Foundation Cheers Adoption of Technology to Curb Large Truck Crashes

Steps could curtail big-rig accidents that kill an estimated 500 Americans each year.

With the U.S. freight industry carrying record hauls, much of it by large trucks riding on U.S. highways, the AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety is applauding the Trucking Alliance for adopting four technologies that it says would reduce large truck crashes that kill and injure thousands of Americans each year.

“AAA applauds the Trucking Alliance for taking such an important step toward improving safety on U.S. roads,” said Marshall Doney, president and CEO of AAA, in a statement. “Adding key safety technologies to fleets is critical if we are to reverse the growing rate of crash deaths on our roadways and we are glad to see the Trucking Alliance is making such a strong commitment to safety.”

In a statement earlier this month, the Alliance for Driver Safety and Security, also known as the Trucking Alliance, urged “affiliating carriers to support the deployment of Advanced Safety Technologies (ASTs) in their newly purchased trucks.”

In making the move, the alliance endorsed recent findings by the AAA Foundation, which looked at braking systems designed to shorten a truck’s stopping distance, systems that warn the driver if the truck begins to drift out of its lane, and systems that can detect when a crash is imminent and automatically apply the brakes if the driver fails to do so.

In its report, the AAA Foundation acknowledged that many large commercial fleets have begun equipping trucks with advanced safety technologies, but adds that the Trucking Alliance is the first U.S. carrier-based organization to adopt these technologies as conditions for membership.

The recent report by the AAA Foundation estimated that the installation of automatic braking systems and air disc brakes in all new trucks could help avoid 7,705 accidents, 92 deaths, and 4,200 injuries each year. It also projected that the installation of onboard cameras and lane departure warning systems in all new and existing commercial trucks would help prevent 69,372 large truck accidents that kill 408 people and injure 24,105 others annually.

Large trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds drove approximately 280 billion miles on U.S. roads in 2015 and were involved in a total of over 400,000 crashes, which resulted in 116,000 injuries and 4,067 deaths, the Foundation said in its report.