and disastrous.

If you or a loved one were involved in a collision with an autonomous truck, you need an attorney with the experience and ability to handle a case of this magnitude.  Call Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for a free and confidential case evaluation as soon as possible. The trucking companies will have their attorneys and investigators at work right away, your claim may depend on you doing the same.

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