Yet can there be too much of a good thing? Murray says while several thousand U.S. fleets use at least one of the systems, much fewer carriers have multiple systems; in part because of possible sensory overload.
“If I’m coming up to traffic that is stopped abruptly... the collision warning system is going off because I’m coming up on a car, so now I’m going to start to turn the wheel to avoid a rear-end accident so my lane departure warning system is going to go off,” Murray says. “Then as the trailer or tractor starts to lean, the yaw sensors are going to say you may be getting into a roll-over situation.”
The answer is to keep working on a better way to incorporate all these safety systems, Murray says.
“We can’t necessarily wait for OEM-level systems to come out in five years; we’ve got to do something much sooner than that,” Murray says. “If we can develop some kind of aftermarket plug-and-play device that allows a carrier to comfortably invest in all (collision mitigation) technologies, knowing they’ll work together, that would move these technologies forward much more quickly.”
Murray says with the FMSCA looking to reduce fatal accidents, voluntary adoption of these technologies is a top industry priority. He says fleets need to stay in front of regulatory compliance before something is mandated by the government.
“Everyone from industry and government is eager to fast-track (these systems) so we can benefit out there quickly, because accidents are extremely costly,” he says.
In the February issue of Fleet Maintenance, we’ll take a look at other related safety systems for heavy duty vehicles—rollover and stability—and see how fleets are increasingly using these technologies to keep their trucks on the road and their businesses in the black.