Any collision involving heavy trucks and buses can lead to grievous injuries or death because of their large size and weight. Unlike most passenger vehicles, these massive automobiles need powerful brakes to slow down to a stop. And even with such brakes, their stopping distance is long enough for them to accidentally hit any vehicles up ahead.
However, a new federal requirement could improve heavy truck and bus safety across America.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week that the federal government plans to make automatic emergency braking mandatory on heavy trucks and buses within five years.
The new rule will initially affect large vehicles weighing at least 10,000 pounds when it goes into effect next year. It’ll later apply to trucks over 26,000 pounds in 2027 and to vehicles that weigh between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds by 2028.
According to the NHTSA, the requirement can prevent 20,000 crashes and 9,000 crash-related injuries and save 155 lives annually.
The collision risks of heavy vehicles
Until the new law is enacted, drivers and pedestrians are at significant risk of injury or death by large vehicles. The NHTSA estimated that in the U.S., there are about 60,000 rear-end crashes each year caused by heavy trucks or buses.
In terms of specific states, California is a dangerous place for large vehicle collisions. In 2021, the state had the second-highest deaths related to large truck collisions with 437 deaths. Texas was the leader in large truck collision fatalities in 2021, with 806 recorded deaths.
Since most large vehicle collisions are rear-enders, drivers and passengers who get hit can suffer traumatic brain injuries, back and spinal injuries, fractures and whiplash. Depending on the severity, these injuries can cost the injured as much as $50,000.
Large vehicles continue to be a collision danger on the road. There’s also no guarantee that mandatory automatic emergency braking would eliminate accidents. Colliding with a truck or bus can lead to immense pain, disability or even death. Because of the high costs involved with treating these injuries, victims should consider pursuing legal action to claim compensation.