There are some tough challenges on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) newest “Most Wanted List” of critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives. Sharing the NTSB’s goals of safer highway travel for everyone, the team at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems (CVS) supports its efforts and believes several of those challenges can be addressed through a combination of approaches, including driver assistance technologies and the continued evolution of advanced safety systems.
“We agree that a higher level of safety can be achieved in the areas where the NTSB has chosen to focus its efforts, particularly in terms of solutions such as driver assistance and data recording,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government and industry affairs. “At this point, collision mitigation is a road-tested and proven technology, and fleets that have implemented it have often seen a reduction in the number of accidents, or in the severity of collisions , sometimes both.”
One of the NTSB’s list items is “Increase implementation of collision avoidance technologies,” accompanied by the note that, “These technologies are available today. They should be implemented today.” And while collision mitigation systems can’t directly address another NTSB Most Wanted List item – eliminating driver distractions – their use could help reduce the chances of a distraction leading to an accident.
In fact, the company says collision avoidance (also known as collision mitigation) systems are already changing the highway safety landscape: This fall, the radar-based Bendix Wingman Advanced – A Collision Mitigation Technology became the first such system to gain standard position in the North American commercial vehicle market, on International Truck’s newly launched LT Series on-highway Class 8 tractor, according to the company. Furthermore, thousands of trucks on the road or on order for fleets are adopting Bendix’s next-generation system, Bendix Wingman Fusion, which integrates a camera and more advanced algorithms.
When successfully paired with a web portal like SafetyDirect by Bendix CVS, these systems can wirelessly and automatically transmit driver performance data and event-based information, including video to the fleet office, enabling more effective driver training and safety improvement efforts. The company says this meshes with another NTSB Most Wanted List item that aims to expand use of data recorders.
“We’ve had fleets tell us that even after just a few weeks of using these technologies, they’re able to offer training and insight that improve driver safety,” said Andersky. “These systems are already truly proving themselves and delivering the return on investment that fleets expect. Of course, no technology can replace a safe driver practicing safe driving habits and ongoing driver training, but as the trucking industry looks down the path of platooning and more autonomous driver assistance capabilities, these are the stepping stones to reaching a safer future.”
Along with technology implementation and continued emphasis on safe drivers, maintenance also is part of the equation to help ensure fleet safety. Andersky suggested that vehicle operators keep in mind the “3 Ps” of proactive safety system care – pre-trip inspection, preventive maintenance and problem repair. These help ensure that top-level systems are ready to perform because the base systems – such as tires and the braking system – are in good shape and prepared to function when needed.
Bendix’s new multimedia center at safertrucks.com/knowledge-dock, Andersky noted, offers blog posts, podcasts, videos and more on a range of trucking-related topics, including advanced safety technology development, driver assistance systems and the commercial vehicle regulatory landscape.