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Will Mandating Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Reduce Truck Crashes?

Owing to the fact that large trucks were the result of 4,119 deaths from accidents in 2019, it’s no surprise that experts are weighing in on the necessity of advanced safety technology in commercial vehicles. Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles often weigh up to 30 times more than passenger vehicles. Their weight, combined with the fact that they have large blind spots, tend towards careless lane changes, and require long stopping distances, makes large tractor-trailer vehicles the ideal candidate for Automatic Emergency Braking Systems (AEB).

Due to the high number of accidents and deaths that result from rear-end truck crashes, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that heavy vehicles will be required to have Automatic Emergency Braking Systems installed. While there is some hesitancy from individuals that worry about the effectiveness of such new technology, studies have shown that having crash prevention systems in place does work.

New Studies Show that AEB Systems Will Reduce Large Truck Accidents

According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, researchers found that commercial vehicles with AEB and forward collision warning installed were less likely to cause rear-end collisions. The study involved 62 large commercial vehicles weighing at least 33,000 pounds and found that of those equipped with forward collision warning, 22 percent had fewer crashes, and those with AEB had 12 percent fewer. Rear-end crashes specifically were reduced by 41 percent in trucks with AEB Systems.

While the technology is new and not guaranteed to prevent every single crash, it’s evident that having these systems installed is more beneficial than not. The study further showed that even when AEB and forward collision warning didn’t stop crashes entirely, the impact results were much less severe. This is because researchers found that when trucks rear-ended other vehicles, the advanced safety systems reduced the speed by more than 50 percent between the occurrence of the automatic braking or the warning and the moment of impact.

Automatic Braking Systems: What They Are and How They Work

Automatic Braking Systems are a type of driver-assisted technology that is designed to prevent the occurrence of rear-end collisions. While some of these safety technologies are simply designed to warn you of an impending crash, like forward collision warning, other systems like AEB take action to intervene when a crash is imminent.

The system works by using sensors such as cameras or radar to detect when a truck is getting too close to the vehicle ahead of them. The advanced computer system then determines the likelihood of a collision based on the speed of the two vehicles and the distance between them. If the computer determines that impact is imminent it will automatically apply the truck’s braking system to avoid a collision.

How Crash Avoidance Systems Can Benefit Large Commercial Vehicles

Driver-assisted technology systems have been shown to reduce the number of accidents in all vehicles, both passenger and commercial. However, AEB systems are particularly beneficial to large semi-trucks and tractor-trailers due to their size and weight which increases their chances of causing an accident. Some of the most common reasons larger trucks have accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Careless lane changes
  • Blind spots
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to stop at yellow lights
  • Fatigue

Because of their larger size and weight, commercial vehicles require larger stopping distances than passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, truck drivers themselves do not always keep this in mind. When truck drivers specifically are guilty of the above, it is more likely that their reckless driving will result in a fatal accident.

Passenger drivers as well that don’t consider the extra effort required to manage a larger truck can also be the cause of an accident. Merging in front of a semi-truck for example, without giving them much space to break if needed is not a wise move. However, when equipped with AEB, no matter the situation, the chances of a severe and fatal accident occurring are significantly reduced.

Potential Risks of Using AEB Systems in Semi-Trucks

As mentioned above, technology is not perfect and Automatic Braking Systems are not guaranteed to prevent all accidents from occurring. There are many factors that can come into play, and while these advanced computer systems are generally pretty accurate, there are still some situations in which they can miscalculate. These are some of the fears both truck and passenger drivers have where AEB is concerned.

They worry that it will malfunction and cause the brakes to lock up when they aren’t supposed to, or fail to break with enough time to avoid impact. Some individuals have concerns over what the reliance on these systems will mean for drivers. The fear is that truck drivers who already drive recklessly will pay even less attention if they assume their advanced safety systems will kick in and do all of the work for them.

While these are all potentially valid concerns, they are variables that experts have considered. And while the technology might not always work exactly as it’s supposed to, the numbers and studies have shown that it works more often than not and has effectively proven to reduce the number of commercial vehicle accidents.

Our Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help

At Crossen Law Firm, we understand the physical and emotional damages that can impact your life after an accident, especially one involving large commercial vehicles. Not only are these types of accidents traumatizing but they can be difficult and expensive to navigate as well. For over 20 years, our team has worked tirelessly to help victims of car accidents receive the compensation that they deserve.

If you or a loved one has been in an accident, contact us on our website or call us today for a free consultation! (317) 401-8626