The American Trucking Associations (ATA) recently endorsed the standardization of automatic braking systems on new trucks. I think we should, too. Not that it matters much. Any safety regulations adopted in the US are normally extended here by default, since our trucks are built by US manufacturers to US standards.
But I think it’s important this technology be widely deployed as soon as possible. In recent weeks there have been two deadly crashes not far from where I live. In both accounts, according to media and police reports, a tractor-trailer slammed into the back of stopped traffic, the truck driver seemingly taking no notice until it was too late that the cars ahead had stopped or slowed due to construction.
There is technology available today that could have prevented both these fatal wrecks. I’m not suggesting it was available at the time the trucks involved were manufactured. However, I am saying we have the ability to reduce the number of such crashes in the future.
I don’t know all the specifics regarding the crashes that happened recently along the 401. Were the truck drivers involved fatigued? Distracted? Or suffering from a medical emergency, such as a heart attack? I’ll leave that to investigators to figure out and for lawyers to argue over.
All I know is that we haven’t eliminated rear-end collisions on our own, and we likely never will. When there’s technology out there that can practically eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, such crashes, aren’t we obligated as an industry that, as David Bradley loves to say, shares its workspace with the public, to adopt it?
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies