It is hard to argue against the fact that being a truck driver is one of the hardest and most dangerous of all professions. Luckily, advancements in vehicle technology have finally begun to help make truckers’ lives easier and also much, much safer. The only problem is that not all truck drivers or trucking companies have fully embraced this new safety technology yet. This is unfortunate considering the fact that a recent study by AAA has shown that equipping all large trucks on the road with this advanced safety technology could lead to approximately 63,000 fewer crashes per year. With this in mind, here are four of the main ways that technology is helping to make the road safer for truckers and every other driver around them.
Monitor the Road and Driving Behavior with on-Board Video and Telematic Systems
One huge advancement has been in on-board monitoring systems, such as video cameras, sensors and other equipment. This type of equipment can be hugely helpful for trucking companies. These systems allow a company to constantly monitor the behavior and driving patterns of their employees, while also notifying both the company and driver of any mechanical problems or failures. At the same time, video monitors also enable drivers to constantly monitor their surroundings and eliminate any potential blind spots, and these video recordings can prove to be invaluable evidence in determining fault in the event of an accident.
Decrease Stopping Power with Air Disc Brakes
Another major advancement has been the development of powerful air disc brakes. Although many municipalities forbid their use within city limits, air disc brakes can be a huge help on the highway or otherwise when traveling at high speeds. The reason is that these brakes drastically reduce a truck’s stopping time and distance, which can help to either avoid an accident altogether or at least lessen the impact.
Prevent Collisions with Automatic Braking Systems
Many passenger vehicles are now being equipped with automatic braking systems, which use forward-facing sensors to detect possible hazards and can automatically apply the brakes to hopefully avoid a crash. This same type of system is also available for large trucks even if it is still mostly only found on new big rigs. With this type of system, the driver will first receive an alert to warn them of the pending crash. If the driver doesn’t immediately respond, the system will then automatically apply the brakes.
Stay Alert with Lane Departure Warnings
Lane departure warnings are probably the one technology that has shown the biggest potential to save lives. With this system, sensors will continuously detect the truck’s position inside its lane and then automatically warn the driver if they begin to drift over towards another lane or the shoulder. Truckers often end up driving long hours and falling asleep at the wheel is not uncommon, and this is just one potential problem that this type of safety system should hopefully be able to prevent.
Although most of this safety technology is still a long ways from becoming standard on every truck, the good news is that more and more vehicles are beginning to take advantage of it. Better still, most of these systems are available aftermarket. This means that trucking companies can easily implement it as part of their overall safety strategy, no matter whether their fleet consists solely of used Freightliner trucks or brand new vehicles.
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