The next time you pass a semi-truck on the highway, you may not consider whether someone is actually driving it. After all, human beings have been behind the wheel of the largest vehicles on the road since they were introduced to American highways. Nevertheless, that may change in the near future.
Just like automakers and technology companies vow to bring self-driving cars to the road by the end of this decade, automated trucks may start crisscrossing American roadways before we know it. If that happens, what happens to truck drivers? Will they go away like so many jobs that have fallen victim to automation?
Chances are that trucking companies will still need skilled operators for automated trucks. Many developers envision drivers to still be on trucks, but likely in different roles. Truck drivers may be more like “operators” who monitor the truck’s functions and conduct extensive pre-trip and post trip inspections. Basically, truck drivers of the future may be more like airline pilots who are in the cockpit to monitor the plane’s functions as automated systems guide it from takeoff to landing.
But even though a truck driver’s role may evolve, the duty to use reasonable care in doing so does not. Future truckers still must act and operate the vehicle like a reasonable person would. This means that they must limit distractions, abstain from alcohol or other mood altering substances prior to getting on the road, and they must mind applicable speed limits.
If you have questions about your rights and options after a semi-truck accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you.