Every year, large truck accidents injure more than 100,000 Americans and fatally harm over 4,000 more, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Because big commercial trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times more than an average passenger car, collisions between these two vehicle types often result in particularly severe damage.
There are many safety technologies that aim to prevent devastating auto accidents before they happen. Systems like automatic emergency brakes (AEB) and forward collision warning (FCW) have already been implemented in 66% of new standard cars. However, they have yet to gain similar traction among large truck manufacturers and operators.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) compared the records of more than 60 American trucking companies, focusing on big trucks weighing 33,000 pounds or more. The IIHS data show that automatic emergency systems like AEB and FCW have drastic effects on the frequency and severity of large truck-related accidents, potentially reducing serious rear-end collisions by more than 40%.
Benefits of Automatic Emergency Braking Systems
Automatic emergency braking systems slow or stop a vehicle automatically when they detect impending collisions. According to the IIHS study, large trucks equipped with automatic emergency brakes had 41% fewer rear-end crashes than those without this safety feature. Also, trucks with AEB systems were involved in 12% fewer accidents, overall.
Many AEB systems also include forward collision warning by default. Together, these systems do more than just prevent accidents. Research indicates that even when accidents do occur, the split-second advantage of AEB or FCW can significantly reduce the force of impact, resulting in 65% fewer injuries.
Benefits of Forward Collision Warning Systems
As their name suggests, forward collision warning systems warn drivers of impending front-end collisions. Trucks equipped with only forward collision warning systems were involved in 44% fewer rear-end crashes than trucks with no automatic emergency systems. They also had 22% fewer crashes, overall. The IIHS study shows that when AEB and FCW systems are combined, front-to-rear crashes among large trucks drop by as much as 43%.
Unlike automatic emergency brakes, FCW systems can be retrofitted and implemented in older trucks. This means any large truck driver can benefit from the added safety and security of forward collision warning technology.
Will These Safety Systems Become Mandatory?
Vehicle manufacturers in the U.S. are currently not required to equip any large trucks with automatic crash protection, although this has been the case in Europe since 2013. The American trucking industry, in particular, has historically been opposed to any mandates that would require automatic braking systems in commercial trucks.
Recently, Sean McNally of the American Trucking Associations told Consumer Reports that his group is working with truck owners and operators to encourage the use of these technologies. Perhaps the results of the IIHS study will motivate the trucking industry to reconsider its approach to road safety.
Contact Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., for Advice After a Truck Accident
If you have been hurt in an accident involving a large truck, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you fight for the full compensation you need to move forward with your life. Call the skilled legal team at Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., for a free consultation of your case. When life changes, we’re there.