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New Commercial Truck Tech Seeks to Increase Safety

Most Brooklyn residents have seen a semi-truck attempting to navigate through Brooklyn’s narrow streets. These commercial trucks usually only terrorize the highways coming in and out of the city but often drag their huge payloads through the neighborhood to complete their deliveries.

Thankfully, these dangerous vehicles may receive a safety upgrade soon. A new study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that two new technologies can drastically reduce the crash rates of commercial vehicles.

The results from the IIHS study

The IIHS has examined U.S. crash data for over 50 years. The federal government has used IIHS research and recommendations to inform traffic safety laws and regulations. The organization’s newest study focused on two safety technologies: forward collision warning and emergency braking.

The IIHS examined crash data from 62 different trucking companies through 2017 and 2019. Data from over 2,000 crashes showed researchers that forward collision warning and emergency braking systems helped prevent 40% of crashes where the semi hits another vehicle from behind. Additionally, the IIHS found that these systems helped trucks reduce their speeds by up to 50%, dramatically reducing the severity of damage and injury in accidents.

Altogether, trucks with the collision warning system had 22% fewer crashes than those without. Trucks with emergency braking avoided 12% of crashes. These numbers, and the potential lives saved, have inspired the IIHS to recommend that the federal government require these two safety systems on all new commercial trucks going forward.

Pushback from the trucking community

Despite the promising numbers, not everyone supports expanded regulations. These safety systems are not cheap and would require a significant investment from fleet operators and independent truckers. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers’ Association (OOIDA) says the study overlooked driver training, individual safety records and experience. The American Automobile Association (AAA) claims that the technologies do not work with enough consistency to mandate their inclusion.

New regulations often take years

Most IIHS recommendations eventually become law, but only after a thorough review of the data and considerable lobbying of lawmakers. With new laws will come new lawsuits, as attorneys and insurance agencies work out liability in personal injury cases. Brooklyn residents injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle can seek damages alongside a lawyer experienced with commercial truck accidents.