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Will the NHTSA Mandate F-CAM Systems for Trucks, Buses?

It’s important to understand that advancements in vehicle safety technology aren’t just confined to passenger vehicles, but are also being made for the trucks and buses with which we share the roads.

Indeed, the Center for Auto Safety, Road Safe America, Truck Safety Coalition and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, four highly influential industry groups, recently filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urging it to require all new trucks and buses to be equipped with new forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking — or F-CAM — systems.

What is an F-CAM system?

F-CAM systems are comprised of advanced computer technology that use both radars and sensors to measure the distance between the truck or bus, and the vehicle directly ahead of it.

In the event the distance between the truck or bus, and the vehicle ahead is getting too close, the system will issue an audible forward collision warning to the driver to apply the brake.

If this doesn’t happen and the F-CAM system detects that a crash is imminent, it automatically applies the brake.

How effective are F-CAM systems?

The NHTSA has actually projected that the current iteration of F-CAM systems could prevent more than 2,500 rear-end collisions every year and that future iterations could prevent more than 6,300 rear-end collisions every year.

What do these four groups want the NHTSA to do?

The petition is essentially asking the NHTSA to mandate that all new trucks and buses weighing at least 10,000 pounds be outfitted with F-CAM systems. While you would think that the aforementioned projections would be enough to make this happen, statistics show that only three percent of semis currently have some sort of F-CAM system.

For now, it remains unclear whether the NHTSA will initiate the rulemaking process. Here’s hoping they make the right decision, as F-CAM systems could prove to make a very real safety difference on our roads and highways.

Source: Truckinginfo, “NHTSA urged to mandate truck crash avoidance technology,” David Cullen, Feb. 20, 2015

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