Have you heard? The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security – better known within the industry as the Trucking Alliance – has come out stating that in order for fleets to qualify for membership, they must adopt what the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls “critical” to reducing crashes and fatalities.
The qualification standards surround four trucking-specific safety technologies:
- Lane Departure Warning Systems;
- Video Safety Systems;
- Automatic Emergency Brake Systems, and;
- Air Disc Brakes.
In their statement in support of these initiatives, the Trucking Alliance specifically mentioned situations wherein such technologies could make a significant difference were there a potential accident.
Lane departure warning systems reduce on-road crashes by helping to keep truck drivers in their lanes if they get drowsy or distracted. Technologies that utilize video and sensor systems are helpful for truck driver recruiting, training, retention, motivation, and so much more. They can also be used in real-time to alert the truck driver of potential safety situations.
Advanced sensors systems also alert truck drivers and technicians in situations where a mechanical failure is imminent. All of this combines to form a more effective level of safety for both truck driver, fleet, and every-day drivers on our nation’s highways.
While they are still not widespread in adoption, automatic emergency braking systems can detect when a tractor is in danger of hitting an object in front of it. If needed, the system can apply the appropriate amount of brake pressure independent of the truck driver. Air disc brakes play a similar safety role, by the simple fact that they are far superior to drum brakes.
In arguing their position on this, the Trucking Alliance’s Steve Williams stated that, “These technologies can make the highways safer for our drivers and the public and [that’s] why the Trucking Alliance carriers are installing them on new trucks. The AAA Foundation report shows how these automated technologies can help commercial drivers and motorists avoid accidents and return home safely to their families.”
One thing the AAA Foundation does highlight is that a good percentage of today’s modern fleets are already incorporating these technologies into their standard operating practices. Still, the Trucking Alliance is the first to make adoption of these technologies a requirement for entry into membership with the organization.
What Was in the Report
The AAA Foundation report took a careful look at these technologies and how they have made an impact on trucking safety measures. When the data is broken down, it isn’t hard to see why the Trucking Alliance felt this was a good time, and good issue, to take a stand on.
As an example, the report found that if automatic braking systems and air disc brakes together were installed on every truck, it would prevent:
- Over 7,700 accidents;
- 92 fatalities, and;
- 4,200 injuries.
The report also took a look at the kind of different universally-installed on-board camera and sensor and lane departure systems were installed. Per the report, this change would prevent:
- Over 69,300 large truck crashes;
- 408 fatalities, and;
- 24,105 injuries.
These are truly staggering numbers. Imagine the difference this would make in people’s lives. Of course, the AAA Foundation was overjoyed at this development, as can be seen in their statement in response to the move.
AAA president and CEO Marshall Doney was quoted as saying that, ““AAA applauds the Trucking Alliance for taking such an important step toward improving safety on U.S. roads. Adding key safety technologies to fleets is critical if we are to reverse the growing rate of crash deaths on our roadways.”
While no one expects these technologies to receive industry-wide adoption any time soon, every step closer and every new fleet that adopts one or all of them takes one step closer to better safety, which is good for everyone.