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Thursday, November 29 2018
In Trucking, a Quieter Evolution is Underway

ORLANDO, Fla.—Some of the newer technology is helping safety professionals get inside a vehicle to spot maintenance issues before they become hazards or driver behavior that could lead to crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute has been tracking deaths involving large trucks since 1975 when 4,834 people were reportedly killed in accidents involving large trucks. The number of deaths peaked in the late 1980s. In 1988 and 1989 there were about 5,300 truck-related deaths. The number of deaths has gone up and down from year to year, but since 2009 the number has been consistently below the 4,000. Factors – such as road conditions and regulation of such issues as how many hours a driver can be at the wheel – could impact that number, it also coincides with the trucking industry stepping up its use of technology to improve driver safety.

Mack installs wiring and camera brackets to fit a video and software system called Drive Cam from a company called Lytx, so those who buy Mack trucks can also use video to track and improve drivers’ responses in risky situations. The truck’s buyer would contract through Lytx to purchase and operate the system. The benefit: The driver can see what happened during a close call. 

Mack Connect integrates software, predictive analytics and driver-assist technologies to let a driver know if service may be needed soon or immediately because of pending vehicle trouble. When a safety issue is diagnosed, it could be as serious as the uptime center contacting a driver immediately and asking him or her to stop driving.

New York City, for example, announced its Vision Zero initiative in 2014, collisions per mile have dropped across the city’s fleet, the fleet has seen a reduction in red light and speeding violations and traffic fatalities have declined by 26 percent, while they have increased by 13 percent nationally. The city has trained nearly 50,000 employees on safe driving practices since Vision Zero went into effect. And Kerman noted that safety starts with a focus on the driver. As part of the initiative, the city adopted a Vision Zero Safe Fleet Transition Plan (SFTP), which was first published in May 2017 and outlines a series of safety investments that DCAS will require of fleet vehicles. In less than two years, the SFTP has resulted in the implementation of nearly 20,000 safety upgrades, including expanded use of automatic braking, backup cameras, driver alert systems, blind spot alerts, heated mirrors, truck side guards and vehicle telematics. The SFTP is a partnership between DCAS and the Volpe Center at the U.S. DOT.

The National Truck Equipment Association also known as the Association for the Work Truck Industry, which acts as a bridge between all segments of trucking—for manufacturers, fleets, drivers, upfitters, etc., noted three essential pieces that make fleet operations safe: the operator, environmental factors and the equipment itself. The organization also works extensively with federal and state regulatory bodies. Although many see regulations as a costly burden, Survant pointed out how important regulations are, especially in trucking operations.

George Survant, senior director of fleet relations for NETEA stated during the stated that “Technology has evolved, and regulations have followed right along behind that. You can get a Class 8 truck with all the safety features on a passenger car today, and that is a remarkable change. Technology creeps up on us because it’s really easy to depend on it.”

Posted by: AT 06:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 08 2018
Trucks Move America Forward

ORLANDO, Fla.—We understand the challenges of an industry with a tarnished reputation because of the risks that appear on a daily basis on the roads. Most Americans don’t realize the importance of truck driving in our lives until major disasters or weather events occur and suddenly we can’t receive essential foods, medicines and many other indispensables required on our day-to-day.

Trucks are of significant importance both globally and nationally. This is an industry that carries our families and our businesses when trucks don’t move — the whole country stops moving.

Every day, millions of truck and professional truck drivers take charge to move America forward.

Now, according to the American Trucking Associations President and CEO, Mr. Chris Spear—the United States is witnessing the fastest growth the trucking industry has experienced in 20 years. “Trucking is the driving force  behind the world’s #1 economy, and we want to keep it that way.” Spear said. For the last two years, ATA has been educating negotiators on how 76% of NAFTA freight relies on trucking, supporting more than 47,000 US trucking employees, including more than 31,000 dedicated U.S. truck drivers.

In his remarks at the annual Management Conference and Exhibition in Austin, Texas—he mentioned that in construction and factory activity for-hire truck tonnage is up nearly 8% year-to-date. American Trucking Trends shows the U.S. trucking industry generated more than $700 billion in economic activity last year, a 3.5% increase year over year. That accounts for an impressive 79% of the nation’s freight bill.

The chronic driver and technician shortage, and what he calls “erroneous claims” that trucks will soon become driverless has taken prominence in negotiating tables. Both ATA and FMCSA are working together to further develop the Department of Transportation’s 3.0 Automated Vehicle guidance, released earlier this month. Commercial vehicles do have a say in this debate, where improvements in safety, efficiency, and productivity can accelerate the voluntary adoption of driver-assist technologies.

Other industry challenges continue to grow such as:

  • the above-average retirement age 
  • onerous and duplicative meal-and-rest break rule.
  • driver hours-of-service reform. 
  • infrastructure investment and trade/workforce development.

The Drive-Safe Act allows drivers in all 48 states in the Continental U.S., under the age of 21 to operate within state lines, but not cross state borders, and that the bipartisan legislative proposal would allow those same young people to drive across state lines provided they receive comprehensive additional training. This federal legislation would require 400 hours of on-duty, apprenticeship-based training, including 240 hours of drive-time with an accompanying experienced driver in the cabin order for an 18 to 21-year-old to operate across state lines. “Beyond the goodwill that comes from engaging our nation’s youth, the fact is, we also need to attract the next generation of drivers and technicians.”— he added.

This initiative has been backed by the American Trucking Associations, according to its President and CEO. 

Posted by: AT 08:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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