Sometimes it’s called a collision mitigating system, or a collision avoidance system, a pre-crash system or a forward collision warning system.
Regardless of the name or the technology, whether it uses radar or lasers or cameras to detect a potential imminent crash, the goal is the same – safer roads. And when it comes to commercial trucks, these warning systems provide audible, visual or tactile alerts to warn of an impending collision.
Emerging safety features
Many trucking fleets have been slowly inching toward installing emergency braking systems. Ninety-nine percent of cars in the U.S. will have the new technology by 2022.
“The focus has shifted,’’ wrote Ronald Montoya of the Associated Press, “from reducing death and injury in a vehicle collision to preventing a crash from happing in the first place.’’
A study last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found collision migration systems cut the number of accidents and injury-related crashes by 21 percent.
“These systems are saving lives,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research, who studied more than 5,000 accidents. “The numbers show warning systems work.”
But, according to Consumer Reports only about 15 percent of large commercial truck fleets were fitted with collision-mitigation systems.
How big-rig technology works
Writer Ron Kremer did some investigating for the National Safety Council (NSC) on the future of big rigs. He went to Joliet, Illinois to be a passenger in a semi driven by Fred Andersky, a spokesman for the trucking industry.
“We reach modest speeds of between 30 and 35 mph as we pull up on a slow-moving pickup from behind,” he wrote. “At that point the alarm sounds inside the cab. As we draw even closer, the alarm sound gets louder, and I gain a greater appreciation for why these multi-faceted systems are referred to as driver assistance technologies, not driver replacement technologies.’’
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, video-based monitoring systems in trucks can prevent as many as 63,000 crashes annually.
“(Fleet owners) are in a business with pretty thin margins, so the technology has to deliver,” Andersky said. “And we’re seeing that more with these collision mitigation technologies, even more so than when (electronic) stability came out.”
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