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DRIVERLESS TRUCKS – THE NEXT HIGHWAY SAFETY CONCERN

Posted by Stacey L. Pietrowicz

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Stacey brings meticulous attention to detail to every type of case, with consistently outstanding results. Although the youngest partner at SUGARMAN, Stacey routinely handles some of the firm's most sophisticated cases and has been recognized in Massachusetts Super Lawyers every year since 2013. Meet Stacey

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The first test of a driverless truck was conducted last summer. This milestone will cause major disruptions in the trucking industry, which generates $800 Billion per year. Trucking provides more jobs to people in the United States without high school diplomas than any other industry. While many Americans look forward to buying driverless cars, driverless trucks bring up more questions and concerns. 

The most noticeable difference between driverless cars and driverless trucks is the presence of passengers. Having a person in the car provides some comfort that human intervention could correct a computer’s mistake. The average tractor-trailer truck weighs approximately 35,000 pounds empty. Cargo loads add an average of 40,000 additional pounds but can be far heavier. The average passenger car weighs only a fraction of that amount – between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds. Trucks therefore pose a significantly higher risk. 

The goal of self-driving trucks will be to transport goods across the country, not people from place to place. Self-driving trucks will cut travel time from coast to coast in half – from an average of four days to two. When fully automated trucks are approved, they will drive without occupants for thousands of miles. 

As with any technology, self-driving vehicles carry a risk of malfunctioning. This could be from a hardware glitch or internet connectivity issue. Heavy trucks traveling at high speeds present a major risk to the health and safety of people around them. 

Trucking accidents often involve intricate legal issues. SUGARMAN’s team of personal injury lawyers has decades of experience handling truck accident cases. If you have questions, call 617-542-1000 or email us at info@sugarman.com to connect with a principal today.