The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently conducted a study of four types of advanced safety technologies for large trucks. Study findings reveal that many lives could be saved each year if the technology were used throughout the industry. Some larger fleets have already started implementation of the onboard safety systems, and the AAA hopes to raise awareness of the technologies through the results of this new study.
According to an AAA survey completed in conjunction with the safety systems study, roughly one in four adults would feel better about sharing the road with large trucks if the trucks were using safety technology. The director of AAA Traffic Safety Advocacy Research describes the new technologies as a win-win for drivers and the trucking industry because the concerns of drivers are being addressed as truck accidents are being prevented.
The study was titled “Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains,” and analyzed the costs and societal safety benefits of installing four types of technology – air disc brakes, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning systems, and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems.
No new research was conducted for the study, instead the AAA assembled a panel of experts to review existing studies from sources such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Transportation Research Information, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The data used on the rates of large truck crashes was from 2010 to 2015. The academic journals Accident Analysis and Prevention, and the Journal of Safety Research were also consulted. The six-member panel consisted of representatives from all sides of the trucking industry including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a trucking insurance company, an industry safety consultant, a commercial motor vehicle carrier, and an advanced safety technology vendor.
Analysts from the AAA reviewed research literature and consulted the panel of experts and concluded the following:
- Video-based onboard safety monitoring systems could have a dramatic effect on large truck safety by preventing as many 63,000 crashes each year, resulting in 293 fewer deaths and 17,733 fewer injuries.
- Lane departure warning systems could prevent up to 6,372 crashes each year. Fatalities could be reduced by 115, and injuries by 1,342.
- Installing automatic emergency braking could prevent up to 5,294 crashes, 55 deaths, and 2,753 injuries every year.
- Use of air disc brakes could prevent as many as 2,411 crashes, 37 fatalities, and 1,447 injuries.
The executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said the new research leaves no question as to the benefits of truck safety technology. The AAA researchers aim to raise the comfort level of the average motorist sharing the road with large tractor trailers by making them aware of these safety advances in the trucking industry.
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