Safety Groups Urge NHTSA To Mandate Collision Avoidance Technology For Large Trucks

Courtesy: Flickr
Courtesy: Flickr

Every year, approximately 4,000 people are killed and nearly 100,000 are injured in crashes involving large trucks.

Research shows that many of these collisions actually occur from the rear. NHTSA data backs this. From 2003-2008, it revealed that there were 32,000 crashes involving a truck striking the rear of a vehicle resulting in at least 300 fatalities and injuring over 15,000 people annually.

Because of those numbers, several safety groups and individuals are on a mission to change that. They recently petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems for new heavy trucks and buses.

“The safety technology is available to reduce the carnage on America’s roads resulting from rear-end crashes by large trucks,” said Henry Jasny, Senior Vice President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “The NHTSA can take action to improve safety and reduce preventable losses by requiring F-CAM technology on all large commercial motor vehicles.”

The Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety and Road Safe America has also joined forces with Highway and Auto Safety to demand these new safety measures.

Steve Owings, Road Safe America Co-Founder and past Chairman of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, lost his son, Cullum, when the car Cullum was driving was barreled into from behind, in stopped traffic, by a tractor-trailer.

That big-rig’s driver was speeding 8 mph over the posted speed limit using cruise control and didn’t touch his brakes until his truck was within 100 feet of the stopped traffic.

“There is little doubt that Cullum would still be alive today if only that truck had F-CAM technology,” Owings said.

The basic technology that these safety groups want utilized is something called ‘Forward Collision Warning (FCW).” It’s a vehicle-based safety system that generates a visual, audible, or haptic (vibration) warning for the driver in the event the driver’s vehicle comes within a predefined distance and closing rate with a vehicle traveling in front of it, known as the target vehicle.

In situations where the driver does not respond to the FCW alert signals, Collision Mitigation Braking (CMB) automatically applies the foundation brakes through the electronic stability control (ESC) system to reduce the impact speed or entirely prevent the collision with the target vehicle.

“Many hundreds of lives could be saved each year if trucks are equipped with automatic braking systems,” said Clarence Ditlow, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety. “The NHTSA should move quickly to require this safety technology on all trucks.”

NHTSA reportedly recently completed an evaluation of F-CAM systems in medium and heavy commercial vehicles that “provides substantial support for this petition.”

To view the petition in its entirety, click here.

The truck accident attorneys at Leizerman & Associates LLC support the efforts of these safety groups to keep America’s roadways safer, and we hope that in the future the FMCSC makes this technology mandatory for all commercial motor vehicles.

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