A couple of years ago, a Walmart truck rear-ended a limo van at a ridiculously high rate of speed. One man was killed, and several others seriously injured—including actor Tracy Morgan.

This slide from the NTSB’s presentation shows the crushed interior of the limo after the collision.

This slide from the NTSB’s presentation shows the crushed interior of the limo after the collision.

That crash was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

In their final report, NTSB recommended that the federal government conduct a study on crash avoidance technology that might prevent devastating rear-end collisions like this one.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) just concluded that study.

The results are impressive.

  • 169 truck drivers;
  • 7 trucking companies;
  • 150 tractor-trailers with collision-avoidance systems;
  • 3 million miles;
  • 110,000 hours of driving;
  • 6,000 CAS alerts; and …

 Zero rear-end crashes.

NHTSA’s report shows that the collision-avoidance systems were activated 6,000 during the year-long field study.

Trucking companies report that there are still issues false alerts and false interventions, but the safety benefits for all drivers are undeniable.

Collision-avoidance systems in tractor-trailers could drastically reduce—or even eliminate—rear-end truck crashes.

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From NHTSA Field Study of Heavy-Vehicle Crash Avoidance Systems

In 2013 there were 3,964 people killed and an estimated 95,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks.

In order to reduce crashes many trucks are currently equipped with crash avoidance systems (CASs), which alert drivers to impending conflicts with objects and initiate automatic emergency braking (AEB).

A total of 169 drivers operating 150 CAS-equipped trucks from seven trucking companies across the country participated in a 1-year field operational test, which included video and vehicle data to study CASs in a naturalistic environment. In over 3 million miles of data, no rear-end crashes of the type CASs are designed to prevent were identified.


For more on trucking technology …
All heavy trucks should have crash-avoidance braking systems by now

Volvo shows auto braking system for semi-truck crash prevention

Volvo video shows how the auto-braking system could prevent thousands of rear-end truck crashes a year