Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) future safety-related
rulemaking priorities for heavy-trucks include driver fatigue,
tire failure and the ability of electronic-controlled braking
systems (EBS) to improve braking capability.
brake performance has been identified as a major factor contributing
to crashes involving large trucks...The major issue... is
identifying what performance requirements should be established"
to shorten braking distances, the agency said.
As part of
this effort, NHTSA is testing EBS-equipped vehicles. "One
promising method to shorten truck stopping distances may be through
disc air brakes with electronic control. Stopping distances could
be reduced by as much as 30 percent through the use of disc brakes
and more powerful front axle brakes, in conjunction with ECBS,"
is heat buildup in tires that may result from under-inflation,
overloading, high-speed operation, sub-par tire design, or a combination
of these factors.
chip technology now exists that can monitor tire inflation and
warn the driver of impending tire failure. Some of the advances
in reducing tire failures on heavy trucks have begun and will
continue to appear in passenger car tires," the agency said.
wants to develop a sensor for a warning system to alert drivers
before they fall asleep. The purpose is to reduce the more than
100,000 injuries and deaths associated with drowsiness involving
both commercial and passenger vehicles.
suggests that approximately 100,000 crashes per year, including
1,357 fatal crashes and approximately 71,000 injury crashes, involved
are often unaware of their deteriorating condition or, even when
they are aware, are often motivated to keep driving. A drowsiness
detection and warning system can help reduce alertness-related
crashes by helping to maintain alertness until it is safe to stop
and rest," the agency said.
By Dick Larsen, senior editor