The following is excerpted from an article by Jonathan Salant posted on NJ.com post about pending legislation in New Jersey on safety modifications for heavy trucks, including automatic emergency braking (AEB).
TRENTON, N.J. — Automated braking systems would be required on new heavy trucks, guards that stop cars from going under truck trailers would be strengthened, and rules to address sleep apnea for drivers would be developed under legislation introduced last week by Democratic members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The long-sought truck safety provisions would be part of a bill setting federal surface transportation policy for the next five years.
IIHS: Front Crash Prevention Works for Large Trucks
Safety advocates, including the National Transportation Safety Board, have long urged the federal government to require equipment on trucks to help reduce crashes.
“The good news is we have technology now that wasn’t as available in past years or as well understood that can minimize both accidents and deaths that result from accidents,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th Dist., a member of the House Transportation Committee.
NJ Advance Media reported in January that deaths in crashes involving large trucks — those weighing more than 10,000 pounds — rose to 5,005 in 2019, a 36-percent increase from 3,686 in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During the same period, the number of people killed in truck crashes in New Jersey grew 50percent, from 52 in 2010 to 78 in 2019.
With a decrease in traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic, the safety administration’s preliminary 2020 numbers showed the number of deaths in fatal crashes involving trucks declining by twp percent to 4,895. That still would be the third highest number of fatalities in a decade.
The proposed requirement for automated braking systems would apply only to the heaviest trucks. But safety advocates said the government should mandate automated braking for all large trucks, defined as those weighing at least 10,000 pounds.
Under the bill, the secretary of transportation would be required to strengthen standards for rear underride guards on trucks, and to study whether side guards are needed as well.
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