NTSB’s ‘Most Wanted’ List Calls For Mandating Speed Limiters, Collision-Avoidance Systems
Washington D.C. – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling on the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to mandate speed limiters and require collision-avoidance systems for all heavy trucks.
On Tuesday, the NTSB unveiled its annual top 10 “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.”
This year’s list urges USDOT regulators to mandate that all heavy trucks be equipped with speed limiters, require collision-warning and automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems in all on-highway vehicles (including commercial motor vehicles and school buses), and require connected-vehicle technology be installed on all newly manufactured highway vehicles.
The NTSB asserted speed limiters are needed in all big rigs in order to “eliminate speed-related crashes.”
“Regulators should develop performance standards for advanced speed-limiting technology, such as variable speed limiters and intelligent speed adaptation devices, for heavy vehicles, including trucks, buses, and motorcoaches,” the NTSB said. “Then require that all newly manufactured heavy vehicles be equipped with such devices.”
This recommendation is backed by some of trucking’s most powerful and influential groups on Capitol Hill such as the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, and The Alliance.
However, groups such as the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association and Small Business in Transportation Coalition oppose mandating speed limiters arguing doing so would only increase both the frequency and severity of big rig-involved crashes.
The NTSB is also championing collision-avoidance technologies such as forward-collision warning and AEB.
“Collision-avoidance [technologies]… can address the human error that can lead to crashes — saving thousands of lives on the nation’s roads,” the NTSB claimed.
The Agency cited a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS), which estimated 50% of rear-end collisions could be prevented if all on-highway vehicles had forward-collision warning and AEB systems.
Further, the NTSB called for USDOT regulators to “complete standards for collision-warning and AEB systems in commercial vehicles and require this technology in all highway vehicles and all new school buses.”
As for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the NTSB insisted they should “install and make standard in all vehicles forward-collision avoidance systems that, at a minimum, include a collision-warning component.”
“They should not just be options sold as part of expensive add-on packages,” the NTSB noted.
Also making this year’s list was connected-vehicle technologies which allow vehicles to relay “safety” data to each other in real-time.
Deploying this technology would also allow vehicle-to-everything (V2X) capability via the Safety Band, a band of wireless spectrum at 5.9 GHz that until late last year was reserved for transportation-related communications such as reduced speed zone warnings and traffic congestion detection.
However, in November of 2020 the Federal Communications Commission issued a decision to share the 5.9 GHz radio frequency band with unlicensed Wi-Fi.
Nonetheless, the NTSB called for USDOT regulators to “develop performance standards for connected-vehicle technology” and require via a rulemaking that this technology be installed on all newly manufactured highway vehicles.
Achieving widespread adoption of V2X capability is an important goal for advocates of automated driving systems.
The NTSB is also calling for a series of measures to curb the epidemic of distracted driving.
The list calls for states to ban all-driver use of personal electronic devices and “strictly enforce laws and strengthen roadside monitoring and enforcement programs.”
Recommendations specifically aimed at the CMV industry include: encouraging employers and fleet owners to adopt policies that would prohibit cell phone use while driving or require the use of lockout features when using company vehicles.