Despite years of successful use by leading motor carriers and numerous studies concluding AEB improves safety, this technology is not required for all commercial motor vehicles. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ((IIJA), Pub L. 117-58) will only require AEB on all newly manufactured Class 7/8 by November of 2023. Based on new truck sales data, limiting the installation of AEB to Class 7/8 trucks will potentially exclude over half a million Class 3-6 trucks every year.
The Truck Safety Coalition has long been NHTSA to set performance standards for this life-saving technology, having our petitioning granted by the agency back in February 2015. The Class 7/8 requirement is a step forward that is long overdue, with thousands of lives lost to unnecessary delay, but more steps are necessary. A requirement on ALL COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES is desperately needed to take full advantage of this proven technology’s ability to prevent crashes from occurring and drastically reduce the severity of those that do. NHTSA has previously found that AEB systems have an incremental cost to the end-user of $70.80-$316.18.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) technology is a proven highway safety system that saves lives and prevents injuries by applying the brakes if the driver does not respond sufficiently to audio and/or visual warnings. It has been successfully used by leading U.S. trucking companies and there is ample data and research to support its required use. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended repeatedly, including most recently in its 2021-2022 “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements”, that AEB and other crash avoidance technologies should be standard equipment on all cars and all trucks.
The NTSB makes this recommendation for good reason: it will reduce the incidence of crashes, their severity, and save lives. Single-unit trucks (a majority of which are likely Class 3-6) injure upwards of 72,000 people a year, and 27 percent of all fatalities in large truck crashes involved a Class 3-6 truck in 2019. Class 3-6 trucks travel on local streets and through neighborhoods every day making millions of deliveries, picking up garbage, and delivering supplies to retail stores and other businesses. Data shows that each day on average, the U.S.P.S. delivers 430 million pieces of mail, and UPS and FedEx deliver 43 million packages. Equipping these trucks with AEB will make neighborhood streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older adults, people in wheelchairs and other vulnerable road users.
Links to More Information on Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) in Large Trucks:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Research on Effectiveness of AEB
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
Commercial Carrier Journal