Truck crashes are more dangerous than most automobile accidents. Just the sheer size of these massive vehicles can cause more property damage, injuries and even deaths. However, these trucks are vital to American industry, responsible for transporting over 71% of all freight and employing 6% of all Americans.
So, when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) trusted researchers revealed data about new trucking safety technology, federal regulators listened. According to the research, including these two safety systems on commercial trucks could prevent almost one-quarter of all truck crashes nationwide.
Forward collision warning and emergency braking systems
Led by Eric Teoh, director of statistical services at the IIHS, researchers studied crash data from over 2,000 incidents over two years. Across 62 trucking companies and two billion miles traveled, the IIHS discovered that two safety technologies could help prevent truck crashes and reduce the severity of injury: forward collision warning and emergency braking.
Many fleet operators already include these systems on their trucks, in line with recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, including this tech is not yet law, so many trucks operate without it. Federal lawmakers may soon pick up this cause alongside recommendations from the IIHS.
The new study found that this tech prevented 40% of truck crashes where the semi hits another car from behind, a particularly lethal combination. When studying each system’s impact separately, researchers discovered that trucks with forward collision warning had 22% fewer crashes than unequipped trucks, while trucks with emergency braking had 12% fewer.
The resistance to expanded regulation
Should these recommendations receive more lawmaker support, fleet operators and independent truckers may have to invest in these new systems to work. Before paying these hefty costs, industry professionals require more research. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association believes the study needs to expand its scope to include driver experience and safety records. The American Automobile Association wants the tech to become more reliable before being federally mandated. However it shakes out, it might be a while before these systems become standard on America’s biggest vehicles.
Should you or a loved one face injury in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may have legal recourse. A local attorney familiar with Texas motor vehicle law can answer questions, assess your case and help secure the coverage you deserve.