Backup Cameras Will Soon Be Available for Commercial Trucks and Tractor-Trailers

Backup Cameras Will Soon Be Available for Commercial Trucks and Tractor-TrailersBackup accidents are a very common type of truck accident in Vancouver and Battle Ground. The longer the truck or tractor-trailer combination, the more difficult it is for a truck driver to see behind that truck. Difficulty seeing behind a truck or trailer makes it hard for the truck driver to stop safely, merge into other lanes, turn, and back up into traffic.

Why are backup truck accidents dangerous?

Backing up a tractor-trailer into the street from a loading dock, a parking lot, or any location is one of the most difficult tasks any truck driver has to manage. The length of the truck, tractor-trailer, rig, or semi makes it extremely difficult to see all the way behind the truck – especially if the truck has a trailer that moves independently of the truck cab.

Many truck companies use special programs and simulations to help the truck driver navigate through backups – before even being allowed to back up into live traffic. Improper techniques and a lack of visibility of objects (or people) behind the truck are major causes of catastrophic and deadly backing-up accidents.

What types of injuries do backing-up truck accidents cause?

Trucks that back up into a car are likely to cause catastrophic or permanent injuries to the drivers and passengers in the vehicle. A truck that backs up into or over a pedestrian or bicycle rider will likely send the walker or rider to the emergency room, if the victim is lucky. Many back-up accidents are fatal.

At Philbrook Law, our Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA truck accident lawyers file personal injury claims against the truck driver, truck owner, and other responsible parties when the victims suffer any type of serious injury such as:

We also file wrongful death claims if a loved one was killed in a Washington truck accident.

What backup camera technology is being developed for commercial trucks and tractor-trailers?

According to CCJ Digital, backup cameras have been required as standard equipment on all passenger cars and all trucks weighing less than 10,000 pounds that were built after May 1, 2018. Dan Forthoffer, a director of research and development for Phillips Industries, said that there are now plans for a new backup camera (for tractor-tailers) due for production later in 2022. Many tractor-trailer combinations weigh more than 10,000 pounds with loaded cargo. Forthoffer acknowledged that there were a few reasons for the delay in the design of backup camera technology for tractor-trailers and other large and heavy commercial trucks:

  • The owner of the tractor and the owner of the trailer often differ – which creates a connection problem.
  • Tractor-trailers often back into docks. An improper placement of the camera can cause the camera to smash during the docking.
  • Transmitting signal reliability was a problem across the full length of the tractor and trailer

Forthoffer says there’s still work to be done. He anticipates that the final design will include a wireless camera and an app that drivers will use. His company is also developing software that electronic logging device (ELD) providers can “integrate into their systems.” Phillips says it will make the software available to ELD providers for free. Forthoffer explained, “This way the camera will work with many different devices via WiFi and Bluetooth, and it removes the need for a master/slave connection.”

Currently, most heavy-duty truck backup cameras use wired options – which makes their use on tractor-trailers problematic because the screens and the cameras can’t match up well. Forthoffer also said that the wireless option combined with a proprietary screen doesn’t work well after 20-25 feet. Many trailers are longer than 53 feet.

Forthoffer states, “There are some chip sets that have come out in the last two or three years that have additional power capability in a much thinner broadband spectrum that Phillips will use to more reliably transmit a signal from the camera to the cab of the tractor.”

The different backup camera technologies

Per CCJ Digital, another company that is working with backup cameras combined with wireless technology is Driver Safety Technology (DST). The co-founder, Steve Witt, says that the wireless option can eliminate the tractor/trailer ownership issue. It’s also less costly because trailer owners don’t need to buy a “master” monitor or use cables to attach the camera to the cab. Forthoffer says the DST technology still presents problems. Will tractor-trailer owners buy the technology? What happens if the tractor-trailer is damaged?

Forthoffer raises a safety concern. He says that the “Phillips camera can record and capture images when triggered by a large bump that could damage the trailer.” Witt adds, “The data has already shown that backup cameras on passenger vehicles significantly reduce accidents and back-over deaths, and there is dialogue among policymakers about requiring backup cameras on commercial vehicles.”

Witt says that the federal regulations that require backup cameras for passenger cars were driven by the goal of reducing accidents and back-over deaths, and notes that workable backup technology for commercial vehicles should help reduce back-up accidents and fatalities. He adds that the pressure for “best practices” regulations for backup technology for commercial fleets will only increase.

At Philbrook Law Firm, our Vancouver, WA and Battle Ground, WA truck accident lawyers understand why truck accidents happen, how they could have been prevented, and who is responsible. We have the experience and resources to fight for victims with serious injuries and for families if a loved one died due to a truck backup or blind spot accident. To discuss your rights to file a claim, call us at 360-695-3309 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.