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Truckers distrust safety tech, find ways to manipulate it

Truck fleet owners in Pennsylvania and across the US are adding new safety tech to their vehicles, but this in itself is not enough. Many truckers are actually disabling or manipulating the devices, perhaps out of distrust for the technology or a desire to act recklessly without anyone knowing it. They have learned many methods through YouTube videos.

Truckers can learn how to disable the steering-wheel sensor, unplug the speakers and cut the wires to the in-cab camera. They may slide a business card behind the camera so that it does not record their actions. They may push in the lane departure warning switch and stick paper down into it. They may tamper with the radar by lining the covering with aluminum foil.

Distrust of technology may be the fault of the truck fleet owners, according to Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems' regional director. He was the speaker at a safety systems seminar during the Technology & Maintenance Council's 2019 meeting. He argued that employers must properly introduce the technology to truckers.

This means explaining the technology and its limitations. It also means ensuring that technicians also know how the technology works so that they can troubleshoot and repair systems that receive complaints. Safety systems are effective only when compliant drivers are behind the wheel.

A noncompliant driver is ultimately a negligent one. While most motor vehicle accidents that involve trucks are the fault of passenger vehicle drivers, some happen because a trucker was drowsy, distracted, intoxicated or reckless. In such cases, victims may be able to take action against the trucking company and be reimbursed for losses like medical bills, vehicle damage and pain and suffering. An attorney who works in truck accident law may be a great help, especially for negotiations.

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