A recent article at TruckingInfo.com reports that four highway safety lobbies petitioned the NTSB to initiate a rule that would require forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking (F-CAM) systems on all new tractor trailers rated at 10,000 pounds or more. The lobbies argue that specific technology exists that would significantly reduce eighteen wheeler crashes if it were mandated on commercial vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can initiate rules and, if those rules are passed, can impose requirements on vehicle manufacturers who produce large trucks. The NHTSA started the rule making process by accepting the petition indicating, but there on many stages left in the process for the rule to be mandated and go in effect.
The article goes on to explain how this automatic breaking system works. The F-CAM technology uses sensors and radar to detect if there is an obstacle up ahead in the path of an eighteen wheeler like stopped or stalled traffic and alerts the driver with a warning. If the driver does not respond right away to the F-CAM, then the vehicles will brake automatically when the truck gets too close to the stopped or stalled traffic ahead. The automatic braking system is called a Crash Mitigation Braking (CMB) system.
The problem is that similar braking systems using similar technology are already installed on many commercial eighteen wheelers according to Fortune.com and no measurable change has been effected as it relates to improved tractor trailer safety data.
Regardless of what the NHTSA decides to do, tractor trailer drivers need to continue to pay attention to the road, get the sleep the law requires and stop when there is something in their path. While technologies may help avoid some collisions, ultimately no technology can guard against distracted or drowsy driving. That responsibility will continue to fall on the trucker.
The statistical facts as it relates to injury or death from large truck collisions in the U.S. continue to be the following:
- Every 16 minutes in the United States another person is injured or killed in a tractor-trailer truck accident.
- There are over 400,000 accidents involving tractor trailer trucks or other commercial trucks each year in the U.S.
- Approximately 140,000 people are injured in eighteen wheeler accidents each year.
- Approximately 3,700 passenger vehicle occupants are killed each year in accidents with tractor trailers or other commercial trucks.
- Large trucks, including semi trucks and tractor trailers often weigh 20 – 30 times more than a passenger car.
- The most common cause of accidents involving tractor trailers and other large trucks is driver fatigue.
- The failure to maintain the brake systems on commercial trucks is one of the most common violations of trucking regulations.
- A fast moving tractor-trailer can take the length of a football field to stop.
If you or someone you love has been injured or worse lost his or her life as the result of a negligent collision with a commercial tractor trailer, it’s important you seek the services and an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully tried such cases. Contact attorney Michael Pence to schedule your consultation.