As scientific progress marches forward, many innovators put their energies into automotive technologies. New technology seeks to improve both the driving experience and road safety with self-driving cars and predictive warning systems.

As non-profit organizations and researchers test these new technologies, their experts make policy recommendations to state and federal lawmakers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is one such organization, working since 1959 to reduce traffic collisions and traffic injuries. The IIHS’ most recent study on safety technology in semi-trucks comes alongside new recommendations for U.S. fleet operators.

Forward collision warning and emergency braking systems

The IIHS studied the impact of two relatively new safety technologies on modern trucking. Covering two billion miles of road traveled between 2017 to 2019, the IIHS examined crash data from 2,000 truck accidents. The researchers discovered that automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems could prevent 40% of rear-end truck crashes.

Additionally, the researchers found that these systems combined to reduce speeds during a crash by 50%. The lower speeds resulted in crashes with fewer injuries and less-costly property damage. Considering the discoveries, the IIHS calls on the federal government to mandate the inclusion of the technologies in all new trucks moving forward. This recommendation mirrors a European Union law passed in 2013.

New regulations face resistance

Despite the promising data, some trucking organizations stop short of encouraging new regulations. Many fleet operators are mandating these safety technologies on their new vehicles without government oversight, but organizations like the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) reject the study. The OOIDA believes the study overlooked an individual driver’s experience, training and safety record. The American Automobile Association also dissents to requiring the new tech — they claim the technologies are too unreliable to mandate.

New laws would create new lawsuits

If the federal government follows the IIHS’ recommendations and requires all new semi-trucks to equip these technologies, lawyers will soon test the laws in court. Those involved in a traffic accident with a semi-truck can bring their questions to a local attorney familiar with Georgia motor vehicle laws.