Highways across the United States, including Alabama, are becoming less safe as the number of fatalities due to truck accidents continues to increase. Technological advances such as forward collision warning systems and automatic emergency braking could help to prevent collisions, potentially saving lives in the process. However, those in the trucking industry and the federal government seem reluctant to take the steps that would require the implementation of the safety features in newly manufactured 18-wheelers.
For more than two decades, the National Transportation Safety Board has made 12 recommendations advocating the use of forward collision avoidance systems in both commercial and passenger vehicles to prevent rear-end collisions. It recommended installing the systems as a standard feature in all newly manufactured motor vehicles most recently in 2015. However, it claims that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been slow and insufficient in first developing performance standards for the systems and then requiring their installation.
According to the Miami Herald, crash avoidance systems are a requirement in all commercial trucks in the European Union. The technology is effective at preventing wrecks, according to safety experts. A senator from New Jersey has called upon Congress to take meaningful steps to prevent accidents and improve safety, but so far Congress has been slow to act.
The trucking industry and like-minded groups have spent millions of dollars on campaign contributions and lobbying efforts. It may be that this influence has prevented congressional action to require collision avoidance systems and other technological safety measures in commercial vehicles.
There is little incentive for manufacturers to implement the technology on their own. Lawmakers and federal regulators should require industries to adhere to reasonable safety standards in the interest of preventing unnecessary loss of life.