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Noland Law Firm, LLC Legal Blog

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Collision avoidance systems may be mandated for large trucks

On behalf of Noland Law Firm, LLC posted in truck accidents on Tuesday, October 20, 2015.

Large trucks always pose a risk to other smaller passenger vehicles on the road. The massive weight differential means that a collision at virtually any speed can lead to catastrophic damage for the smaller vehicle.

Some of the most damaging types of collisions can occur when a passenger vehicle has slowed due to congestion on roads or because of construction delays. When roads narrow, when lanes are closed or shifted during construction, traffic can begin to back up. When drivers approaching this type of congestion are not paying attention, are fatigued or distracted by activities like texting, they may not slow or stop in time, causing disastrous crashes.

Technology may offer a viable solution, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing a rule that mandate the addition of forward collision avoidance and mitigation (FCAM) systems on large trucks.

NHTSA will study the implementation of these automatic braking systems and collision mitigation systems. They have been accessing some of these technologies in the last few years, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) explicitly argued for such technologies to be made standard on trucks in its report on the crash that severely injure comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one man in their vehicle.

That crash was attributed to the truck driver falling asleep and crashing into traffic stopped for road construction. The NHTSA reports that trucks are overrepresented in these types of fatal collisions. The FCAM technology would detect slowed or stopped vehicles and would automatically slow the truck prior to a crash.

FCAM is not the only technological systems that are being added to trucks. The NHTSA has ordered the installation of electronic stability control (ESC) systems on trucks by 2017. These systems are part of the evolution of creating more support for drivers and are designed to help avoid crashes.

While truck drivers are unlikely to be replaced in the near future, the addition of more computer control systems in the cab and the potential of more sophisticated systems, such as Google's autonomous cars, should help towards reducing the number of these catastrophic crashes.


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