The road can be a dangerous place, especially if you’re driving a commercial vehicle. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 4,440 fatal large truck and bus accidents in 2016.
To keep employees and other drivers safe, businesses are leveraging new technology. These technologies are helping commercial drivers stay safe while driving.
We’re still a long way from seeing autonomous trucks on the road, but self-driving cars are here. Some businesses are using vehicles with autopilot mode to help improve safety on the road, although not on a large scale.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction to avoiding accidents on the road. And with the SELF DRIVE Act now in place, commercial trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles are closer to becoming a reality.
Single-Command Voice Systems
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, voice command systems are less distracting than infotainment systems that require people to use manual controls and to glance at the screen.
One study found that with single-voice command vehicles, there was no increase in distraction with increasing age.
These systems make it easier for drivers to listen to music or make a hands-free phone call without having to go through multiple steps or taking their eyes off the road.
Lane Departure Warning
Lane jumping is dangerous, but it happens. Even if you avoid using your phone and keep your eyes on the road, distractions around you can catch your attention for a moment. A moment is all it takes to switch lanes.
That’s why many businesses are using vehicles with the lane departure warning feature. This feature warns drivers when they are drifting into a new lane without putting on a blinker. These systems monitor the markings on the road to make the decision.
More advanced systems go beyond just issuing a warning and actually intervene by braking or steering the vehicle to safety.
Emergency Brake Assist
An accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, you can’t get to the brakes in time to avoid a collision. But vehicles equipped with emergency brake assist can help mitigate a potential crisis or a deadly accident.
Emergency brake assist systems can identify when brakes are being applied in a panic state and will initiate a maximum brake faster than you would be able to. It works by assessing the force that is being applied by the driver on the brake. The European Commission says the widespread use of these systems can reduce normal stopping distance by 45%.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Blind spot monitoring systems are effective for commercial vehicles, like trucks and buses. Blind-spot monitors use ultrasonic sensors installed at the rear end of the vehicle. These systems provide drivers with real-time information about whether there’s something behind them and when they should avoid making a lane change.
Technology is making roads safer. Businesses are leveraging these developments to prevent employee accidents. With autonomous vehicles on the way, accidents may be far and few in between in the future.