Insurance companies may play a critical role in the ongoing campaign to make America’s roads safer – especially when it comes to deadly truck accidents.
Trucks kill nearly 4,000 people each year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These crashes cost insurers money. Even a single catastrophic accident can result in losses that number well into the millions of dollars.
More accidents have led to skyrocketing costs
In recent years, as the economy has bounced back, more and more commercial drivers have flooded the roads. Meanwhile, cellphone use has led to an explosion in distracted driving. The resulting recipe for disaster has left the insurance industry grappling with hefty losses. In 2016 alone, commercial auto insurance companies lost more than $700 million, leading some to increase premiums by as much as 30 percent.
As discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal article, commercial auto insurers are taking drastic steps to curb these losses. Some have begun exploring heightened safety measures such as:
- Installing in-cab cameras that are triggered in the event of an accident, recording what happened leading up to (and immediately after) the crash
- Using cellphone-blocking technology while drivers are in motion
- Discouraging trucking firms from hiring inexperienced drivers (who tend to have higher accident rates)
While some of these measures could be considered invasive, they may help make the roads safer for everyone. Truckers are less likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors when they know they’re on camera. Trucking firms will also be better equipped to identify and respond to disciplinary issues – especially those with profound safety implications – that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
What about consumer auto insurance?
Similar changes may be in the pipeline for consumer auto insurance. Many companies already offer incentives for safe driving. In the near future, some may take it a step further by offering reduced rates for drivers who use cellphone-blocking apps or other technologies to deter dangerous driving behavior.
Ultimately, these developments are a reminder that in the long journey toward reducing traffic fatalities, every step counts.