Automatic emergency braking would be required on heavy trucks under proposed legislation

Published: Jun. 23, 2023 at 7:18 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - New legislation could soon require heavy trucks and buses to include automatic emergency braking equipment, and we took a look at how it would affect local truck drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new safety standard Thursday to reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.

It’s a move that could prevent nearly 20,000 crashes and save lives.

iTA Truck Sales and Service in Lake Charles is ahead of the game and has been installing some of these automatic emergency braking systems into heavy trucks.

“They do now have electronic braking radars in front that will measure the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. They also have headway controllers in the windshield as well that will actually read road signs for the miles per hour that Is posted for that highway,” service manager Max Marcantel said.

He explained with these two devices, the chances of crashing are very slim. He’s tested it himself and said if you think you can go past the speed limit, think again.

“So, if you try to push past it, it’s almost as if there’s nothing there. When you hit the pedal there’s no urge to go. It just simply will not allow you to move forward and go over that 35 marker,” Marcantel said.

He said the controlled settings won’t allow you to travel more than five miles per hour over the speed limit. One advantage is that automatic emergency brakes cool faster, making fewer accidents.

“This is found to cause breaks to not want to overheat and glaze over, which will cause you to slide into oncoming traffic ahead of you,” Marcantel said.

It’s an effort to regulate electronic systems that drivers would normally handle themselves.

“It’s definitely going to help reduce accidents. It’s going to be able to keep you safer away from vehicles in front of you that are going to all of the sudden stop, that you weren’t prepared for,” he said.

Marcantel said the equipment is pricey, ranging from $2,000 to $2,500, but some manufacturers are covering the cost of installation.