One of our goals at the Law Offices of Steven C. Laird is to do everything we can to help improve highway safety because we have seen firsthand the devastating impact on families who fall victim to crashes involving tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers and other heavy trucks. That is why we work so hard every year to let people know about the annual International Roadcheck, which was conducted in June.
Our commitment to making the roads safer for everyone also includes staying on top of the latest developments in truck crash safety. We’ve previously discussed the many reasons that semis and other big rigs are involved in so many wrecks, including speeding, improper licensing, inexperience and other factors. Now, there is evidence that a technological breakthrough may well help eliminate many of the crashes involving these mammoth trucks regardless of the circumstances.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported the results of a field study involving crash avoidance systems (CAS), which typically rely on radar, lasers or cameras to help detect potential crashes before they happen. CAS technology warns drivers of an imminent crash so they can take evasive action, or alternatively, it performs evasive maneuvers automatically without driver involvement. Many passenger vehicles already include some form of CAS technology, such as automatic braking to stop collisions before they happen. U.S. auto manufacturers have agreed to include automatic braking systems on all new cars by 2022.
The recent NHTSA field study is based on one year of monitoring 150 CAS-equipped trucks and the 168 drivers who operated them. The results are simply stunning.
The monitored trucks drove more than 3 million miles, logging more than 110,000 hours of driving information. The sampled data from 6,000 instances where crash avoidance systems were activated revealed that not a single wreck was recorded. You heard that right: The CAS-equipped trucks had ZERO crashes over a 12-month period.
What’s more is that the crash avoidance systems included in the monitored trucks were all at least three years old, which is incredible when you consider the advancements in CAS that have emerged in the past year alone.
While experts say a single study cannot predict with 100 percent accuracy how things will play out in the real world, it isn’t much of a leap to say that the NHTSA’s results have confirmed what many safety experts have been saying for years. Let’s all hope federal regulators begin requiring these life-saving devices on every semi in the near future.