Could In-Cab Cameras Curb Trucking Accidents in Wilmington?
Technological safety improvements within the trucking industry have evolved rapidly in recent years. New models of commercial trucks are equipped with forward collision warnings, automatic braking and more. Now, an increasing number of trucking companies are investing in truck cameras, installed inside the cabin. The cameras are always on when the vehicle is in motion, but are only triggered to record by certain actions, such as hard-braking, rapid acceleration or swerving. The recording will capture a few seconds prior to the incident, at the time of the incident and then a few seconds after.
The cameras have been somewhat controversial among individual truck drivers, who voice concerns about privacy. However, trucking companies say it has generally served them well when claims of negligence arise following a trucking accident. They better able to easily identify when the driver was negligent - and pay the claim quickly or go on to simply dispute the damages - or else give them stronger grounds on which to defend the claim.
Benefits of In-Cabin Cameras
An estimated 15.5 million trucks operate in the U.S., of which about 2 million are tractor trailers. Far from being obsolete, the rise of e-commerce sites like Amazon and others have resulted in a commercial trucking boom, as consumers seek delivery of goods right to the doorstep in just two days or less. Some 700,000 of those vehicles are registered in North Carolina, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Trucking company owners speaking about their use of in-cabin truck cameras say the investment has been worthwhile, as it has slashed their litigation and insurance costs substantially. For example, one company based in New Jersey with a fleet of 2,200 rigs reported accident frequency had been cut by half (presumably because truckers were aware they were being closely monitored on video) and insurance costs fell by 25 to 30 percent.
Firms say they have also been a benefit as a teaching tool. They are sometimes able to show other drivers the right - and wrong - way to handle real-life risky situations on the road. Even those clips that show negative habits or actions - i.e., running red lights, steering with their forearm or falling asleep at the wheel - can be powerful visual tools to help reduce truck accidents in Witchita and beyond.
How Cameras Could Help Your Case
First and foremost, we should note that Kansas is an no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance. What this means is pursuant to K.S.A. 40-3107, every auto insurance policy issued or renewed must include personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to the named insured: relatives residing in the household, person operating the vehicle, passengers in the vehicle and anyone struck by the vehicle who was not an occupant of another vehicle (i.e., bicyclists and pedestrians). This means you will have some amount of coverage - regardless of fault - if you're in a trucking accident.
However, if the crash was serious, you need to closely examine whether the trucker was at fault because the damages you sustained are likely going to far exceed your PIP benefits. The only way to recover your damages will be to file a claim with the trucking company's insurer(s). There may be other defendants as well, and it will be up to your injury lawyer to carefully review the facts to determine where fault may lie.
Piecing together the facts often means using an accident reconstructionist, medical experts who can testify to causation and more. An in-truck camera can help to simplify the discovery process and leave less doubt as to how events unfolded.