NTSB Pushes for Mandatory Collision Avoidance Systems and Video Recorders on Trucks

Collision avoidance systems and video recorders make up two of the top ten improvements on NTSB’s 2017-2018 most wanted improvements list for the transportation industry.

While just recommendations, the NTSB expressed the need for collision avoidance systems and video recorders to become mandatory on trucks to help improve safety and prevent accidents.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities occurring on our nation’s highways rose 10.4% in 2016’s first quarter. 1Last year alone, there were over 4,000 fatalities resulting from large truck collisions, up 4.1% from 2014, the highest reported since 2008, and 30,000 injuries, an increase of 11% over 2014. 2

With nearly 120,000 crash avoidance systems installed in 267 fleets, trucking companies report “87 percent fewer rear-end collisions and 89 percent less costs associated with rear-end crashes.” 3The NTSB is encouraging that forward collision avoidance systems at least be mandated in trucks, while autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning systems also being effective. 4

Road Scholar Transport is one of these fleets with crash avoidance systems installed. Our trucks utilize the Bendix Wingman ACB System, allowing for our trucks to maintain a set distance of 8/10ths of a mile marker behind a forward vehicle.

When cruise control is off, the ACB will deliver a beeping alert, which gets faster and louder when closing in on a vehicle, as well as a visual warning on the dashboard showing how far the vehicle is from our truck.

When cruise control is on, the ACB will automatically reduce the throttle, use the engine retarder, or apply the brakes (delivering 1/3 the vehicle’s power with the driver applying the rest if needed) in order to maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead.

While the NTSB is urging for a mandatory ruling, many drivers feel that there is already too much regulation and that installing these may give drivers a false sense of security and lead them to not be as diligent in practicing defensing driving technique.

The NTSB is also recommending that forward facing, as well as driver facing, event video recorders be installed in trucks.  These recorders would serve benefits such as providing critical information in the case of an accident.  We found that most drivers supported the forward facing cameras but believed the driver facing cameras to be a “Big Brother-like intrusion.”

Close to 400,000 trucks are utilizing driver cams currently with that number growing but price remains a concern with these cameras costing several hundred dollars each along with a $35 monthly service fee per unit. 5

Check out videos of anti-collision systems and dash cams below.