Federal regulators have a great deal of power when it comes to advancing the cause of safety in the trucking industry. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—the agency responsible for overseeing highway safety—already has a number of regulations on the books with which truckers and trucking companies are required to be in compliance.
Some examples of these safety regulations include routine maintenance and safety inspection requirements, drug and alcohol testing of drivers, and hours of service requirements. To this list of requirements, safety advocates are now urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require crash-avoidance technology.
Crash-avoidance or anti-collision technology is already included in many of the newer models of consumer vehicles. A common example of this technology is automatic braking, which is what lobbyist would like to see required for all busses and trucks which meet or exceed 10,000 pounds.
At present, reportedly only 3 percent of tractor-trailers feature some form of forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking, abbreviated as F-CAM. Companies that do equip some trucks with this technology do so voluntarily, since it isn’t required, at least not yet.
It remains to be seen whether the NHTSA will take the recommendation seriously enough to propose a new rule. If so, trucking companies will have another regulation they are accountable for, and motorists who are harmed by trucking companies which fail to equip their trucks with the safety technology will be able to seek compensation for such negligence. We will be sure to keep readers updated of any developments on this issue, so check back!
Source: Fleet Owner, “Safety groups want NHTSA to mandate anti-collision systems,” Feb. 20, 2015