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Autonomous trucks on the horizon

According to a report from the American Transportation Research Institute, the trucking industry in Missouri and the rest of the nation will soon be significantly changed by autonomous trucks. The new changes will affect trucking regulations and road infrastructure, and it could have legal implications as well.

There are certain obstacles that have to be addressed before the advanced technology will be applied on a wide scale in the trucking industry. The current condition of the highway infrastructure is one of the main obstructions. Improvements such as better signage, high-way-to vehicle communication tools and smoother highways have to be implemented in order for autonomous trucks to operate correctly. According to the ATRI, the investment that is required for such upgrades will have to be funded by the public sector and not motor carriers.

Before autonomous trucks become standard, maintenance, cybersecurity and reliability issues will also have to be addressed. Liability concerns and questions regarding crashes in which automated trucks are involved will also have to be resolved by the courts and regulators. The ATRI report also discussed the trucking issues that would likely be minimized by the use of autonomous vehicles. Parking shortages for trucks, traffic congestion on the roads and highways as well as accidents caused by distracted driving may all see a sharp reduction with the use of autonomous trucks. Carriers can expect to see an increase in savings due to the reduction in crashes and more productivity. However, they should also expect to pay $30,000 more for a new truck equipped with automated technology.

The implementation of the new technology may very well reduce the number of accidents that are caused by truck driver fatigue. Attorneys who are representing people who have been injured in such a collision can review logs and other evidence in order to pinpoint the party or parties who should be held financially responsible.

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