Big rigs, tractor trailers, and other commercial trucks have big side-view mirrors sticking out their sides. Most people see these mirrors as an important safety feature—one that allows drivers to see along the sides of their truck. However, a new plan suggests getting rid of these mirrors could actually help prevent trucking collisions.
In fact, in Europe, American company Stoneridge Inc. has already replaced some big rig side mirrors with a system of sensors and cameras. The trucks with these devices have been on the road since 2016 and proponents say the pilot project shows that replacing side-view mirrors can reduce truck accidents while improving fuel efficiency. Now, the company is using the system on real-world trucks in America and is seeking exemptions for mirrors from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
How Does Removing Mirrors Help?
The cameras and displays used instead of mirrors let drivers see all blind spots, including those in front of the hood and in adjacent lanes. Redundant wired cameras protect against glitches while the cameras themselves “see” much more than mirrors and do not need to be adjusted, ensuring drivers can see more and thus prevent collisions caused by drivers and objects in blind spots. Unlike mirrors, camera lenses are heated and coated so frost, rain and snow on the surface do not affect visibility.
Drivers using this technology see what is happening around their truck by looking at digital displays, which are positioned on each side of the windshield as well as in the center. In addition, the system allows drivers to see in low-light conditions, such as in the dark and in tunnels. Clearer visibility, some advocates say, could help prevent collisions caused by night vision problems.
Many experts support the transition to mirrorless trucks, including many drivers who have tried the systems. The American Trucking Associations also support the technology. Since the system prevents drag caused by side-view mirrors and improves fuel efficiency, truck companies may also support its adaptation.
Are Mirrorless Trucks Part of the Future?
Right now, it is not known how much the system might cost. It would not be mandatory, so it is difficult to say how many truck companies would make the switch, even with fuel savings. Currently, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment on changing rules to allow mirrorless trucks. The technology could be approved for use on US roads by the summer of 2018.
If you have been injured by a truck collision because the truck driver did not see you or because they were driving recklessly, find out whether you have a claim or legal options by calling Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) or use our online form to reach our law office to speak with a Hollywood trucking accident attorney. If you have medical bills or face lost time at work due to your injury, you may be eligible for compensation to help you pay these costs. The expenses of an accident can be significant, so contact the Hollywood, Homestead, or Miami law offices of Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation to discuss ways to reduce the financial worry.