Safety Groups Petition for New NHTSA Rules to Help Reduce Denver Crashes
The Truck Safety Coalition, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Center for Auto Safety, and Road Safe America recently submitted a joint petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The petition requested that the NHTSA begin the rule-making process in order to establish a new safety regulation that would require the installation of an F-CAM system in all trucks and buses that weigh 10,000 pounds or more. F-CAM stands for forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems.
The purpose of the F-CAM system is to help prevent collisions throughout Denver, Greenwood Village and Steamboat Springs Colorado that occur when a vehicle strikes an object in its path. A truck accident lawyer knows that such a system could help to prevent some collisions, but that ultimately technological innovations can be imperfect. Responsibility for preventing crashes always lies with drivers, regardless of what advanced technologies are installed in vehicles.
Even if the NHTSA does move forward with a new rule, the process will be slow and it will be a long time before F-CAM systems are standard. While it may be advisable for the NHTSA to at least start the process, drivers need to continue to be vigilant for obstacles in the path of their trucks, both now and in the future.
Safety Advocates Urge F-CAM Requirements to Reduce Collisions
F-CAM technologies work by using sensors and radars to detect when an obstacle is in the path of an oncoming truck. The systems can brake when the truck gets too close, but they first warn the driver of the impending crash before braking automatically. This gives the truck driver an opportunity to hit the brakes. The systems not only detect a fixed obstacle in the path of the truck, but can also identify when something is traveling more slowly in front of the truck and is likely to be hit if the driver does not change course.
The four safety advocacy groups believe that the NHTSA should mandate the use of these F-CAM systems because too few trucks currently have the systems installed, even though effective technology is already available. Only around three percent of all Class 8 standard tractor-trailers on the road today have some type of F-CAM technology. Since the NHTSA’s own estimates suggest that current generation F-CAMs could help avoid around 2,500 collisions every year, this is far too few trucks on the road with the systems installed.
Safety advocates also believe that if the NHTSA institutes a rule mandating the use of an F-Cam system, it will help spur advancements in the technology. Subsequent generation systems could stop around 6,300 crashes according to the NHTSA’s estimates. If every truck must have an F-CAM system, more research and testing will occur to move forward into a next-generation system that is even more effective.
Although safety advocates have good points and the NHTSA should consider acting, the government moves slowly and it could be months or years before such advances are implemented. In the meantime, drivers should continue to stay vigilant and work hard to avoid causing a crash because they aren’t paying attention or are going too quickly to stop before striking the vehicle in front of theirs.
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