Could Automatic Emergency Braking Be the Next Standard Feature in Trucks?
Save for a few custom gadgets and modifications, most truck drivers hit the road in rigs that are fairly standard when compared to others. Some companies have swapped out their manual transmissions for automatics in order to get better handling. Others have opted for lighter tires to improve fuel economy. However, most trucks remain relatively similar. But a new feature could become standard in all trucks in order to improve the safety of drivers and the motorists they share the road with. Automatic emergency braking (AEB) has been tested by the University of Michigan, and results indicate that this feature could decrease truck fatalities by nearly 50%.
Anthony Fox, US Transportation Secretary said: “It’s an exciting time for vehicle safety. By proactively making emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent thousands of crashes and save lives. It’s a win for safety and a win for consumers.” Though developed initially for standard vehicles, the feature could be handy for truckers who often suffer from fatigue and other issues on the road that result in late-braking. Given that an accident involving a truck can do much more damage than smaller vehicles, AEB could become the next standard feature on commercial trucks in the near future.
Drivers in vehicles equipped with this system are alerted if the area ahead of them contains potential hazards. While they may slow down or stop in order to avoid these hazards, the automatic brakes will initiate if drivers fail to adequately adjust for the oncoming hazard. Given that truck drivers are always looking for ways to improve their safety on the road, companies may begin to implement this feature in rigs to minimize the chance of crashes and reduce liability. According to the NHTSA, the feature will be standard in many vehicles by 2022.
Though the changes may be costly initially, the option to reduce the number of accidents can actually benefit trucking companies in the long run. Given that regulatory measures are designed to prevent accidents, a simple feature like this could free trucking companies from a number of burdensome laws. Technological innovations like this help to remove the need for a larger amount of regulatory oversight by compensating for the possibility of human error. Even the most seasoned driver can slip up at the wheel, and AEB systems can be a lifesaver in these situations.