The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, also known as the Trucking Alliance, has adopted four truck safety technologies as a requirement for membership that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concludes are critical to reducing large truck crashes and saving lives.
A new AAA Foundation report, Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains, examined the costs and safety benefits of installing four advanced safety technologies in large trucks:
1) Lane Departure Warning Systems, which detect when the vehicle drifts out of its lane and warn the driver;
2) Video-based Onboard Safety Monitoring, which utilizes in-vehicle video cameras and sensors;
3) Automatic Emergency Braking Systems, which detect when the truck is in danger of striking the vehicle in front of it and brake automatically if needed; and
4) Air Disc Brakes, which are superior to traditional drum brakes.
While the AAA Foundation’s report acknowledges that “many large commercial fleets have begun equipping trucks with these advanced safety technologies,” the Trucking Alliance is the first U.S. carrier-based organization to adopt these technologies as conditions for membership.
“These technologies can make the highways safer for our drivers and the public and why the Trucking Alliance carriers are installing them on new trucks,” said Steve Williams, president of the Trucking Alliance and Chairman/CEO of Maverick USA in Little Rock, Arkansas. “The AAA Foundation report shows how these automated technologies can help commercial drivers and motorists avoid accidents and return home safely to their families.”
The AAA Foundation report found that by installing automatic braking systems and air disc brakes on all new trucks, 7,705 accidents, 92 deaths and 4,200 injuries could be avoided. The report also projected that if onboard cameras and lane departure warning systems were installed on all new and existing commercial trucks, another 69,372 large truck accidents could be avoided, saving 408 lives and 24,105 injuries.
“AAA applauds the Trucking Alliance for taking such an important step toward improving safety on US roads,” said Marshall Doney, president and CEO of AAA. “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.”
The AAA Foundation noted that large trucks with 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 more than 400,000 crashes, which resulted in 116,000 injuries and 4,067 deaths. Advances in technologies like those cited in its report can “provide the opportunity to prevent substantial numbers of these crashes, injuries, and deaths.”
“The trucking industry can’t be satisfied, until we dramatically reduce the number of injuries and loss of life from large truck crashes,” said Williams. “We must ensure that truck drivers are well trained, well rested, drug and alcohol-free, and operating trucks with the latest technologies.”
“There’s no question that truck safety technology saves lives,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in a statement related to the study. “This new research shows that the benefits of adding many of these technologies to trucks clearly outweigh the cost.”
Trucking Alliance carriers have adopted standards for membership to improve the safety of drivers and reduce accidents. The standards exceed federal requirements to operate as a motor carrier. The Trucking Alliance membership standards are:
Electronic Logging Devices – Install certified ELDs or have Automatic On-Board Recording Devices in all interstate trucks, to verify hour-of-service compliance. (Effective December 18, 2017, the federal government will require all carriers to have AOBRDs or install ELDs in interstate commercial trucks)
2. Truck Speed Limiters – Utilize truck speed limiters, set at a maximum speed of no greater than 65 mph.
3. Hair Testing – Transition to hair testing to identify lifestyle drug users and opioid addicts, since hair tests are more reliable than the current federal pre-employment drug testing protocol for commercial drivers.
4. Public Liability Insurance – Maintain liability insurance coverage that is significantly higher than the minimum federal requirement, to sufficiently cover the costs associated with injuries, fatalities and loss of property in large truck accidents, as Congress directed 37 years ago.
5. Truck Safety Technologies – Install collision mitigation systems in all newly purchased Class 8 trucks, including 1) Lane Departure Warning Systems, 2) Onboard Video Monitoring, 3) Automatic Emergency Braking, and 4) Air Disc Brakes.
6. Driver Hiring and Training Programs – Utilize extensive pre-employment screening processes and conduct on-going driver training, which is not required by current federal regulation.