Between 2009 and 2012, truck accident fatalities increased about 5% annually. Across the board, accidents involving tractor-trailers continue to increase. This has lead to increases in insurance minimums and safety regulations for trucking companies. It has also led to an increased push to require trucking companies to employ various collision avoidance technologies.
Collision Avoidance Technology In The News
Almost every truck manufacturer offers some type of F-CAM system in new vehicles, but there is no national standard for performance of these systems. And because mostly newer trucks may be outfitted with the technology, that leaves the remaining units on the road without this safety feature.
Only 3% of the more than 3 million standard tractor-trailers (Class 8) on the road today are equipped with some form of this technology.
A statement by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety and Road Safe America
These and other organizations have started to call for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate the use of certain various vehicle Collision Avoidance Systems in the trucking industry. Proponents argue that doing so would significantly reduce trucking accidents and fatalities. Opponents point to the cost of such systems as well as raising concerns as to their reliability.
Types of Crash Avoidance Systems
Crash avoidance technologies come in several different forms currently. The most popular, and the most-advocated for as it relates to trucking, is acronymized F-CAM. This stands for Forward Collision Avoidance and Mitigation.
F-CAM technologies have three components, which working together, are designed to pump the brakes to prevent non-ABS trailer brakes from locking:
Forward collision warning
Creates alarms to alert the driver when he approaches too close to the vehicle in front of it.
Active/Adaptive cruise control
Modulates the throttle as required by traffic just ahead and applies brakes with a collision is likely. This is the most commonly available version of the technology since 2010.
Collision imminent (mitigation) braking.
Automatically apply the brakes to slow the tractor-trailer as it gets even closer to the vehicle in front of it.
F-CAM By The Numbers
- Early testing on F-CAM systems indicate they can reduce rear-end collision fatalities and injuries by approximately 50%. Such a reduction, if seen in the real world, would have an immediate bottom line impact for trucking companies and their insurance rates.
- Truck tonnage is expected to increase by as much as 63% by 2040.
- Only 3% of the more than 3 million standard tractor-trailers (Class 8) on the road today are equipped with some form of this technology.
- Between 2009 and 2012, truck accident fatalities increased about 5% annually.
Current Status Of F-CAM Requirements
For now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not acting on the petitions and continues to conduct further testing into these systems before attempting any change in requirements.
Trucking companies concerned with their safety record, however, may not want to wait.
Watch an example of crash avoidance technology in action, courtesy of Volvo Trucks