Driverless Trucks and The Future of The Trucking IndustryAugust 6, 2018
Companies like Tesla and Google have been testing their versions of driverless cars for some time, and the technology continues to evolve as manufacturers address some of the safety issues associated with these vehicles. The trucking industry has been quietly developing similar technology as well, in an effort to significantly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that truck accidents are known to cause.
In fact, trials are underway on public roads in some parts of the United States, and local governments are reviewing trucking regulations. However, truck drivers and labor groups are concerned that driverless trucks will take jobs away from millions of professional truck drivers.
According to research from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), self-driving trucks could eliminate close to 4.4 million out of the 6.4 million trucking jobs in the United States and Europe. Because truck drivers tend to have a limited amount of education, it may be challenging to find another job, making the same amount of money, when their only experience is driving a truck. Unfortunately, out-of-work truck drivers are at risk of extended periods of unemployment.
Currently, though, there is something of a shortage of qualified drivers.
While driverless trucks do pose a threat to truck drivers’ careers, it is unlikely that these vehicles will eliminate the need for a human driver anytime soon. In fact, few industry officials believe that driverless trucks will be in operation within the next ten years. Even as the technology progresses, drivers will be needed to perform certain tasks that the truck is not yet able to do autonomously.
The Long-Term Benefits of Driverless Trucks
Like any major advance in technology, there are pros and cons to driverless trucks. One of the major benefits of driverless technology is the fact that it virtually eliminates human error. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 94 percent of the car accidents that occurred in 2015 were caused by human error. Drowsy driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving are known problems among truck drivers. Driverless trucks could eliminate this problem.
Driving a truck is also considered one of the most dangerous jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from 2015. This is largely due to the long hours behind the wheel. Rain, sleet, snow, and other weather conditions can make driving a truck even more dangerous.
In addition, if the driver is transporting hazardous material, it can cause serious health issues if there is a leak.
According to a chief executive of Volvo Group, it would be a mistake to stop the development of driverless trucks. The process should be gradual, and businesses should begin to train people on how to perform new responsibilities that are needed as the technology evolves.
If businesses do not embrace the changes that the industry is facing, the chief executive said, they will fall behind and fail to meet the challenges that are ahead.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Driverless Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a truck accident, you are urged to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. If a driverless truck was involved in the crash, we will protect your rights and hold the responsible parties liable for your injuries. Our dedicated team will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free 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, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, 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.