Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems are increasingly available in non-commercial cars and trucks. The federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in June proposed requirements for these safety systems that to be in commercial trucks also.
AEB systems use forward-facing sensors and cameras to detect obstacles in front of the vehicle. If the system determines a crash is imminent, it will apply the brakes if the driver fails to do so or, if necessary, apply more braking force if the driver’s using the brakes. The proposed rule would require an AEB system to work at speeds from 6 to 50 miles per hour.
NHTSA estimates the change could prevent almost 20,000 crashes a year, saving about 155 lives annually, according to the Associated Press. Anyone in a traffic jam seeing a semi-truck approach them in the rearview mirror should appreciate what good these systems could do. There are about 60,000 rear-end crashes annually where a heavy truck or bus hits a passenger vehicle, according to NHTSA.
New Rule Meant to Improve Future Road Safety
The government will require heavy trucks and buses to include automatic emergency braking equipment within five years, the federal traffic safety agency said Thursday, estimating it will prevent nearly 20,000 crashes, about 9,000 injuries and save at least 155 lives a year.
The announcement follows a move in May to improve high-speed automatic braking for new passenger cars and light trucks. They are the traffic safety agency’s most recent efforts to improve electronic systems that perform essential tasks that only drivers did in the past.
The proposed rule is expected to be finalized next year. It would cover new trucks and buses weighing at least 10,000 pounds. Those weighing more than 26,000 pounds must have these braking systems within three years after the rule becomes final. Vehicles weighing from 10,000 to 26,000 pounds will have until 2028 to comply.
The Benefits of AEBs on Commercial Trucks are Documented
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released in 2020 based on crashes of trucks weighing at least 33,000 pounds owned by 62 trucking companies. They either had AEBs (which include collision warnings to drivers), only collision warning systems, or neither. Compared to trucks without these systems, trucks with:
- Forward collision warnings had 22% fewer crashes
- With AEB had 12% fewer crashes
These systems reduced rear-end collisions with other vehicles from 41% to 44%. When these trucks had rear-end crashes, their average speed was half that of trucks without these systems, reducing the collision’s severity and potentially preventing or lessening injuries.
AEB is Safety Feature Everyone Can Agree On: Safety Advocates, Trucking Lobbyists, and Vehicle Manufacturers
The American Trucking Association, the industry’s largest lobbying group, normally opposes government-proposed truck safety regulations. Not this time. Its vice president for safety policy called the proposal “timely and appropriate.”
As of December, 15 automakers had included the technology standard on most new models. General Motors said automatic emergency braking will be standard on nearly all its vehicles by the end of the model year.
Get the Legal Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust
Commercial truck accidents can be complex. If you’re involved in one, representing yourself can be a huge mistake that could impact you and your family for years. If you have questions about truck accidents or want legal representation, contact The Fleck Firm for a free consultation at (270) 446-7000. We’ll talk about the accident, the law, and your best options to proceed. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.