The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has helped American lawmakers shape vehicle safety regulations for decades. The IIHS researches automotive safety, conducting crash tests and assigning ratings. The organization aims to reduce traffic collisions, injury and property damage by influencing policy with increased safety standards.
The IIHS recently published a study on the performance of forward collision warning and emergency braking systems in semi-trucks. Can these modern technologies help save lives?
IIHS reveals the potential of safety advancements
The IIHS studied over 60 trucking companies between 2017 and 2019. Examining data from over 2,000 crashes and 2 billion miles of road traveled, the IIHS concluded that trucks equipped with both forward collision warning and emergency braking systems could reduce crashes where semi-trucks rear-end another vehicle by 40%. In cases where crashes still occurred, the group also found that the systems worked to reduce the truck’s speed by half, reducing the severity of the damage and sustained injuries.
The IIHS recommends that the federal government mandate the inclusion of these systems on all new trucks. Over 4,000 people died in truck accidents in 2018, 67% of those being passengers in other vehicles. The IIHS maintains that these technologies are necessary to save more lives in the future. Their data shows that trucks equipped with forward collision warning had 22% fewer crashes than those without, and trucks with emergency braking had 12% fewer crashes.
Industry pushback to new regulations
Despite the promising numbers, new regulations often face resistance. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) believes the study overlooked “real-world factors” like a driver’s experience, safety record and training. The American Automobile Association (AAA), based on their research, maintains that the systems do not work correctly every time.
The IIHS states that the systems still reduce the severity of crashes and that the technology is constantly improving.
New technology could make safer roads
As technology improves and data accumulates, the federal government may require these systems on new trucks. The European Union mandated in 2013 that all new semis equip both forward collision warning and emergency braking systems, so the U.S. may not be far behind.
Those injured in a truck accident can secure legal assistance from a local lawyer familiar with New York trucking laws. An attorney can assess a case, work with insurance companies and draft settlement paperwork.