By: David Braunstein, Together for Safer Roads, President
Every year, the trucking industry faces legislative and regulatory activity that impacts the way they operate. Looking at the past year alone, we have especially seen our coalition members and other fleet operators working hard to understand and implement the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate for both regulatory and best-in-class safety purposes. However, integration of technologies in vehicles is more than just ELDs, especially when going beyond compliance and clock to create a safety culture.
Evaluating and investing in fleet vehicle technologies can be overwhelming, specifically when navigating the initial costs. Yet, vehicle technologies, particularly telematics systems, can improve driver safety, yielding massive savings in crash-related expenses, traffic tickets, driver turnover and vehicle maintenance costs.
For example, it’s no surprise that Together for Safer Roads’ members inform us that one of the greatest challenges their fleet drivers face is having to unexpectedly brake because of navigating around other road users—those walking, cycling, scootering and driving. That’s why collision mitigating braking systems are critical for fleet vehicles. These systems can determine the speed and proximity of the vehicle in front of them, and ensure the fleet vehicle maintains a distance no less than 3.6 seconds to avoid any type of collision. With this, the technology can automatically brake for the vehicle when that distance is breached, as well as warn the driver if it is approaching another vehicle too quickly through visual or vibration signals. While all of this is happening, telematics can enable companies to monitor and collect data from these situations to help improve road safety programs.
There are also technologies in the market that help keep drivers and vehicles safe during long hauls and operating at higher speeds, which, as you may know, increases the risk of vehicle rollover when taking a curve or overcorrecting lane deviation. One of the most common technologies to prevent vehicle rollover is electronic stability control (ESC), which is mandatory in most developed countries. Roll stability systems can correct orientation, reduce speed and apply brakes to select wheels to avoid a crash by determining the likelihood of rollover or overcorrection based on gravitational force, direction and speed. Warning technologies integrated into telematics systems for curve speed, forward collision and oversized vehicles can also help prevent rollovers by notifying the driver of potentially dangerous situations.
Truck drivers must also be equipped to navigate when they have decreased visibility and safely maneuver accordingly. There are many new solutions in the market to help eliminate blind spots and provide support for more difficult maneuvers—from mirrors to more complex camera systems. For example, our members use cameras and radar sensor devices to help improve visibility when backing up and parking.
As environments in our cities change daily and new technologies come to market, it’s critical for companies to embrace these challenging roads and deploy the appropriate safety technologies to provide drivers a safe journey to their destination.
To learn more about the necessary steps needed to develop and maintain safe vehicles to improve road safety, read Together for Safer Roads’ technology report, at www.togetherforsaferroads.org/technology.