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Distracted driving is a major cause of trucking accidents

Commercial truck accidents continue to be among the deadliest and most injurious crashes on U.S. roads – including roads here in Alaska. Trucks are so much larger and heavier than other vehicles that collisions are often deadly or debilitating for occupants of smaller personal vehicles.

While trucking accidents have many common causes, it’s not always clear how common certain risk are. Truck drivers who cause accidents are predictably reluctant to admit what led to the crash, fearing that they will lose their job, get sued, or both. But technology is making it easier than ever to track truck drivers on the job. And according to one company supplying such technology, more than 70 percent of truck crashes it studied were the result of distracted driving.

A company called Nauto is a startup that provides “artificial intelligence telematics” to commercial fleets. The in-vehicle technology can track eye movements and other behaviors to assess how truck drivers are interacting with the vehicle and the road conditions. The system can give alerts to drivers who are becoming distracted or warn of upcoming dangers.

A spokeswoman for Nauto cited a study done by the company about the causes of collisions among drivers using the Nauto technology. The study found that distracted driving was to blame in over 70 percent of collisions. The primary cause of distraction was cellphone use, but behind-the-wheel distractions also included eating, drinking, talking to passengers and even doing paperwork.

If more and more trucking companies begin using AI telematics, it could lead to a substantial reduction in the number of trucking accidents, which would be good news for everyone. But at the very least, the data could be used to hold negligent truck drivers accountable when they injure or kill others in preventable crashes.

If you’ve been seriously injured in a truck accident or other automobile crash, please discuss your options with a personal injury attorney in your area.

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