Jul 07, 2023
Truckers inform feds about problems with AEBs
August 4, 2023 • | The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association argues that no regulations requiring automatic emergency braking systems should be implemented until the technology is perfected.
August 4, 2023
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association argues that no regulations requiring automatic emergency braking systems should be implemented until the technology is perfected.
Truck drivers like Carrie Moore provide real-world examples of deficiencies in the technology, especially in severe weather and unique terrain.
“I almost had a crash due to the automatic braking system on my Freightliner,” Moore wrote in comments filed to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “It was snowing and icy, and the radar doesn’t work well in these conditions – it gets blocked by ice.”
Moore was traveling into a curve with a guardrail on the passenger side when the radar detected a metal object and applied the brakes forcefully.
“A computer decided that my eyeballs and situational awareness of the curve didn’t matter, only that metal was ahead and if it didn’t slam on the brakes I would hit it,” Moore wrote. “It sent me into a jackknife, and I was barely able to recover the skid before going off the road because the computer assumed I would go straight instead of with the curve. If others were next to me, I would’ve hit them. It would have been a multivehicle accident caused entirely by a computer.”
In July, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA published a joint proposal that would require AEB systems and electronic stability control systems on new vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds.
The proposal calls for all Class 7 and 8 vehicles – those weighing more than 26,000 pounds – to be required to meet the automatic emergency braking standards three years after the rule takes effect. All Class 3-6 vehicles – those weighing 10,001-26,000 pounds – would be required to meet the automatic emergency braking and electronic stability control requirements in four years. Small-volume manufacturers would have until five years after the final rule took effect.
The public has through Sept. 5 to comment on the proposal. So far, about 300 comments have been filed to the agencies on the regulations.gov website. Many of the comments come from truck drivers who oppose a mandate.
“The technology for that system is not ready,” Mike Wells wrote. “I retired from a company that started using it and had a lot of false braking issues from ramps and overpasses. It is not ready to be mandatory.”
“The false positives I got were staggering,” truck driver Michael Beyer wrote. “Emergency braking because I was passing a vehicle around a curve, or because a vehicle that had exited was slowing on a ramp to my right. Also for inclement weather, if something comes in front of the vehicle on a snowy/icy road, a full brake application would be disastrous.”
On July 24, OOIDA sent a letter to the agencies to relay concerns from truck drivers about the proposal.
“While there are many operational concerns about using an AEB system, truckers are especially worried about the potential for false activations,” OOIDA wrote. “As you can imagine, drivers are concerned the 80,000-pound truck they are driving could unexpectedly brake to a complete stop for no reason. In the face of this threat, the best the agencies offer in the (proposal) is ‘some assurance that an AEB system is capable of differentiating between an actual imminent collision and a non-threat.’”
To submit a comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking, go to regulations.gov by Sept. 5 and enter Docket Nos. FMCSA-2022-0171 or NHTSA-2023-0023. There is no need to file comments to both agencies. You also can go to FightingforTruckers.com, where OOIDA has made it easy for truck drivers to provide feedback to the agencies. LL
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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.
Latest PodcastsA proposalOOIDA letterListen to Land Line Now to learn more about what OOIDA has to say about the automatic emergency braking proposal.How to commentLL