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A Call For New Truck Safety Technology

Four safety groups joined together to ask the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pass new rules regarding trucking technology. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Truck Safety Coalition, Center for Auto Safety, and Road Safe America joined together to petition the NHTSA concerning forward collision avoidance and automatic braking systems on commercial trucks. Industry leaders have projected a significant increase in commercial truck traffic going forward and the safety groups would like the new technology in place before then.

Collision mitigation braking systems use sensors to determine when a collision is impending. If the sensors indicate a potential collision, the system can automatically apply the brakes to slow or stop the truck. Collisions can sometimes be avoided and the damage done can be limited CMB systems. The NHTSA has indicated that these systems could prevent more than 2,500 crashes in their current form. A rule requiring the technology could lead to improvements that make assisted braking systems even more effective. CMB systems would go a long way to preventing rear end collisions when truck drivers do not act quickly enough to a traffic slowdown or other impediment. 

An additional component of these systems is a warning that notifies the driver of a possible collision. Forward collision warning (FCW) tones give drivers additional time to apply the brakes themselves or take evasive action. They may help drivers who have succumbed to distraction or fatigue. The technology is available now, but is not widespread among the trucks currently on the road.

The NHTSA will likely hear from trucking industry lobbyists about the cost of implementing these systems. The refrain is typically that they are too expensive and that the technology hasn't been tested enough. Similar complaints were registered when seat belts and air bags were first proposed as standard equipment. Safety technology has saved countless lives by preventing or mitigating car and truck accidents. The groups petitioning for these new rules believe forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking (F-CAM) systems are the next step in advancing trucking safety.

Source: Trucking News, "Truck Safety Advocates Ask Feds for Rules on Crash Sensors for Big Rigs," by Trucking News Staff, 23 February 2015 

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