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Might truckers' work injuries be prevented by smarter trucks?

Although many people in Colorado might be nervous to drive near big tractor-trailer trucks, thinking that they might get severely injured if they were involved in a truck accident, many truckers are also at risk of serious injuries in an accident. It may be easy to assume that most truck accidents are caused by negligent truck drivers, but that is not always true. And when a truck driver suffers work injuries in Colorado, he or she can file for workers' compensation benefits.

One of the ways to reduce trucking injuries, however, may be through smarter trucks and safety technology. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has been working on and testing a new safety feature that could greatly reduce the number of accidents on Colorado's roads, keeping truckers safer. The technology would allow the semitrailer trucks to "talk" to each other and warn their drivers of any upcoming dangers.

By using a wireless network, the vehicles would communicate each other's location, speed and direction to any other vehicle with the technology within a 1,000-foot radius. Up to 10 times a second, the trucks would be able to warn each other and their drivers if they are getting closer or if a collision is imminent.

As of yet, the administration has not yet issued any regulations on this technology, meaning that it has not yet been required. Even once it is, it may only be mandatory for new trucks, meaning drivers of older trucks may still be at risk of serious work injuries.

Source: Associated Press, "Technology for cars to talk to each other urged," Joan Lowy, July 23, 2013

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