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Will autonomous trucks stop truck accidents?

The trucking industry is constantly changing, generally for the better. Strides in technology improved safety standards to keep both truck drivers and the motorists they encounter safer. Other possible advancements may improve conditions even further.

One point the industry is considering is using autonomous trucks, or driverless trucks. It may be difficult to imagine now, but many experts think that the technology for autonomous trucks is coming quickly, perhaps even in the next three years. Regulations still have to catch up as lawmakers debate what is safest for society at large. Like most issues, there are pros and cons to consider that may affect you and your family here in Tennessee and around the country.

Why autonomous trucks could be good

The biggest point to consider is safety. Many researchers say that driverless trucks won't have as many accidents, but there is a caveat – the technology and infrastructure has to catch up first. Still, trucks with no drivers means fewer people on the road, and therefore fewer fatalities.

This change in the industry will also mean other benefits. There will be a surge in warehouse jobs. Experts say that autonomous trucks need people at the start and end of a route to handle the cargo. Warehouse workers will fill that role. In addition, since an autonomous truck doesn't have to worry about driving too many hours, cargo will arrive at its destination much more quickly. In the case of food, it will be fresher and cost less since the cost of labor will decrease.

Why autonomous trucks could be bad

Though some experts say these trucks will be safer, others worry that the opposite will be true. A computer still cannot make decisions the same way that a human can. While many researchers recommend dedicated lanes for these trucks, none exist at this point in time, meaning humans may still be at risk when an autonomous truck is on the road.

There are other problems in this potential industry change that mirrors the benefits. The same way that warehouse jobs will increase, trucking jobs will decrease. This is especially concerning because truck drivers usually make a decent salary, especially compared to warehouse personnel who sometimes make half as much. Also, despite the reduction in costs for cargo, the cost of needed infrastructure will increase. Many local lawmakers may be resistant to this idea on that alone.

What does the future hold?

While the fate of autonomous trucks is still uncertain, many experts are both optimistic and cautious that it is inevitable. What is most important is that companies consider the safety of all motorists. Truck accidents can devastate a family, and no one deserves to suffer at the hands of a careless company or driver.

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