Thursday, November 29 2018
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.”
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