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Should collision warning systems be fast tracked for large trucks?

The writing is clearly on the wall, apparent for all to see.

More accurately, its bottom line is prevalent in a study recently released by the research organization Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Here’s the key takeaway in IIHS findings regarding the employment of select electronic safety features in large commercial trucks: They do what they’re supposed to do, and quite impressively. The nation’s motoring public would be well served by their expedited implementation in trucking fleets across the country.

The focus on crash avoidance concerning outsized conveyances like tractor trailers and varied semi configurations is both obvious and dire, given linked accident/injury statistics. And that is especially true when the nation’s largest trucks collide with smaller passenger vehicles from behind.

“Rear-end crashes with trucks happen a lot, often with horrible consequences,” says Eric Teoh, a research principal with the IIHS. Implementing on-board features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking “is an important countermeasure to that.”

Teoh’s conclusion rests upon solid empirical evidence. The IIHS study he authored examined crash statistics at scores of trucking companies, comparing outcomes for accidents involving trucks having the cited safeguards and those with no protective features at all.

The findings were starkly notably.

To wit: Automatic braking systems reduced rear-end collisions by 41%. And trucks with forward crash warning technology cut rear crashes by 44%.

Those conclusions have understandably drawn close attention from federal regulators. Officials from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration say that they will scrutinize the IIHS study findings.

There is presently no mandate in the U.S. for the implementation of either automatic braking or collision warning systems in commercial trucks.

The institute’s research conclusions could change that.