July 10-16 is Operation Safe Driver Week

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Supports Professional Truck Drivers with Technology and Training.

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Operation Safe Driver Week, July 10-16 this year, is a safe-driving awareness and outreach initiative aimed at improving driving behaviors of passenger and commercial motor vehicle drivers. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) works with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) during the week to promote traffic law and safety belt enforcement, operating safely around commercial vehicles, roadside inspections, regulatory compliance, and commercial driver education.

“There is simply no bigger factor in commercial vehicle and highway safety than the person driving,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix director of Government and Industry Affairs. “And while driver assistance technologies are advancing rapidly, nothing on the road today is remotely close to fully replacing a skilled and alert driver, which is why we work so hard to provide equipment and training that enables them to perform at their best. It’s also why we thank them every chance we get, and why we support the goals of Operation Safe Driver Week.”

Equipping Drivers in Support of Safety

The FMCSA’s most recent Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report found that the number of crashes involving large trucks – particularly Class 7 and 8 vehicles – continued to climb in 2019, the most recent year for available statistics. That year, there were more than a half-million crashes involving large trucks, and more than 134,000 of them involved trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 26,000 pounds.

“A fully loaded combination vehicle can weigh 20-30 times more than a car, resulting in greater impact force when a collision occurs,” Andersky observed. “Avoiding these types of crashes in the first place is what will help deliver reductions in fatalities, injuries, and property damage. Along with safe driving practices, technologies like forward collision mitigation are proven to help safe drivers mitigate truck front-leading crashes, and blind spot technologies can help mitigate sideswipe incidents.

“Even with systems like electronic stability control being mandated and truck manufacturers making collision mitigation standard, it can take years or even decades before most of the vehicles on the road are equipped with safety technologies. And that’s why we still need to focus our industry’s safety efforts on supporting drivers and their skills – along with their understanding of what technologies can and can’t do to help them on the road.”

As it becomes increasingly important to prepare and educate drivers on how leading-edge safety systems work and their capabilities on the road, Bendix has expanded its driver-focused efforts. These include on-site demonstrations, ride-and-drive training sessions, videos exploring its systems and explaining the in-cab experience at its YouTube channel, and the company’s “Truck Talk with Bendix” podcast’s “Driver Insight Series” collection of episodes. All these resources are designed to help ensure safety systems are used correctly and to their maximum benefit.

Safety technologies complement safe driving practices. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.

Driver Assistance – Not Replacement

“Over the past decade, fleets have reported that equipping their tractors with Wingman collision mitigation technologies – as well as training their drivers on the technology – has resulted in significant reductions in rear-end collisions, as well as decreased severity of those that did occur,” said TJ Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions, controls. “Even the best drivers on the road sometimes need help: That’s where these assistance systems come in, helping drivers to recognize a potential collision and take appropriate actions to potentially avoid it.”

Wingman Fusion – the company’s flagship system – integrates information from forward-facing radar, video, and the vehicle’s braking system, combining and cross-checking the data from sensors that work together and not just in parallel. By creating a detailed and more accurate picture from this information, Fusion delivers enhanced autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, lane departure warning, and alerts when speeding – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Severe event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted and is accessible via SafetyDirect for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel.

Thomas noted the Wingman Fusion system now has even more capabilities, including multi-lane autonomous emergency braking, highway departure warning and braking, and advanced adaptive cruise control features to improve driver convenience.

Fusion is built on the foundational technology of the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). This full-stability system helps drivers avoid some situations, including rollovers, loss-of-control, and sideswipe crashes. Fusion comes standard on several major North American on-highway makes and models.

Additionally, Fusion’s forward-facing camera enables the system to read roadside speed limit signs and provide Overspeed Alert and Action. Speeding is a key area of enforcement focus during Operation Safe Driver Week.

Keeping Everyone Rolling Safely

“Supporting driver safety also means working hand-in-hand with fleets on training and educational programs for both drivers and the technicians responsible for keeping trucks in safe operating condition,” Andersky said. “Regular vehicle maintenance by properly trained professionals is vital to maximizing highway safety.”

Bendix’s long-running Brake Training School provides in-person, hands-on training across the United States, and offers online sessions. On-site maintenance demonstrations, detailed system explorations, and training covering troubleshooting and system maintenance are also available through Bendix. At brake-school.com, the free On-Line Brake School serves as a 24/7/365 training portal with dozens of maintenance courses and tests for sharpening technical knowledge and skills. Custom education plans and nearly 90 training courses are available for fleets and industry organizations, and more than 100,000 registered users have taken part. Students can access the curriculum covering the full spectrum of braking and vehicle safety system topics.

To bolster fleets’ driver support and training, online platform SafetyDirect provides fleet operators with comprehensive driver feedback, including videos of triggered severe events. SafetyDirect enables the development of specific, customized driver support and training programs by delivering key insights into common driving behaviors and trends across a fleet’s operation. The SafetyDirect system’s SDP5 Full processor powers digital video recording, enables a driver-facing camera option, and better preserves data in the event of a power loss through the addition of a battery backup. 

Additional insight on advanced safety technology development, driver assistance systems, and commercial vehicle safety regulations can be found at knowledge-dock.com.