NTSB urges collision avoidance tech, data recorders in trucks

From Transport Topics.

Collision avoidance technology in trucks could improve the safety of operators and everyone else on the road, according to Rob Molloy, director of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Highway Safety.

He made the comments Nov. 15 during NTSB’s mid-year progress report on its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List. The list was initially released in November 2016.

The Most Wanted List identifies the biggest safety improvements that can be made across all modes of transportation, namely aviation, highway, marine, pipeline and hazardous materials and rail.

Molloy said that many of the truck-related accidents his office studies occur when trucks fail to stop for queued vehicles on the road ahead, referring to an incident June 29, 2016 in Goodland, Kan., when a Volvo truck ran into a passenger vehicle and killed several of its passengers. The truck had the necessary wiring for collision avoidance technology in place, but no such device had been installed.

“The technology exists,” Molloy said. “It’s a shame when you see that technology was there — almost.”

In addition to calling for an increase in the adoption of collision avoidance technology, NTSB’s Most Wanted List outlines nine other priorities: ensure the safe shipment of hazardous materials, end alcohol and other drug impairment in transportation, reduce fatigue-related accidents, require medical fitness, eliminate distractions, strengthen occupant protection, expand recorder use to enhance safety, improve rail transit safety oversight and prevent loss of control in flight in general aviation.

Recorder use refers to event data recorders, which are devices installed in vehicles that collect information related to accidents and crashes. In its list, NTSB recommends that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration require all heavy commercial vehicle operators install video event recorders and study the data collected by these devices when assessing performance data.