Trucking companies are always looking for ways to make driving safer for those who operate large commercial trucks.
Telematics technology has received an enthusiastic thumbs-up from experts, but truck drivers are not totally on board. What is this technology, and how does it help to reduce crashes?
In the driver’s seat
Telematics technology enables a supervisor or manager to look inside the cab to monitor truck driver performance and see first-hand whether the driver is exhibiting any kind of high-risk behavior. Telematics programs can help to improve driver safety and reduce truck-related accidents.
Telematics technology extends to the implementation of advanced safety features for trucks such as collision avoidance systems. Some truck manufacturers are adding this as a standard feature when building their vehicles. Automatic braking systems are also becoming standard. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released a 2017 study estimating that automatic emergency braking systems on large trucks could prevent more than 5,200 crashes annually.
A study from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that many drivers did not change their driving habits due to the installation of a collision avoidance system. There is a wide range of new safety features for trucks, including dash camera systems, rear-view camera systems, rollover stability controls, active braking and radar-sensing adaptive cruise control. In short, some drivers find new technological advancements distracting.
The complacency issue
A truck-car collision can be catastrophic, causing serious injuries, especially to the occupants of smaller vehicles. New safety features for trucks can help reduce crashes. However, once drivers become used to telematics technology, they can become complacent, posing a risk to nearby motorists who should always remain alert when driving near large commercial trucks.