In 2018, there were 4,415 fatal large-truck crashes across the U.S., many of which took place in Texas. This represents a 52.6% increase from 2009. As for what has caused this dramatic rise, it can be said to be a combination of new technologies. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be analyzing the role that these technologies play in crash numbers and severity.

A large-truck crash causation study has not been undertaken since the early 2000s. Recently, though, the FMCSA announced its intention to conduct an updated study. It is now gathering information on how the study should proceed; for example, whether it should use nationally representative sampling or convenience sampling.

Researchers will be looking especially at the proliferation of smartphones, in-cab navigation systems and fleet management systems and how these are distracting drivers. There is also evidence that vehicle safety features like automatic emergency braking are making drivers inattentive because they overestimate the ability of such features to keep them safe.

After establishing a baseline of factors in tow-away, injury and fatal truck crashes, researchers hope to create effective crash avoidance and mitigation strategies. They want these strategies to apply even to vehicles with high or full automation as they anticipate the time when automated driving systems become available for commercial motor vehicle fleets.

With or without safety technology, though, truckers are responsible for keeping control of their rigs. When they fail to do this through inattention, intoxication, distracted driving, or some other form of negligence, then they and their employer might be held financially responsible for the harm caused to occupants of other vehicles in a resulting collision. Victims might want to have the help of an attorney when seeking compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.