The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported that approximately 60,000 rear-end crashes involved heavy trucks or buses colliding with vehicles annually. In contrast, the number of deaths reduced slightly during the previous year.
In spite of that “promising news,” the stats reveal a national crisis.
New mandates for auto manufacturers
After countless accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced mandates for heavy trucks and businesses to have automatic emergency braking (AEB) equipped within the next five years. Initial predictions cite the prevention of nearly 20,000 crashes annually while saving 155 lives.
A month earlier, the NHTSA implemented similar regulations for all new passenger cars and light trucks that would regulate electronic systems that take on tasks normally afforded to drivers. The decision ended the agency’s reluctance over ever-changing technology that would require continuing rule changes.
AEB systems are composed of forward-facing cameras and sensors to identify imminent collisions and automatically apply the brakes if the operator fails to act. The system is required to work at speeds that range from six to 50 miles per hour.
What will change?
The changes will affect trucks and buses weighing at least 10,000 pounds. Heavier trucks of more than 26,000 pounds are required to install braking systems three years following the finalization of the rule. Smaller vehicles have more time with deadlines set for 2028.
As of December, fifteen automakers incorporated the technology standard on most, if not all, new models. Outlier General Motors announced AEB would be standard on all vehicles by the end of the model year.
The continuing growth of automated safety measures has experienced hits and misses. Increasingly sophisticated safety measures can make a significant difference in saving lives on roads nationwide. However, actual effectiveness comes with drivers not becoming over-reliant on technology.