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Could self-driving trucks save lives on the road?

It's been all over the news lately: autonomous vehicles. From Tesla's Autopilot function on their new models, to Google potentially developing a self-driving car fleet, to Uber's launch of driverless taxis in Pittsburgh this fall, autonomous vehicles are going from science fiction to mainstream in just a few years.

But it's not just cars and taxis that are getting the autonomous treatment - this innovation is spreading to the trucking industry, and with it bringing huge changes. A recent report by the American Transportation Research Institute predicts the rise of self-driving trucks mean that regulatory, infrastructure, safety, legal and labor laws and rules could all change relatively soon.

What self-driving trucks could mean to truck drivers

What this could mean for the trucking industry and anyone on the road are better-rested drivers, trucks making fewer mistakes and potentially fewer accidents. The infiltration of driverless trucks into their profession could actually help truck drivers and make the job more attractive by taking away some of the more mind-numbing or uncomfortable parts of the job.

While the autonomous truck is moving, the driver could be working on other tasks lie logistics without having to pay attention to the road, cutting down on distracted driving. They could also rest up and not have to drive for a particular amount of hours before being able to sleep, nearly eliminating all-nighters or 11-hour marathons.

What autonomous trucks could mean for everyone on the road

Compared to 2009, the number of fatal large truck crashes was up 22 percent in 2015, and the number of truck occupants who were killed in accidents was up 34 percent. A large vehicle like a semi-truck on the road is going to be dangerous by nature when intermingling with people in comparatively tiny cars.

Although there are still plenty of flaws to work out in driverless technology - there have been several harrowing or fatal accidents in the past year in Teslas and Google cars - the prospects of less deaths on the roads involving trucks are enough to keep pushing for changes.

If you or someone you love was injured or killed in an accident with a semi-truck, you know how complicated it can be to try to find who is to blame and how to make the medical bills. It's imperative to contact an experienced lawyer right away to help you through the legal process of legally perusing the truck driver, trucking company or insurance company for damages. Don't do it alone.

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