Fleet managers are constantly looking at ways to prevent crashes in which large commercial trucks are involved.
Many trucking companies believe that the latest technology, such as Heavy Vehicle Crash Avoidance Systems, can help reduce often devastating accidents. But truck drivers first have to use them.
Why truck crashes happen
There are many reasons for an 18-wheeler to crash. Conditions such as inclement weather or defective roadways could contribute to an accident. A component could fail on a truck due to a maintenance issue. Overloading could cause cargo to shift. Longer routes can result in driver fatigue. Fleet managers also cite inexperienced drivers as a major reason for crashes.
A look at new technology
New technology for big commercial trucks includes dash camera and rear-view camera systems, collision warning systems, active braking systems and roll-over stability controls. It is all designed to reduce accidents, but many truck drivers find the technology distracting. Findings from a 2016 Field Study of Heavy Vehicle Crash Avoidance Systems conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration showed that when using such a system, truckers did not substantially alter their ingrained driving behavior.
The National Safety Board believes that transportation going forward will rely mainly on eliminating distracted driving and implementing crash avoidance systems. Much new technology is available, including rear parking sensors, forward collision warning systems, lane-keep assistance, pedestrian detection and blind-spot monitoring. Fleet managers know that educating drivers in the use of these systems is essential for better truck safety and fewer devastating collisions.