Photo: Evan Lockridge

Photo: Evan Lockridge

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, also known as the Trucking Alliance, has released an addendum to a statement it issued on Nov. 1 that endorses a new study on truck safety conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study. 

That study, “Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains,” cited four advanced safety technologies that AAA found can greatly reduce injuries and fatalities in large truck crashes: 

In the new statement, the Trucking Alliance said it is “asking affiliating carriers to support the deployment of Advanced Safety Technologies (ASTs) in newly purchased trucks that are appropriate for improving their operations. However, the ASTs are not limited to the four technologies in the AAA Foundation, as some news outlets have reported.” 

The Trucking Alliance then stated that there is “a wide variety of ASTs available or under development for large trucks," including but not limited to the following: 

  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Automatic Emergency Braking Systems*
  • Lane Departure Warning Systems*
  • “Blind Spot” Warning Systems
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Roll Stability Control
  • Speed Limiters
  • Video-based Onboard Safety Monitoring systems*
  • Kinematic-based Onboard Safety Monitoring Systems
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication
  • Electronic Logging devices
  • Air Disc Brakes (ADBs)*
  • Brake Stroke Monitoring Systems

*Recommended in the ATA Foundation for Traffic Safety Report

“It should be further clarified that Trucking Alliance carriers do not currently have all of these technologies installed on the approximately 71,000 trucks they are operating on the nation’s highways,” the group stated, adding that many of these technologies are still being tested under various pilot projects. 

The Trucking Alliance pointed out that some ASTs, such as roll stability control systems, have been in operation by fleets for a decade. “Most carriers are utilizing roll stability control systems. Other technologies, such as video and kinematic-based onboard safety monitoring systems and ‘Blind Spot’ mirror replacement systems cited in the list above, are newer technologies that carriers are testing in the field.” 

Air disc brakes are another example and are cited in the AAA Foundation report as a newer technology. As the AAA Foundation report noted, air disc brakes “may show promise in reducing crashes and their associated injuries and fatalities.” However, earlier versions of air disc brakes had a “number of design shortcomings,” according to the  report. 

The Trucking Alliance also observed that the AAA Foundation report acknowledges that it is “possible the efficacy rates used in this study may not represent the current functionality/effectiveness of the current generation of air disc brakes, specifically, relative to current generation drum brakes that meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2013 brake performance rule.” 

Still, as the Trucking Alliance sees it, “while there are limitations in the study, the overall benefits of installing air disc brakes appear to show that a significant number of large truck crashes can be avoided if disc brakes become more commonplace throughout the industry.” 

The Trucking Alliance added that “for these reasons, it endorses ASTs and its carriers will continue to pursue the testing and deployment of these ASTs, as they are more fully developed, tested, and the safety benefits are confirmed through these field tests.”


About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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