When a large semi-truck strikes a car from the back, passengers in the smaller vehicle are likely to suffer more serious, if not fatal, injuries. These types of rear-end collisions continue to occur throughout the United States. This problem has been in search of a solution for decades.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals that the decline in large truck crashes hit a record low point in 2009. However, since that milestone, collisions nationwide of large trucks have increased by nearly one-third, with more than 4,000 people killed. Rear-end crashes accounted for 119 fatalities.
Technology to Do What the Truck Driver Cannot
Technology may be the answer in the form of automatic emergency braking (AEB) and forward-collision warnings (FCW) that could reduce speeds of trucks by 50 percent. Both systems monitor the roads with cameras, radar, and sensors. Some provide warnings to drivers, while others will force the tractor-trailer to brake.
A newly released study by IIHS claims that the technology could reduce those types of rear-end collisions by 40 percent.
Individual statistics show the following:
- FCW systems reduce large truck crashes by 44 percent
- FCW systems decrease the overall number of crashes involving large trucks by 22 percent
- AEB installed in a large truck sees 41 percent fewer crashes
- Large trucks with AEB systems experience 12 percent fewer accidents
In some cases, a collision is unavoidable. However, the systems would still slow the truck by more than 50 percent, reducing the severity of both injuries and vehicle damage.
The IIHS reports that fleet operators are already installing the cutting-edge braking systems. They are also lobbying the federal government to mandate the technology in all large trucks. Surprisingly, the U.S. does not require either FCW or AEB, putting the country seven years behind the European Union having requirements in place since the latter part of 2013.