FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 3, 2020
CONTACT: Pete Daniels, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, on New Research Demonstrating Proven Benefits of Crash Avoidance Technology
When Installed in Large Trucks, these Systems Prevent and Mitigate Crashes, Save Lives & Reduce Injuries
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) today released new data showing significantly lower crash rates occurred for large trucks equipped with forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) technology. These remarkable results bolster Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety’s (Advocates) long-standing call to require this technology in all new commercial motor vehicles to reduce the needlessly high toll of fatalities and injuries associated with large truck crashes.
The benefits of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as FCW and AEB, in passenger vehicles are well documented. The IIHS study adds weight to prior research on the lifesaving potential of such systems in large trucks. The research, which looked at some 2,000 crashes between 2017-2019 found that FCW and AEB reduced rear-end crashes by 44 and 41 percent respectively. Trucks equipped with FCW had 22 percent fewer crashes and trucks with AEB had 12 percent fewer crashes than those without either of these vital safeguards. IIHS also found that these features can reduce speed at the moment of impact by more than half, which in turn reduces the severity of crashes and would improve survivability. The protections offered by these systems would mitigate a myriad of crash causations including speed, distraction, impairment and fatigue. Recognizing the great promise of this technology, our Nation’s preeminent crash investigators, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), have included universal adoption of ADAS in all new vehicles on every recent iteration of the agency’s Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.
This timely IIHS study comes as deaths from crashes involving large trucks continue to skyrocket. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is again projecting an increase in fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck in 2019. If this estimate holds, it would be the fifth yearly increase of such deaths in a row. The latest available final data shows that nearly 5,000 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2018 alone — the highest since 2007. On average, nearly 100 people are killed and over 2,800 more are injured every week. When a large truck collides with a passenger vehicle, fatalities almost always involve the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Injuries have also increased since 2009, reaching an estimated 151,000 in 2018. Moreover, costs associated with crashes involving commercial motor vehicles totaled $135 billion in 2017, the latest year for which such data is available. These grim figures attest to the urgent need for effective countermeasures, including crash avoidance technologies, to protect truck drivers and all other road users from the dangers associated with large truck crashes.
The new IIHS research also bolsters the case for swift enactment of legislation to require vehicle safety technology. Advocates commends Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) for introducing the Protecting Roadside First Responders Act (S. 2700 / H.R. 4871), which requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish minimum performance standards for FCW and AEB, and require these and other crash avoidance technologies in all new vehicles two model years after a final rule is issued. Similarly, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Chuy Garcia (D-IL), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) have demonstrated leadership on this issue by introducing the Safe Roads Act (H.R. 3773), which requires AEB in all new commercial motor vehicles subject to a safety standard. Lastly, Advocates lauds Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for many ground-breaking safety advances, including a requirement for AEB on new trucks over 10,000 lbs., school buses and passenger motor vehicles, in the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 1.
Thanks to the notable research of IIHS, there is no question that the technological solutions proven to mitigate the devastating impact of large truck crashes must be prioritized. This compelling evidence must propel a requirement for these systems in all new trucks to eradicate longstanding, preventable dangers on our roads.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.