Large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 lbs., making it difficult to stop when traveling at a high speed. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 4,657 large commercial trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2017. That's why lawmakers are currently pushing for automatic emergency braking (AEB) technology to become standard on all new commercial vehicles, according to Safety + Health Magazine.
AEB technology detects when a collision is imminent and alerts drivers by sounding an alarm. If a driver doesn't respond quickly enough to avoid a crash, the brakes may be applied automatically to either prevent a crash or reduce the severity of one.
Lawmakers and safety advocates push for AEB technology on all large trucks
Legislation was first introduced in 2011 and 2015 by Rep Hank Johnson (D-GA) following several fatal crashes involving large commercial trucks.
“Tragically, the simple installation of automatic braking systems on all commercial motor vehicles might have prevented these deaths and countless others across the country,” Johnson said. “America’s roads and highways should be safe for all drivers. Taking full advantage of technologies that are available and proven to anticipate and prevent crashes will save lives.”
Johnson recently joined Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) to introduce the Safe Roads Act of 2019 (H.R. 3773). In a press release, García called AEB “a simple, common-sense solution to deploy proven crash-avoidance technologies."
This legislation has caught the attention of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) and the Truck Safety Coalition. In a press release, AHAS President Cathy Chase expressed concern for the "unacceptably high" number of truck crashes that result in deaths or injuries.
“This carnage would not be tolerated in any other industry," Chase said. "It is imperative that Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation get serious about solving this problem. Solutions, including requiring advanced technologies in all new trucks, are readily available – they just need to be implemented.”
Challenges of implementing AEB technology
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation (OOIDAF) warns that AEB technology still requires more research and testing before it can be deemed safe and effective. The OOIDAF said that it's not fully autonomous and may only work at low speeds.
Moreover, truck drivers should avoid becoming too reliant on this technology. Like all types of autonomous and semi-autonomous technology, AEB can malfunction — resulting in someone's injury or death.
The attorneys at the Herrera Law Firm have seen the devastation truck crashes cause. We have represented crash victims who have experienced months of physical therapy and serious trauma. We know that these crashes are preventable and that's why we're dedicated to holding negligent truck drivers and the companies that employ them accountable.
If you were hurt in a crash, we'll fight to help you maximize your compensation while you focus on recovery. Contact us today to learn more.