Truck Platooning: Benefits and Risks

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Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on the benefits and risks of truck platooning. In the trucking industry, platooning is when two or more trucks follow each other at a close distance, using connectivity technology and automated driving support systems. Many truck manufacturers are investing in platooning technology for the economic and safety benefits it provides. However, like any new technology, safety officials have concerns about the risk of truck accidents associated with platooning.

Prior to the development of automated technology in large trucks, truck drivers were known to tailgate behind other 18-wheelers to catch a slipstream. Platooning uses the same concept in its technology by allowing two or more digitally connected trucks to follow each other at a close distance, creating the same slipstream effect. As a result, the air flows more smoothly and there is less of a drag so the trucks following the lead truck can save approximately 10 percent on fuel and the truck in front can burn up to five percent less fuel.


In addition to saving money on fuel, platooning has the potential to provide the following benefits:

  • Cleaner Emissions: Because platooning reduces the air-drag friction, it can result in lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Platooning can reduce the CO2 emissions of the trailing vehicle by up to 16 percent and nearly eight percent from the lead vehicle.
  • Safety: The connective technology ensures that the trucks following the lead truck break automatically and immediately with the lead truck.
  • Efficiency: Platooning helps truck drivers deliver their goods faster and avoid potential traffic jams. It also enables them to multitask while driving.

Safety Concerns

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucks make up only four percent of vehicles on the road, but they are involved in 11 percent of traffic fatalities. Safety advocates are concerned about the potential risks of platooning trucks. For example, there are questions about how the trucks will react if another motorist tries to cut in between two trucks.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center conducted a study to determine the optimal following distance. They found that a following distance of approximately one second minimized the risk of a crash while maintain the energy-saving benefits of platooning. However, safety advocates question whether one second is enough time to react if something goes wrong unexpectedly.

Truck accidents cause some of the most devastating injuries and property damage on our roads today. In 2016 alone, 4,317 people were killed, and thousands more were seriously injured in large truck accidents. Ideally, this technology will make large, commercial trucks safer, and more efficient.

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Truck Accident Victims

If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident contact a Baltimore truck accident lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will determine who was responsible for causing the wreck and hold them accountable for their actions. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.