Every day, semi-trucks drive through Ocala down I-75, taking their cargo down to Orlando or some other tourist destination. Florida drivers understand the necessity of these huge commercial vehicles, but also their danger. Thankfully, new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals promising trends alongside new technology.
The IIHS has studied traffic collisions and safety tech for over 50 years. The organization’s research has informed federal regulations mandating seat belts and other safety technology. Now, the organization has set its sights on improving safety in the commercial trucking industry.
New research on blossoming tech
Headed by the IIHS’ director of statistical study, Eric Teoh, the IIHS researchers focused on how two specific safety systems might improve commercial truck crash rates and severity. Examining data from over 2,000 truck crashes from 62 different trucking companies, researchers found that trucks equipped with forward collision warning and emergency braking systems avoid 40% of crashes where the semi rear-ended another vehicle. Additionally, when these crashes did occur, the systems reduced speeds by 50%, reducing property damage and injury significantly.
The IIHS study also found that trucks with forward collision warning experienced 22% fewer crashes and 12% for trucks with automatic braking. Armed with this new data, the organization recommends that the federal government require these systems on all new commercial trucks. Over 4,000 people lost their lives in accidents with big trucks in 2018; the IIHS looks to reduce that number.
Trucking organizations push back against new regulations
Should the federal government require these systems on all commercial trucks, the bill would fall to fleet operators and independent operators. Before investing, many professionals hope to see a corroborating study. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association claims the study overlooked key factors like driver experience and safety record. The American Automobile Association (AAA) claims that the tech does not work with enough consistency to mandate its inclusion. Both parties demand more research before changing the laws.
Legal protections for crash victims
Most Florida drivers would love to know that these monstrous vehicles have high safety standards, but residents may have to wait. Drivers can help keep themselves and their passengers safe by giving large trucks lots of room and making sure the drivers can see your car. If you or a loved one suffered injury in an accident with a commercial vehicle, make sure to contact a local attorney familiar with Florida’s vehicle crash law to secure the coverage you deserve.