The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is being asked by four interest groups to establish a rulemaking initiative to mandate anti-collision technology on all trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) at or exceeding 10,000 lbs.
Dubbed forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems or “F-CAM” systems, the four groups – Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety and Road Safe America – said in a statement that only 3% of the estimated three million Class 8 tractor-trailers operating on the U.S. roads today are equipped with some form of this technology because it is not mandated.
And with those groups emphasizing that truck tonnage is predicted to increase by as much as 63% by 2040, the need for F-CAM technology has “never been greater,” said Steve Owings, co-founder of Road Safe America, who lost his son Cullum in a crash with a tractor-trailer back in 2002.
While nearly every truck manufacturer currently offers some type of F-CAM-style system for its new models, he added in a statement that “there is no national standard for F-CAM system performance and not all buyers purchase this safety option.”
“Many hundreds of lives could be saved each year if trucks are equipped with automatic braking systems,” noted Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, in a statement. “NHTSA should move quickly to require this safety technology on all trucks.”
He added that federal regulatory action previously expedited the installation of critical vehicle safety systems, such as airbags and electronic stability control (ESC) systems, by requiring them as standard equipment rather than as expensive options.
“Federal regulation remains the best and swiftest means to ensure the latest safety advances reach the majority of the traveling public,” Ditlow said.