Several companies, such as our customer, Meritor WABCO, have introduced state of the art electronic trucking safety equipment in recent years, and while some of these advancements are currently available, others are scheduled to be available as of 2014. The most predominate advances involve collision safety systems and electronic stability control.
Collision Avoidance Systems — Uses radar based technology to reduce collisions through warnings and active avoidance. This includes computer applied braking and increased lane visibility for evasive maneuvering by improving the driver’s field of vision.
Lane Departure Warning — Informs when lane drift is detected without a turn signal. According to Fleet Equipment Magazine, “Advanced image analysis algorithms enable the system to detect a wide variety of lane markings, such as dividing lines on the highway, even in unfavorable lighting or weather conditions where there are limited visible solid, dashed or reflective lane markings.”
Driver Alertness Warning — Detects erratic driving behaviors, alerting both the driver and dispatch to possible drowsy or distracted driving.
Electronic Stability Control — Maximizes traction through computer generated application of individual brakes, compensating for over and under steer. One of the challenges for this system – the need for continual adjustments—was overcome through self-learning systems. Jon Morrison, President and General Manager of Meritor WABCO said, “The technology advancements with self-learning will not only help save manufacturers time and cost in the validation and application process, but fleets can reduce down time due to the need for reprogramming the ECU every time they have a truck and/or trailer configuration change,”
According to Doug Duncan, President and CEO (retired) of FedEx Freight, “Since 2002, FedEx has used collision avoidance systems, which warn drivers of excessive closure rates and eliminates rear-end collisions. Lane departure warning signals are now standard on all new equipment. This technology helps indicate when the driver is tired. Stability control technology is designed to prevent rollovers from occurring.”
The trucking industry is known as a penny industry because every cent saved can be multiplied by the vast numbers of carriers, cargo, and miles. Although the initial cost of these safety devices will be considerable, they should pay for themselves in the long run. Savings in insurance, collisions avoided, and time lost will positively affect the bottom line of the trucking industry AND make our roads safer. If you’re in trucking and use these modern electronic safety devices, we’d love to hear from you.