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How the Latest IIHS Study Impacts Trucking Companies

| Sep 24, 2020 | Transportation Law |

Fleet operators and truckers understand the importance of safe driving. Your livelihood depends on the safe transportation of goods around the United States without incident. Staying up to date on new advancements in trucking safety technology can help provide a competitive advantage when securing new clients or expanding your territory.

So, when the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) makes new recommendations to federal regulators, you pay attention. Recent findings from the IIHS may have implications for all truckers and fleet operators in the country.

New study on safety tech yields promising data

Researchers at the IIHS studied over 2,000 truck crashes from 2017 to 2019. Led by the director of statistical services Eric Teoh, the team examined how forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems impacted crashes. The IIHS found that these safety technologies could prevent up to 40% of accidents where a semi-truck rear-ends another vehicle.

The IIHS has consulted the federal government on automotive safety legislation since 1959. The non-profit organization has helped pass seat belt laws, invented several collision safety standards and issues coveted Top Safety Pick awards for new vehicles. Federal lawmakers take the recommendations of the IIHS quite seriously. Based on their trucking study, the IIHS recommends that the federal government require these safety systems on all new commercial trucks in the U.S.

A recommendation does not mean a regulation

Despite the promising data, some motor vehicle organizations push back against new regulations. Mandating two new safety systems on big rigs will increase expansion costs for independent truckers, fleet operators and other transportation professionals. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association claims the study fails to consider a driver’s safety record, training and experience. The American Automobile Association (AAA) maintains that these new systems do not work consistently enough to require their use.

Teoh says that the systems still prevent injury and damage. Researchers found that trucks equipped with these systems could reduce their speed by 50% before a crash, significantly reducing the number of severe injuries and the cost of damage.

Weigh all the factors with legal help

Though the upfront costs will increase, fleet operators could save money on accident litigation. Several U.S. trucking companies are anticipating the new laws and installing these systems on their existing fleet. If you are curious about how new safety tech can keep your drivers safe and your company profitable, a local lawyer familiar with California trucking law can help.