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What happens when automated trucks take to the road?

The possibility of having self-driving  cars on Arizona roads by the end of the decade becomes more of a reality with each passing year. But it is not just potential self-driving ubers or satellite guided taxis that drivers may have to worry about; automated semi-trucks may join drivers on highways.

The specter of a self-driving truck may be more unnerving than an automated car, given the size differential and the speeds that trucks travel at. Indeed, the trucking industry embraces innovation, especially given the safety benefits for drivers since they may not have to be on the road as often or have such grueling responsibilities. It is imagined that truck drivers may become more akin to airline pilots who monitor a cache of controls while satellites and other automations guide the plane through the sky. 

So even as automated trucks begin taking loads on Arizona’s highways, qualified, responsible drivers will likely remain a wanted commodity. After all, truckers must still be responsible for pre-trip inspections, so that the truck adheres to federal regulations. Truckers will also be responsible for addressing technical issues, especially when diagnostic measure signal problems.

Essentially, the duty to use reasonable care behind the wheel is not extinguished simply because more of a truck’s manual controls become automated, it simply changes. As such, an operator must still act as a reasonable person would when manually driving a truck. If such care is not used and an accident occurs, those injured would still have the right to seek monetary damages.

The preceding is for information purposes only. It is not legal advice. 

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