IIHS Study Finds AEB Reduces Semi-Truck Rear-End Crashes by Over 40 Percent

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【Summary】Automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning proved to be incredibly helpful for semi-trucks, as an IIHS study found that they could eliminate two out of five crashes.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Oct 14, 2020 7:25 AM PT
IIHS Study Finds AEB Reduces Semi-Truck Rear-End Crashes by Over 40 Percent

The majority of passenger vehicles now come with a suite of advanced safety features. Things like automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning are either standard or available in a package on nearly every passenger vehicle on sale today. But passenger vehicles aren't the only ones that can benefit from the technology. According to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), equipping semi-trucks with the two forms of technology could eliminate roughly two out of five crashes where an 18-wheeler rear-ends a vehicle.

AEB And FCW Are Beneficial

The study, according to the institute, focused on tractor-trailers and other large trucks that weigh at least 33,000 pounds. Trucks that were equipped with forward collision warning had 22 percent fewer crashes, while ones with automatic emergency braking had 12 percent fewer accidents than those without either one of the safety features. In rear-end crashes, both forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking reduced accidents by 44 and 41 percent, respectively.

Rear-end crashes involving semi-trucks are dangerous, since 18-wheelers can weigh up to 20-30 times more than a passenger vehicle. The institute claims that semi-truck crashes have risen by roughly one-third since 2009. In 2018, 4,136 people were killed in incidents involving 18-wheelers and 119 of those deaths were from a semi-truck rear-ending a passenger vehicle.

"This study provides evidence that forward collision warning and AEB greatly reduce crash risk for tractor-trailers and other large trucks," said Eric Teoh, IIHS Director of Statistical Services. "That's important information for trucking companies and drivers who are weighing the costs and benefits of these options on their next vehicles."

Safety Features Could Save Lives

As the IIHS points out, passenger-vehicle and truck manufacturers aren't required to equip vehicles with any kind of front crash prevention system as standard. Twenty automakers, though, that account for 99 percent of the U.S. market are on track to make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all new passenger vehicles by September 2022. The decision is a voluntary one that was brokered by the IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To conduct its study, the IIHS studied 2,000 crashes that occurred over 2 billion vehicle miles traveled through 2019 to 2019. The study compared semi-trucks from the same carriers that were equipped with forward collision warning, ones that came with automatic emergency braking, and then ones that didn't have any of the features. Just like with passenger vehicles, getting a semi-truck with automatic emergency braking usually means getting forward collision warning.

"The potential benefits are great enough that these crash avoidance systems should be standard equipment on all new large trucks," said IIHS President David Harkey.

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