According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were approximately 317,000 accidents involving large trucks in 2012. Nearly 4,000 people lost their lives and approximately 104,000 were injured in these accidents. NHTSA statistics show that 73 percent of the fatalities in large-truck accidents were drivers or passengers in other vehicles. For victims of these accidents and their families, seeking the help of a truck accident attorney can often help to provide closure and to ensure appropriate compensation for their injuries or losses. A qualified 18 wheeler accident attorney can ensure that trucking companies and drivers are held responsible for their negligence and that families can manage the significant expenses associated with these catastrophic crashes. Hope on the Horizon Recent technological advances in the automotive field are likely to reduce the number of 18 wheeler accidents in Houston and across the nation, and to increase the safety of motorists on U.S. highways. Systems that include adaptive cruise control, advanced sensors and alerts and automatic braking have already been introduced as optional or standard equipment on many passenger cars. By integrating these systems into semi-trailer trucks and other larger vehicles, truck manufacturers can create a safer environment for drivers. These technologies may eventually pave the way for true self-driving vehicles in the automotive marketplace. Adaptive Cruise Control As one of the most impressive advances in automotive technology in recent years, adaptive cruise control has already been incorporated into a number of passenger vehicles and provides an additional level of protection against collisions with other cars and trucks. Sensors located at the front of the vehicle can detect moving and stationary objects and can automatically reduce speed when obstacles are identified. This can reduce the chance of accidents and can lessen the force of the impact when collisions do occur. Sensors and Alerting Systems Sensors are used in a number of other safety systems in the automotive world. Skid detectors, for instance, can be linked to safety belt tightening systems and automatic window and sunroof controls to provide increased protection for drivers and passengers. Attention assistance sensors can identify signs of sleepiness or inattention on the part of drivers and can sound an alert tone to inform drivers that it’s time to find a safe place to rest before driving further. Other sensor systems can scan road markings and alert drivers if they begin to drift out of their current lane or can provide warnings when vehicles enter blind spots on either side of the driver. Automatic Braking Systems Front-end sensors are also vital to the operation of automatic air braking systems. These advanced technological solutions use radar and other detection systems to spot potential collisions before they occur. If an obstacle is detected, the vehicle can automatically begin braking and can alert the driver to apply the brakes at full power. Some systems can even apply full braking power independently of driver interaction to ensure the most effective mitigation and accident prevention. High Tech for Trucks Unfortunately, most of these safety features are currently available only for passenger vehicles and have not yet reached the 18 wheeler marketplace. By implementing advanced driver assistance features into semi-trailer vehicles, truck manufacturers can have a positive impact on the safety of all drivers. These technologies could reduce the number of fatalities caused by inattention on the part of semi drivers and could allow a greater awareness of blind spots in high-traffic areas. By working to encourage truck manufacturers to incorporate these sensor systems into their new vehicles, drivers can promote a safer environment on all U.S. roads. Statistics show that collisions between 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles are disproportionately likely to result in death for drivers in the smaller car, truck or van. Sensor safety systems can save lives and should be standard equipment for all 18-wheelers on American roadways.