There are numerous factors that play a role in causing truck crashes. For instance, driver distraction, driver fatigue, boredom, following too close, driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, road rage, poor maintenance practices, or bad driver behaviors of others on the road. There may be more causes but these are the most common.
And with nuclear verdicts continuing to set precedents, many fleets are only one crash away from being put out of business. Fortunately, early crash warning systems show promising results in preventing or mitigating crash damages, injuries and deaths.
How Crash Avoidance Works
Truck crash avoidance systems may use cameras, lasers, radar, or other sensors to “see” the road ahead and issue warnings or even apply truck brakes to avoid collisions. Technological advances make crash avoidance possible. There are even systems that provide a driver with a full 360 degree vision around the truck and include night vision technology.
Some new truck models come with crash avoidance technology added as standard equipment. New trucks can be spec’d to include a system when ordered. Alternatively, the technology can be added by dealers, repair shops, and even fleet maintenance and repair facilities, offering retail sales and installation opportunities as systems can be added to any existing trucks.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control sounds an alarm when the truck is too close to the vehicle ahead. The system reduces speed automatically and pumps the truck brakes in an effort to avoid collision. It assists truck drivers in recognizing and responding to dangerous driving to avoid rear end crashes.
Automatic Emergency Braking
Automatic Emergency Braking systems (AEB) detect moving, stopped, and stationary objects in a truck’s path. They issue a warning to the driver and apply brakes if necessary to prevent or lessen the severity of a collision.
Cost Per Truck
Depending on the system chosen we have learned that crash avoidance technology can be added to an existing truck aftermarket for between $2,500 and $4,000 US. Although this may appear to be a prohibitive cost for a fleet, consider the alternative which could be the next nuclear verdict. And if it’s won against your truck you’ll wish you had opted for crash avoidance technology.
Common Causes of Truck Crashes
Alcohol and drug consumption are not so frequent as in past years as crash causes. However, they are still happening as stress in drivers continues to plague the industry. Drivers seek a respite from the tension even though consumption is against the law. And with marijuana legalized in many jurisdictions it tends to add to the trucking problem.
Road rage is another all too common cause of accidents. Someone cuts you off and hits the brakes. You stand on your brake pedal, gripping the steering wheel with both hands and vow to get the SOB. Before you know it you’re caught up in a dangerous battle. Hopefully that’s not your reaction. Rather, you know it happens every day and you just let it go. It will never be worth risking dangerous behavior.
These are largely preventable causes of truck crashes and so is poor maintenance. For a fleet to overlook preventive maintenance and not perform it according to regular schedules can be viewed by courts as criminal in a crash investigation. Someone in your shop will undoubtedly face prison time. And it will likely spell the end of your business. Is it really worth it when you consider the cost of not having the truck kept in top operating condition at all times. Whatever you do, don’t risk your business and peoples’ lives over it.
Help is Available
To help you meet scheduled preventive maintenance for each vehicle get a software based shop management system. It will enable you to proactively create PM schedules and checklists easily and will automatically provide alerts when each vehicle is due for inspection and maintenance.
And a shop management system will do much more for your shop by streamlining workflow and increasing productivity and uptime. Use it in support of collision avoidance for your fleet.
Collision avoidance systems are designed to augment and support a driver’s ability to be in control at all times. They remove the human element from dangerous driving practices and replace it with safety overrides that result in fewer crash scenarios making highways safer for all.