In the United States, the trucking industry is an essential component of the economy. Every day, millions of tons of goods are transported across the country via commercial trucks. However, with this industry’s growth, safety concerns have also increased. Safety is a topic we have not shied away from here at the QuickTSI blog. We understand how important it is for trucking companies and regular road users.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 4,951 people died in crashes involving large trucks in 2019. What does this number demonstrate? The need for effective safety technologies to reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. In today’s article, we will explore the various safety technologies available to trucking companies and how they make a difference in improving trucking safety. Let’s dive right in!
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
One of the most critical safety technologies available to trucking companies is Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This system uses sensors to detect any loss of control or instability of the truck and automatically applies the brakes to prevent rollovers and other accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), trucks equipped with ESC were 43% less likely to be involved in fatal accidents than those without this technology. To-date the technology has saved over 4,100 lives.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
Another essential safety technology is Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), which is designed to detect and respond to a potential collision. Using sensors and cameras, AEB can determine whether a crash is imminent and automatically apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the impact. According to a study by the NHTSA, trucks equipped with AEB could potentially prevent up to 5,294 crashes and 2,753 injuries annually.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Lane Departure Warning (LDW) is a system that uses cameras and sensors to monitor a truck’s position on the road. If the system detects that the truck is drifting out of its lane, it will alert the driver with a warning sound or vibration. LDW can help reduce accidents caused by distracted or fatigued drivers. According to the IIHS, trucks equipped with LDW were involved in 14% fewer accidents than those without this technology.
Blind Spot Detection (BSD)
Blind Spot Detection (BSD) is a technology that helps drivers detect vehicles in their blind spots. This system uses sensors to identify other vehicles and alerts the driver with a warning sound or light. BSD can help reduce accidents caused by lane changes or merging. According to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, trucks equipped with BSD had 18% fewer crashes than those without this technology.
Backing up a large truck can be a challenging task, especially in tight spaces. Backup cameras are a safety technology that can help drivers navigate this process safely. These cameras provide a clear view of what’s behind the truck, helping the driver avoid collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or objects. According to a study by the NHTSA, backup cameras can potentially prevent up to 15,000 injuries and 69 deaths annually.
Roll Stability Control (RSC)
Roll Stability Control (RSC) is a safety technology designed to prevent rollovers. This system uses sensors to detect any potential loss of control and applies the brakes to stabilize the truck. According to a study by the IIHS, trucks equipped with RSC were involved in 14% fewer accidents than those without this technology.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
Properly inflated tires are crucial for the safe operation of any vehicle, but this is especially true for commercial trucks. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are designed to detect low tire pressure, which can lead to blowouts and accidents. With TPMS, drivers can address low tire pressure before it becomes a safety concern. According to a study by the NHTSA, TPMS can potentially prevent up to 79 deaths and 10,365 injuries.
Forward Collision Warning Systems (FCW)
FCW systems use sensors and cameras to detect the distance between the truck and any vehicle or object in front of it. If the system detects that the truck is approaching the vehicle or object too quickly, it will alert the driver with visual and auditory warnings. The driver can then take appropriate action to avoid a collision.
Forward Collision Mitigation System (FCWM)
FCWM systems are like FCW systems but offer an additional layer of safety. In addition to warning the driver, FCWM systems can also automatically apply the brakes to reduce the speed of the truck and prevent a collision. These systems use a combination of sensors, cameras, and radar to detect an impending collision and initiate the braking process.
Both FCW and FCWM systems have been shown to be effective in reducing the number of collisions involving commercial trucks. According to a study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FCW systems can reduce rear-end collisions by up to 25%. Additionally, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that trucks equipped with FCWM systems had 41% fewer rear-end collisions than those without this technology.
How Artificial Intelligence is Used in Trucking Safety Technology
Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. And aside from all the chatbot chatter, AI has been making inroads in the trucking industry. AI and machine learning are increasingly being used in the trucking industry to improve safety. AI systems use advanced algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns that can help improve trucking safety. Here are a few ways in which AI is used in trucking safety:
One way in which AI is used in trucking safety is through predictive maintenance. Trucks require regular maintenance to operate safely, but it can be challenging for companies to schedule maintenance efficiently, especially with large fleets. Predictive maintenance systems use AI algorithms to analyze data from various sensors and identify potential issues before they become significant problems. By doing so, these systems can help companies avoid unexpected breakdowns and reduce the risk of accidents caused by mechanical failures.
Truck Driver Safety Monitoring
Another way in which AI is used in trucking safety is through truck driver safety monitoring. AI algorithms can analyze data from various sources, including cameras, sensors, and telematics systems, to identify potentially dangerous driver behavior. For example, AI systems can detect when a driver is distracted, fatigued, or driving aggressively. These systems can then alert the driver or fleet managers to take corrective action, such as taking a break or providing additional training.
AI systems can also be used to assess risk in real time. These systems use algorithms to analyze data from various sources, including weather conditions, traffic patterns, and road conditions, to identify potential hazards. By doing so, these systems can help drivers and fleet managers make informed decisions about when and where to drive, reducing the risk of accidents.
While still in the early stages of development, autonomous driving technology holds significant potential for improving trucking safety. Autonomous trucks use AI algorithms to analyze data from various sensors and make decisions about how to operate the vehicle. By eliminating human error, autonomous trucks could potentially reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted, fatigued, or inexperienced drivers.
AI is becoming increasingly important in the trucking industry, with numerous applications in improving safety. From predictive maintenance to risk assessment to driver safety monitoring, AI systems offer a powerful tool for improving trucking safety and reducing the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities on the road.
Why Your Trucking Company Should Invest in Safety Tech
Trucking safety technologies exist for a reason, and your trucking company should be investing in them. There are solid reasons for investing in safety technologies outside of simply improving your bottom line. Let’s examine them here:
Protecting Employees and the Public
Investing in safety technologies helps protect the company’s employees and the public from accidents and injuries. Commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, and accidents involving these trucks can be severe. Safety technologies such as electronic stability control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning systems can help prevent accidents and reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities.
Trucking companies can be held liable for accidents caused by their drivers. By investing in safety technologies, companies can reduce the risk of accidents and associated costs, including legal fees, insurance premiums, and damage to the company’s reputation.
Investing in safety technologies can also improve the company’s efficiency. For example, tire pressure monitoring systems can help ensure that trucks are operating at optimal performance levels, reducing fuel consumption, and improving the truck’s overall lifespan. Forward collision warning and mitigation systems can also help drivers avoid traffic jams and reduce idle time, which can improve the truck’s overall efficiency and reduce operating costs.
Trucking companies are subject to numerous regulations related to safety, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. By investing in safety technologies, companies can ensure that they are complying with these regulations. and avoiding potential fines and other penalties.
Finally, investing in safety technologies can help trucking companies attract and retain customers. Customers are increasingly concerned about safety. And companies that can demonstrate a commitment to safety are more likely to be seen as trustworthy and reliable. By investing in safety technologies, trucking companies can set themselves apart from the competition and attract new customers.
Here is a simple fact: investing in safety technologies is essential for trucking companies. Especially those looking to protect their employees and the public, reduce liability, improve efficiency, meet regulations, and attract customers. With numerous safety technologies available, trucking companies can choose the solutions that best fit their needs and budget. And they can do this while improving safety on the road. So, what are you waiting for?