WASHINGTON — The White House is reviewing a proposed rule to establish a safety standard to require and/or standardize the performance of automatic emergency braking systems (AEB) on heavy trucks.

According to a “statement of need” received by the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration believes there is potential for AEB “to improve safety by reducing the likelihood of rear-end crashes involving heavy vehicles and the severity of crashes,” the agency noted.

“NHTSA is commencing the rulemaking process to potentially require new heavy vehicles to be equipped with automatic emergency braking systems, or to standardize AEB performance when the systems are optionally installed on vehicles.”

While the proposed rule is required as a provision in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021 — and which requires a rule be finalized by Nov. 15, 2023 — OMB is starting its 90-day review one week after the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that a rear-end collision involving a truck that killed six people could have been prevented if a collision avoidance system, such as AEB, had been deployed.

Collision avoidance technology is also on NTSB’s “Most Wanted” list of safety regulations.

An abstract of the proposal states that NHTSA has researched forward collision avoidance and mitigation technology on heavy vehicles, including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems, for several years.

In 2015, the agency granted a petition for rulemaking — but never actually proposed a rule — submitted by the Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and Road Safe America to require automatic forward collision avoidance and mitigation systems on heavy trucks.

In support of that petition, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance pointed out that as technology continues to advance, “it is imperative that those in the safety and enforcement communities are afforded the opportunity [to] take full advantage of technological advancements that improve safety and demonstrate a net benefit to society.”

NHTSA’s AEB proposal also has been given “economically significant” priority status because it is a regulation that is likely to have an annual economic effect of $100 million or more “or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities,” according to OMB.

As per executive order, all such regulations require that agencies provide a detailed assessment of the likely benefits and costs of the regulatory action, “including a quantification of those effects, as well as a similar analysis of potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives,” OMB’s rules state.

Related articles:

Truck safety lobby pressures DOT on crash prevention

Truck crash deaths jump 13% to ‘crisis’ level

Speed limiters, automatic braking on NTSB Most Wanted List

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

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