Vehicle Safety Technologies

There is no doubt that intelligent vehicle safety technologies have made heavy trucks safer than ever before. Two such technologies that have been shown to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities, and thus help reduce operational costs – are...


One of Mobile Awareness’ offerings, VisionStat Plus, is a vehicle safety technology that integrates an obstacle detection sensor system with a rearview (back-up) camera system to aid in preventing backing accidents.

With VisionStat Plus, distance and proximity information from the vehicle-mounted sensors are displayed on the in-cab monitor and the driver is provided both audio and visual information when an obstacle is detected at the rear of the vehicle, he says. The driver sees the exact distance - accurate to 1 inch – to the closest object on the monitor.

Obstacle detection systems that offer “active” (audible where the driver is warned without having to view the monitor) warnings are extremely effective for backing environments, notes Stotsenburg. The system detects both “hard” objects as well as “soft” (people), and can improve the efficiency of backing into docks, as well as in unfamiliar customer locations.

TRACKING TECHNOLOGY

Another type of technology that can help reduce accidents is satellite- and cellular-based mobile two-way communication tracking systems that wirelessly emit, transmit and receive information to monitor and track vehicles in real-time, as well as GPS-based fleet management solutions.

By way of example, Telogis Fleet, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) GPS fleet management system allows fleet managers to enter business rules and receive notifications of violations so they can better monitor operations, says Sean McCormick, a product manager with Telogis, a platform for location intelligence. Alerts can be defined on a range of parameters, including key employee/asset safety factors, such as hard braking, hard swerving and speeding against the posted speed limit.

Telogis Fleet also helps with employee safety as it has the ability to integrate features such as panic buttons that can provide immediate notification to the right person so the right protocol can be followed to ensure worker safety.

In addition, routing solutions can help companies plan optimal routes and schedules, and there is an inherent safety factor to that, he says. “Optimal routes mean trucks are spending less time on the road. Less time on the road means less exposure to potential safety violations and incidents.”

There are routing solutions that feature real-time traffic and weather, which allows fleet managers to re-route trucks in the field based on congestion, and alert drivers to the potential of dangerous weather moving through the area.

Telogis Fleet’s new “What Happened Here” feature is a tool that simplifies the process of researching incidents at specific locations/times, says McCormick. It quickly accesses historical data to help expedite investigations into purported violations or incidents involving a company’s vehicles.

MANAGEMENT TOOLS

Beyond safety, mobile communications tracking systems can enhance security and efficiency of commercial vehicle operations by providing information about asset locations and a direct means of communication between carrier personnel and drivers. By closely tracking vehicles and assets, opportunities for cargo and vehicle theft can be reduced.

Fleet management software, such as XataNet and Xata, use mobile communication tracking systems to provide real-time data that tells exactly where vehicles are - whether they’re parked in the yard, idling at a customer’s location or traveling down the interstate, says Christian Schenk, vice president of product marketing for Xata Corporation, a company that provides intuitive, automated fleet management software solutions to the trucking industry. Knowing where a fleet’s drivers and vehicles are - and what they’re doing - at all times helps keep them safe and secure, and also helps reduce theft.

“Thanks to asset tracking, fleet managers now have an easy way to locate their vehicles, he says, and they can choose how they want to view that data: road, aerial or bird’s eye mapping views, or even last-known location,” he says. “This same mobile communications technology can be used by fleet managers, dispatchers and drivers to keep in touch with one another.”

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