AAA Says Truck Safety Tech Could Stop 63,000 Crashes, 293 Deaths Annually

September 21, 2017 by Clarissa Hawes

Installing advanced safety technologies on all large trucks could potentially prevent 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths annually, according to an AAA report released Thursday.

“There’s no question that truck safety technology saves lives,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

New research proves the benefits of “adding many of these technologies to trucks clearly outweigh the costs,” Yang said.

Large trucks with a gross vehicle rating of more than 10,000 pounds were involved in 400,000 crashes, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths and 116,000 injuries in 2015, AAA said. This is a 4 percent increase from 2014. Data for 2016 are not yet available.

The report, “Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains,” performed benefit-cost analyses on four advanced safety technologies and found that all could prevent crashes, injuries and deaths on American highways each year.

Many large motor carriers have already begun equipping their trucks with these advanced safety technologies. But much of it has yet to make its way down to smaller fleets and independent drivers.

There are more than 3.5 million truck drivers on U.S. highways.

The AAA report broke down the number of lives that could potentially be saved using four advanced safety technologies.

The organization found that installing lane-departure warning systems could potentially prevent 6,372 crashes, 1,342 injuries and 115 deaths annually.

Installing video-based onboard safety monitoring systems could prevent 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths each year.

Large trucks equipped with automatic emergency braking systems could possibly save 5,294 crashes, 2,753 injuries and 55 deaths per year.

Air disc brakes on existing and new trucks could potentially prevent 2,411 crashes, 1,447 injuries and 37 deaths annually.

The number of crashes, injuries and fatalities add up to less than the sum of the total prevented for each technology because there is substantial overlap in the collisions addressed by each safety system, AAA said.

The report’s estimates for preventing crashes, injuries and fatalities are based on installing the equipment on all used and new trucks. AAA calculated the economic value of the estimated crash reduction by looking at the cost of medical care, emergency medical services, property damage, lost productivity and the monetized value of pain, suffering and quality-of-life loss. That was offset against trucking industry expenses of hardware installation, purchase, financing, maintenance, replacement of systems, training of drivers and training of managers where applicable. The costs were based on published reports, information from technology vendors and recommendations from the expert advisory panel.

The AAA report included a survey that found that 61 percent of U.S. drivers feel less safe driving around large commercial trucks than passenger cars because of the trucks’ large size and length, blind spots and potential to drift out of their lanes. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said that adding safety technology to large trucks “would help them feel better about sharing the road.”

“Adding these safety technologies to the trucking fleet is not only cost effective, but doing so helps to alleviate driver concerns and prevents crashes,” said Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety, advocacy and research at AAA.

The research was based on best-available studies and recommendations by an expert advisory panel made up of federal government experts and the trucking industry. The report included data on the rates of large truck crashes from 2010 to 2015.

The technologies have already proven useful in preventing light vehicle collisions.

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that lane-departure warning lowers rates of single-vehicle, side-swipe and head-on crashes of all severities by 11 percent and lowers the rates of injury crashes of the same types by 21 percent.

Other IIHS research found that front collision alerts with automatic emergency braking slashes the rate of front-to-rear crashes in light vehicles by half and that rearview cameras can prevent about 1 in 6 backing crashes.

IIHS also is pushing for safety upgrades for trucks.

It wants the industry to install guards that attach to the sides of tractor-trailers to prevent cars from sliding underneath in crashes. These so-called underride crashes were responsible for 301 deaths in 2015, according to the insurance industry trade group. Tractor-trailers are required under federal regulations to have rear underride guards but not side guards.

Read Next: Driving a Truck is Among Deadliest Jobs in the U.S.

11 Responses

  1. tim ho

    I can’t help but wonder if all that crash data was restricted to big rigs identified as “at fault” on crash reports. My last recollection of “news” stories places something like 3/4 of the crashes as 4 wheeler or others ‘at fault’.
    Translation: Putting your lane drifting electronics in action will not provide any warnings to the ‘multi-tasking’ cell phone fool in the next lane – simply scare the heck out of the big rig driver realizing there is no hole to run to (which might result in an ‘at fault’ accident)

    • Robert

      That accident avoidance crap will cause you to be in an accident.Our trucks have it and it will slam on the brakes if a car pulls in front of you and slows down causing your truck brakes to lock up then the fun begins esyif it’s raining or snowing

  2. Carl

    What is going to stop the accidents. When the AAA stops lobbying against the trucking industry and put the blame where it belongs.The motering public teach the dumb asses how to drive around trucks. Iam 47 year veteren driver they think they have all the right of way. They think its ok to jump in front of a truckin stoped traffic and we have no where but over top of them. TEACH THE MORONS NOT TOTAKE ALL OF OUR STOPING DISTANCE AWAY.OH THEN GIVE US THE FINGER ! I never get up with the thoughts of running over someone for just the hell of it! Sorry for the language, get the message

  3. Brett Graves

    Why does this article not mention anything about how many of those truck related crashes were actually caused by the truck driver?

  4. Ron

    I think the transportation industry is regulated to death already considering most of the 4wheeler and big truck crashes are caused by the 4 wheelers but yet all the regs are on the truckers

  5. Chris

    I had to go to school to get my cdl and then stay with a trainer for 8 weeks to get a driver’s license all you have is pass a written test and driver’s test

  6. Russell

    You can put this on my truck when it’s required by law for ALL of the motoring public, if it will improve my performance by 1% it will improve private motorist performance by at least 50%! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!!

  7. Marina Marlose

    Wow that’s a good idea for preventing accidents done by trucks. Many life ended due to accidents caused by trucks. But one thing has to consider here that the not many accidents caused by a driver in general sometimes its weather and fault of the vehicle maintenance. Therefore this advance technology should come with drivers safety and control point of view so that the driver could deal with the accidental situation with ease. Previously I heard about this technology from my friend who faced some major breakdown of his truck and fixed by the deltadieselrepair, from them I and my friend heard this technology. Finally, its a good news for truckers that they are going to have some advanced technology in their vehicle and now they will be able to protect their vehicle even better.

  8. Joe Icaza

    SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFEY!! Starts at the same companies pushing for all that crap they’re already using, Why don’t they start by properly training there new drivers, all they do is a half @$$ bs training. It don’t matter if they are bad , still they keep them, not enough drivers out there right? Wonder why.
    Seen all this big company drivers trying to back up or in..and let me tell you, they have no clue. Improper lane changes, etc… and yes since they are slow trucks, they do get cut off a lot by 4 wheelers making them impossible to travel already. So much to mention it gives me a headache….the trucking industry it’s going down the crapper already, and all the good drivers giving up on it too. It’s sad…

    • Joe Icaza

      By the way, they should educate 4wheelers. I remember 20 years ago when you took the written test for class c, 4wheeler , it talked about giving proper distance between truck, if big trucks where making turns 4wheelers would give right of way , etc. Nowdays it does not teach them anything about big rigs….

  9. Carol Tiffany

    I would like to know how many of those accidents had the trucker a fault and how many had the 4 wheeler at fault. Why are those stats never given? That is the most important one. Check out this article with a LOT more stats –
    It shows that in 2014 that the total vehicles involved in fatal crashes were 44,858 and large trucks were involved in 3,744 – only 8.3 %!!!! Looks like they should be putting the technology on the cars, not the trucks.


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