DOT's Consideration of Auto Emergency Braking Requirement for New Trucks

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
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Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley

On June 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that new federal laws requiring automatic emergency braking systems in both large commercial trucks and buses are intended to be passed. Specifically, according to DOT’s announcement:

“Safety is the Department’s North Star and making our roads safer for all Americans is critical. The regulatory agenda reflects this – by proposing to make safety technologies like [the] automatic emergency braking standard, to ensure better data collection for autonomous vehicle technology deployments to enable safe innovation, and to update our roadway design and operational practices for the first time in a decade. Examples include:

  • Require heavy and light vehicles to include Automatic Emergency Braking….”

One thing is undisputed: rear-end crashes by large commercial trucks and buses are exceptionally dangerous. The question is, will these new federal laws help in an efficient way? If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed in an accident with a large commercial truck or bus, a Florida truck accident lawyer  can help you with your insurance and legal claims.

What is an Automatic Emergency Braking System?

An Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system is a type of collision avoidance device designed to prevent large commercial trucks and buses from colliding with the rear end of any motor vehicle in front of them. Upon activation, the AEB applies the brakes instead of the driver and also determines how much force is needed in braking. 

Some systems are designed for low speeds, while others are designed for higher speeds. Different sensors are used for different designs, and some systems are designed to lessen the impact rather than preventing it altogether.

Is There Any Downside to AEBs?

Opposition to AEBs as currently designed includes the danger of causing serious or even fatal accidents by stopping the vehicle automatically without the involvement of the human driver. Opposing experts also warn that in particular, so-called “phantom braking,” which refers to an AEB false alarm that causes your vehicle, without warning, to slam on its brakes in response to the detection of a “phantom” object.

According to the Center for Auto Safety, “when automatic emergency braking goes wrong, it can be incredibly dangerous.” In fact, the Center reports: “Owners of 2017-19 Nissan Rogues equipped with automatic emergency braking have been reporting unwanted stops since the time AEB technology was placed on those vehicles.”

A Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help if You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Collision

Truck collisions are always dangerous, but drivers and passengers of smaller passenger vehicles are particularly vulnerable to rear-end collisions with trucks. It remains to be seen if AEBs can reduce that risk for passenger vehicles. In any event, if you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a truck or bus, a Florida truck accident lawyer can help with any claims you may have.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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