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UNECE contributes to global debate on commercial vehicle on-board safety

The new technologies paving the way to vehicle automation for freight movements on motorways offer promising prospects for increasing safety and reducing drivers’ workload.

Recent developments and future trends in this field, including safety, traffic management and the socio-economic impact of automation, were at the centre of the discussions at the roundtable organized by OECD’s International Transport Forum on 4-5 January in Washington.

The roundtable was hosted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the UNECE secretariat of the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) was invited to act as one of the four rapporteurs.

Various on-board safety systems for commercial vehicles (e.g. trucks and busses) have been developed and deployed in recent years, including stability control, crash-imminent braking, lane departure warning, etc.  Several UN Regulations have been amended or adopted to cater for the introduction of such systems.

Various additional features are currently being explored including wireless communication of safety information between heavy vehicles and light vehicles; cost-effective, after-market stability control systems for both tractor and trailer-only systems; identification of trailer characteristics from within the tractor in a cost-effective and reliable manner; and the development of driver management tools.

The roundtable also discussed the implications of technology options on infrastructure requirements and human factors; their wider societal and economic benefits and potential negative effects; regulatory needs; liability, security and privacy concerns, etc.

The recommendations on policy and research subjects to be further explored endorsed at the roundtable will be summarised in the report and four thematic publications.