With our crowded city streets, freeways and interstate highway, many Costa Mesa residents look forward to the day when self-driving cars are common. Proponents of driverless vehicles claim that the technology will scale down traffic, ease congestion and reduce the numbers of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.
Before we see driverless cars on Costa Mesa streets, however, we might well see driverless tractor-trailers out on Interstate 405. Recent news articles suggest that the long-haul trucking industry might be the first to take advantage of emerging self-driving technologies.
A University of Pennsylvania sociologist who studies trucking says that there will soon be driverless 18-wheelers capable of “exit- to- exit” driving. “You’ll see [driverless trucks] on interstates first, and probably on routes that aren’t snowy,” he said. “This is where the technology will be adopted first.”
He said some in the trucking industry expect exit-to-exit driving to be driverless – and safe – in just three years.
Of course, one of the many hurdles driverless technology has to clear first is to make those trucks safe when they reach highway exits. For the near future, truckers would board the driverless truck and take over, guiding the behemoth into distribution centers, cities and towns, etc.
The benefit to the trucking industry of shifting to driverless vehicles is probably obvious: overhead would shrink. Truckers would be laid off in droves. It is also expected that driverless technology would maximize fuel and time efficiencies for commercial vehicles.
We don’t know if the predictions for self-driving vehicles will be accurate or not, but we do know that far too many people suffer catastrophic – and sometimes fatal – injuries in truck accidents. If you or a loved one has been harmed, speak to a skilled attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.