According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), statistics show that commercial drivers are three times more likely to have an accident or ‘safety-critical event’ if they’re reaching for a cell phone, and six times more likely if they’re dialing.
As part of the effort to reduce distracted driving and enhance safety, hands-free calling is now the name of the game in the trucking industry. To help encourage hands-free calling, there are now stiff fines for drivers of up to $2,750 in the United States and smaller, yet significant fines in Canada, for using a hand-held cell phone while driving. Fleets may face a penalty of up to $11,000 if they fail to require their drivers to comply with the new U.S. cell phone regulations.
This is where the Kenworth NavPlus system can help. “Communication is still vitally important to drivers, and Kenworth NavPlus fully complies with U.S. federal and Canadian provincial regulations by offering hands-free cell phone calls via Bluetooth connections and voice commands,” said Michelle Harry, Kenworth special projects marketing manager.
NavPlus is Kenworth’s multi-function communication system. The system offers hands-free phone capability, true-truck navigation, iPod and MP3 integration, diagnostics, gauges, camera inputs and a host of other features. NavPlus is standard equipment on Kenworth Class 8 trucks ordered with the premium interior package, and is available as an option on all Kenworth trucks.
“Once drivers see and use NavPlus, they’ll have a hard time going back to a truck without the system,” said Harry. “It’s that driver friendly and is loaded with tools that help make driving easier, safer and more productive.”
According to Harry, the calling capabilities of Kenworth NavPlus and integration with Bluetooth phones are similar to what you’d find in luxury automobiles. “We set up NavPlus so it’s easy to import contacts automatically from your cell phone,” she said. “Once imported, a driver merely uses voice commands to make calls. The system also logs phone calls for easy reference and callbacks, and the built-in microphone and speaker are clear and distortion free.”
Since many trucks are used in slip seat operations, or with driver teams, NavPlus can remember and work with up to 10 Bluetooth devices.
To learn more about the Kenworth NavPlus system and see a virtual demonstration, go to: www.kenworth.com/navPlus.asp (and click the display panel).