The Truck Safety Alliance is making another push toward AEBs
The Truck Safety Coalition is calling on federal agencies to take “immediate action” toward enforcing automatic emergency braking and speed limiters.
Citing statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that there were more than 5,600 fatalities involving large trucks in 2021, the coalition called for multiple safety reforms.
“People can and should expect their government to keep them safe from the carnage big trucks cause on our roads and highways,” Zach Cahalan, executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition, said in a news release. “It is time for Congress and the Department of Transportation to fulfill this expectation without reservation.”
According to the coalition, fatalities from truck accidents have increased 71% since 2009, and this rise indicates a need for more regulation in the industry.
However, opponents point out that trucking regulations also increased significantly at that time. That includes the electronic logging mandate, which went into full implementation in 2018. The Independent Owner-Operator Drivers Association, which represents small commercial truck drivers, said the ELD mandate is one example of costly regulations that have yielded no safety benefits.
“Our members have strongly opposed the ELD mandate from its inception,” OOIDA wrote to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last year. “There has never been sufficient research to suggest that the mandate would improve highway safety, and the agency still lacks data showing any positive safety outcomes since its full implementation.”
Automatic emergency braking systems
NHTSA and FMCSA are scheduled to issue a final rule in April that will mandate automatic emergency braking systems on heavy trucks.
Supporters say the mandate would ultimately prevent more than 19,000 crashes and 150 deaths each year.
Opponents point to the false activations as evidence that the technology is not ready for demand. Many truck drivers who provided comments on the braking proposal cited false activations due to shadows and guardrails.
Specifically, truck driver Carrie Moore told agencies about a time when a false braking incident led to a near-miss while she was driving on an icy road in Michigan.
NHTSA launched an investigation into faulty automatic braking earlier this year.
The FMCSA is scheduled to unveil a proposal to impose speed limiters on most commercial vehicles in December.
Supporters of the mandate say speeding is a major contributor to traffic accidents. However, speed limits vary widely on highways across the United States, with some areas allowing speeds of up to 85 mph. Opponents of the mandate argue that forcing trucks to travel 20 mph — or more — below the speed limit would worsen driving conditions.
The FMCSA’s advance notice on speed limiters last year generated more than 15,000 comments. The majority of comments came from truck drivers who oppose this requirement.
“I oppose imposing speed limits,” Thad Thurlow wrote. “Speed differentials create unsafe conditions. Some states have already come to this conclusion and eliminated their speed differentials. Limiting all trucks to the same speed will create more congestion as trucks pass each other and cars have to move around them. Congestion creates more Frustration prompts drivers to make riskier decisions to cross traffic.
The DRIVE Act, which has been introduced in the House and Senate, would prevent the FMCSA from moving forward with a speed limit rule. LL