Automatic Emergency Brakes Could Prevent Serious Big Rig Crashes

18 wheeler truck on the road

Large semi-trucks are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. When an accident involves a large truck, which may weigh up to 15 times more than a passenger vehicle, the likelihood of serious injury and death resulting skyrockets.

Despite this danger, many large semi-trucks lack common safety technologies proven to reduce accidents, including automatic emergency braking (AEB) as well as forward-collision warning (FCW).

Both of these technologies play a key role in helping reduce the risk of accidents in which a truck rear-ends another motor vehicle. A recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that installing AEB and/or FCW on large semi-trucks (over 33,000 pounds) could prevent over 40 percent of accidents in which a large truck strikes another vehicle from behind. In 2018, at least 119 people died in such accidents in the U.S., and many more were injured.

What the Statistics Show 

The study conducted by the IIHS found that trucks that had FCW were involved in 22 percent fewer crashes overall, and those with AEB experienced 12 percent fewer crashes. In passenger vehicles with these safety features, the IIHS found a 43 percent drop in front-to-rear accidents.

Despite this demonstrated reduction in accident risk, the IIHS estimates that AEB and/or FCW are installed on about only half of the new commercial semi-trucks. About 66 percent of new passenger vehicles come equipped with these safety features. Semi-trucks have a lower level of AEB/FCW equipment, even though their large size and weight make them much more dangerous than passenger vehicles.

Not only do AEB and FCW prevent accidents, but they can also help make accidents less severe when they do happen, since these safety features are designed to slow down the vehicle before it impacts another vehicle or surface. In fact, in a study of AEB and FCW in passenger vehicles, the IIHS found that these safety features resulted in a 65% drop in injuries in crashes that did occur.

What the Study Reinforces

The IIHS study shows that with the widespread implementation of AEB and FCW safety technology, countless lives could be saved, and even more injuries avoided. According to Oriene Shin, policy counsel for Consumer Reports, “Congress should take action now by requiring AEB on all new vehicles, including large trucks, and directing NHTSA to create strong performance standards for the technology.”

In the past, the trucking industry had been opposed to government mandates for trucks to be equipped with AEB, but the American Trucking Association says that they are working with officials, fleet managers, and individual owners to encourage safety feature implementation and to determine if mandates should be implemented.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a large truck, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, today by calling (915) 613-5076. Our community-focused law firm has been in business since 1987, and with 30-plus years of combined legal experience, we are ready to do everything possible to assist you with your case.

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Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 1983 with a bachelor of business administration, majoring in accounting. He received his juris doctorate degree from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio. Michael has successfully handled countless cases of medical malpracticeproduct liabilitypersonal injury, and nursing home negligence. He enjoys helping people “get their lives back in order” by providing high-quality legal representation and compassionate customer service.