The Pros and Cons of Truck Platooning
There is strength in numbers. This is a concept that is true in nearly all industries. Since freight transportation is one where a high amount of risk is always present, taking to the roads with trusted teammates and colleagues can make any driver’s trip better.
Truck platooning has been a popular practice since commercial trucks have been on the roads. Vehicles driving in a standard formation can provide a number of benefits. However, it has also drawn concerns from many people on the grounds that it is a safety hazard.
Truck platooning can help commercial vehicles keep a steady speed, avoid the need for complicated maneuvering on the roads, and even improve fuel efficiency. The convoy is a common choice for truckers going on long trips. It is also a popular choice when safety is a concern given the type of cargo being transported or the type of area where the driver is headed.
While platooning is helpful and beneficial in many cases, it is also very controversial. Some safety advocates say it presents unnecessary hazards on the roads, but there have been calls to allow the practice on U.S. highways.
Amendments were laid out for laws in each state concerning truck convoys and their presence on the road. While these convoys can cut down on road congestion and eliminate traffic jams, the distance required between active vehicles is an important mandate which is often ignored in these situations.
Every state has their own mandates concerning commercial trucks, with different classifications for weight and size shaping the options available to drivers. Though convoys are still common, regulators cite the reasonable and prudent standard which suggests truckers leave plenty of space between their truck and other vehicles.
There have been numerous accidents reported where truck drivers were not able to stop in time. While some rules make it impossible for convoys to travel legally, amendments could change this if it is believed that sensor technology and other similar innovations could make the practice safer.
In test drives with autonomous vehicles, human- and computer-controlled vehicles traveled in the same convoy successfully on a twelve-mile test journey. As autonomous technology improves, these instances will most likely increase.