Sep 7, 2023

Trucking Industry Backs Proposal for Automated Emergency Braking Systems

The trucking industry is one of the most vital components of our economy, responsible for transporting goods across the country and beyond. With this responsibility comes a great deal of risk, as accidents involving light trucks, commercial trucks, and commercial vehicles can be catastrophic.

As a result, the industry has been working tirelessly to improve safety measures, leading them to back the proposal for automated emergency braking systems.

These systems have been developed to prevent accidents by utilizing advanced technology, such as radar and cameras, to detect potential collisions and apply the brakes automatically.

The proposal, which has been supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, would require all new commercial trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds to be equipped with these systems.

The trucking industry is fully behind this proposal, seeing the potential to reduce accidents and save lives.

In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of automated emergency braking systems for the trucking industry. We will also read some opinions from different light vehicles and heavy vehicle experts regarding this sensor technology preventing rear-end crashes or rear-end collisions.

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Why Sudden Stops Can Be Dangerous

Various organizations advocating for heavy trucks have shown their support for a new proposal to mandate automatic emergency braking (AEB) technologies on heavy trucks.

However, some individual truck drivers and select organizations have raised concerns about the potential hazards of sudden AEB stops while driving at high speeds of 50 to 60 mph.

Many of these dissenters have provided detailed and thorough responses, indicating their serious consideration of the extensive 288-page proposed rule, which is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The collaborative efforts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have resulted in a new rule that requires Class 7 and Class 8 fleets and owners to adhere to the stipulations of the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) technology within a three-year period from the final rule's release.

Meanwhile, vocational and select truck categories exceeding 10,000 pounds will have a four-year timeline to comply with this mandate. This measure aims to enhance the safety of commercial trucks and reduce the incidence of accidents on the road.

However, there is significant opposition to the inclusion of AEB technologies for Classes 3-6 trucks, as many commenters believe that this proposal is not yet ready for widespread implementation.

Automatic braking features should be based on vehicle weight ratings.

The Approval of the AEB Rule

Despite some reservations, the American Trucking Associations have largely voiced their approval of the AEB rule in written comments. However, they have stressed the importance of ensuring the technology is user-friendly and thoroughly tested.

These comprise new systems on trucks in consideration of the highway vehicles.

They have also urged caution to the NHTSA and FMCSA, highlighting the need to address any concerns raised by drivers regarding false activations, performance in adverse weather conditions, and potential unintended consequences.

Ultimately, the trucking industry remains committed to enhancing safety measures on the roads, and trusts that these concerns will be addressed through rigorous testing and ongoing collaboration between regulators and industry professionals.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) acknowledges the significant role that Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) technology plays in saving lives, as evidenced by its successful implementation by several ATA members.

However, it is important to note that AEB is designed to reduce the severity of crashes but not entirely prevent them. Basically, as safety advocates to serve as collision warning to avoid further property damages.

Additionally, driver trust remains a significant obstacle in fully realizing the potential of not only AEB but also other Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. So, are there unreasonable risk by using it?

The American Trucking Association's (ATA) Opinion

The American Trucking Association (ATA) emphasizes the importance of having a skilled and alert driver behind the wheel of a truck for the utmost safety and advocates for technology that enhances, rather than undermines, a driver's trust.

Passenger cars will always be around and it is better to focus on the operational capability requirements of each driver.

The ATA notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may not fully comprehend the challenges of implementing automatic emergency braking (AEB) across various vehicle configurations and secondary manufacturers.

ATA cites the potential for AEB to interfere with radar sensors in certain vehicle configurations, which could compromise the efficacy of the technology due to unwarranted activations. There should be a malfunction detection requirement implemented too especially from the final-stage manufacturer side..

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Truckload Carrier's Association's (TCA) Opinion

The Truckload Carriers Association has expressed its support for the implementation of AEBs on their equipment but has also highlighted the importance of allowing for a natural evolution of this technology rather than imposing strict and potentially unachievable time-based deadlines.

They commend the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for their ongoing efforts to investigate the root causes of failures and strive towards a future of zero accidents. Vehicle operation, whether autonomous vehicles or not, should be subject to electronic stability control system review.

Truck and Engine Manufacturer's Association Opinion

According to the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, the proposal poses several intricate issues and technical obstacles. While Electronic Stability Control and AEB are effective safety technologies for truck tractors, they may result in inadvertent safety hazards if they are too reactive or activated unnecessarily. Therefore, a meticulous approach to the proposed standards is essential to guarantee that the intended advantages of these technologies are achieved during operation.

The American Truck Dealers' Opinion

According to a statement released by the American Truck Dealers division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, the organization is of the view that mandating Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) can play a significant role in mitigating collisions involving commercial motor vehicles and enhancing road safety in the United States. The association has expressed a general endorsement of the proposal put forth by the relevant agencies. Nonetheless, the group has also highlighted its concerns regarding specific technical aspects, lead time, and associated costs that may have a direct impact on its members and their clientele.


The Daimler Truck North America's Opinion

Daimler Truck North America has expressed their support for the proposed rule, however, they have highlighted the need for further research to be conducted in regards to vocational vehicles. They believe that the background research for truck tractors could serve as a foundation for future development, but caution against assuming that a single approach will be effective for all heavy-duty vehicles without the appropriate research. It should be noted that some stakeholders do not share the same level of support for the proposed rule.

The National Association of Small Trucking Companies Opinion

The National Association of Small Trucking Companies has reported that their member companies have experienced concerns with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems. These systems have been found to potentially endanger the lives and safety of both truck drivers and those in nearby vehicles. The sudden application of brakes by AEBs has been known to catch truck drivers off guard and cause unexpected stoppages.

The aforementioned concept was fortified by a plethora of statements from independent truck operators. As an example, presented below is a testimony from one such driver:

Laura Lindsay, a resident of Goodson, Missouri, recently experienced a distressing incident while driving on the I-70 highway near Denver. As she was transporting a load of milk in her truck, a sudden shadow caused her to slam on the brakes and come to a complete stop. Unfortunately, this caused a chain reaction that led to multiple cars behind her swerving to the shoulder of the road to avoid a collision with her trailer, resulting in a massive pileup. The consequences of this unfortunate event were significant, as a considerable amount of milk was lost and several vehicles were damaged. It serves as a reminder of the importance of remaining vigilant while driving and staying alert to unexpected situations that may arise on the road.

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