A benefit-cost analysis of Forward Collision Warning Systems for the trucking industry found benefits per dollar spent values of $1.33 to $7.22 with varying estimates of efficiency and annual VMT.

U.S. motor carrier experience with forward collision warning systems

Nationwide; United States

Summary Information

The goal of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce the number and severity of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) crashes. Over the last several years, FMCSA has collaborated with the trucking industry to test, evaluate, and encourage the deployment of several onboard safety systems (OSS). This project builds on previous field operational testing by refocusing benefit-cost assessments from more general societal impacts to more targeted motor-carrier-industry outcomes.


The technology evaluated represented a typical system available on the commercial market designed to provide audible and/or visual warnings to drivers when another vehicle or object is detected within a predefined headway having an unsafe closing rate as determined by on-board computers and a forward-looking Doppler radar system.

The benefit-to-cost analysis evaluated benefits in terms of crash cost avoidance and costs in terms of total technology costs. The data for potential benefits were collected from insurance companies and motor carriers, and represented actual expenses incurred in a CMV crash. The potential benefits were measured against the purchase, installation, and operational costs of the technology used in motor carrier operations. Benefit-to-cost ratios were calculated for different levels of vehicle miles traveled, technology purchase prices, and efficacy rates of 21 and 44 percent as reported by industry sources. Net present values were computed using three and seven percent discount rates applied to future benefits and costs to account for inflation and the time value of money over a five year technology lifetime.


The results indicated that for every dollar spent, carriers would get more than a dollar back in benefits, ranging from $1.33 to $7.22 based on different vehicle miles traveled (VMT), system efficacy rates (crash prevention rates), and technology purchase prices.

Benefit Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Benefit

To comment on this summary, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


Analysis of Benefits and Costs of Forward Collision Warning Systems for the Trucking Industry

Author: Murray,Dan; Sandra Shackelford; and Amy Houser

Published By: U.S DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Prepared by ATRI for the FMCSA

Source Date: 02/27/2009

Other Reference Number: Report No. FMCSA-RRT-09-021



Average User Rating

4 (1 rating)

Rate this Benefit

(click stars to rate)

Benefit ID: 2011-00720