4 Essential Things to Know About Truck Platooning in Tennessee

Most commercial vehicle companies are exploring ways to increase safety, efficiency, and reduce the use of fuels. One of these options is a step closer to autonomous driving called platooning.

What Is Truck Platooning?

Platooning is a driving process that has camps both for and against it. Before we get into the benefits and dangers, however, let’s explore what platooning is. Think of platooning as a close convoy of trucks connected digitally using sensors, wireless communication, and GPS technologies. A “train” of two or more semi-trucks will follow each other closely, with the first truck acting as a leader.

Through sensors, each truck will accelerate and brake when the first truck does. The following drivers must still steer his or her trucks. This digital “train track” serves to increase safety with reduced braking time and save on fuel with drag aerodynamics.

Why Are Companies Considering Truck Platooning – What Are the Benefits?

Several companies are looking into truck platooning, including:

  • Tesla
  • Volvo and Caltrans, UC-Berkley PATH
  • PACCAR and Kenworth/Peterbilt
  • Daimler and Freightliner/Western Star
  • Peloton
  • TuSimple
  • Navistar and International TxDOT, Texas A&M Trans. Inst.

There are many reasons for a transportation company to look into platooning strategies including a decrease in fuel consumption and an increase in safety. Other benefits of truck platooning include:

  • Less CO2
  • Increased traffic flow.
  • Less space taken up on roadways and highways.
  • Increased driver efficiency because a driver following the lead exerts less effort as he or she does not have to brake or accelerate.

Another potential goal includes the chance of driverless technology for the following trucks. If a truck platoon eventually allows a driver to be able to sleep while in the truck, it can lead to a near revolution in the truck driving industry. While this technology is not available yet, it may be on the horizon.

What Happens If I Am Injured in an Accident with a Truck Platoon?

Truck platoons are supposed to improve safety, but this is only if the system works as intended. If communication between drivers in a truck platoon were to break, the consequences could be serious or fatal.

Truckers following the lead truck in a platoon can also not be as focused as they would be during a regular drive. Relying on the technology may mean he or she may not be ready to react quickly during an emergency, which might lead to further damage, injuries, or even death.

How to Prove Negligence in a Truck Platoon Accident

Trucking companies and drivers participating in a truck platoon must participate in a safe, compliant manner to avoid accidents and mistakes. Before taking part in a new platoon campaign, trucking companies need to be adhere to the following requirements:

  • Proper training of platoon inspectors and drivers.
  • Regular inspections and tests of platoon trucks.
  • Compliance with local and federal motor carrier safety regulations.
  • Use of properly functioning and safe equipment.

A truck driver or trucking company that proves negligent in some of the above requirements can be liable for accidents. A personal injury lawyer can document and research causes of a platoon accident and determine if negligence was a factor. An injured party or loved ones may also be entitled to compensation.

If attorneys can prove a driver or company was guilty of negligence that caused injury or death, they may be able to get compensation for those victims. Those involved in a Nashville area truck accident should contact the lawyers at Larry R. Williams for more information about recovery options.