Advanced Driver Assistance Systems- Strategies for Increasing- NTSB

 

On July 24th, the National Safety Council and the National Transportation Safety Board had a roundtable discussion on how commercial vehicles can use advanced driver assistance systems to save lives. The participants in this meeting included experts from the ADAS industry, advocacy groups, government, academia, and media. The meeting addressed strategies for increasing the implementation of this technology in the trucking industry. 

In most cases, truck crashes can be completely prevented or mitigated if the trucks involved in the accidents had ADAS. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems technologies use technologies that have been around since the 1990s in some form or shape. As such, this conversation was no doubt overdue. 

Combined Forces 

The meeting brought together the major industry players that joined forces in discussing ways to increase the implementation of ADAS in trucking fleets. Some of the major benefits of these technologies include automatic emergency braking and collision warning which are almost indisputable. 

Truck manufacturers, technology suppliers, government officials, fleet owners, trucking associations, highway safety advocates, and trucking associations were some of the players in this meeting. The takeaway that was universally agreed on by the group was that this technology is effective and improved. As such, there were no reasons highlighted for not implementing it in trick fleets. 

Some participants in this meeting noted that what-ifs should not hold up the proliferation of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems technologies. The longer the stakeholders wait, the more crashes will continue to happen. Some stakeholders noted that they can’t wait for the perfection of this technology. This was in response to the claims of false alerts that happen occasionally. 

The current industry status was discussed. This included driver acceptance and training, implementation challenges, and regulation benefits versus voluntary compliance, as well as, strategies for increasing the implementation. 

Key Lessons 

Perhaps, the major question is, what did the participants learn from the discussions? Well, several things can be learned from the discussions of this meeting. They include the following: 

  • There are strong cases for a positive return on investment and accident reduction. And, more of these should be shared to encourage the implementation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems in fleet trucks. Accidents have tremendous legal costs. These should be the major incentives for the adoption of ADAS. A small fleet can get out of business after a small accident due to the legal costs that follow. Businesses should be reminded about this constantly to encourage them to implement ADAS. 
  • This technology brings driver assistance systems. These are not the same as driver replacement systems. Therefore, driver training and acceptance are very important. Drivers must understand the meaning of certain alerts and the limitations of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Performance standards are important components for universally understood units. 
  • The implementation process for the regulations will need speed. Eventually, all fleets should be reached and a level playing ground created. Meanwhile, a voluntary compliance model that works exists. An example of this is the passenger vehicle AEB commitment. 
  • These systems provide data that can be used to improve them, as well as, enable them to understand the activities of the driver and validate their advantages. Essentially, there is more that should be done when it comes to data use and retention. 
  • ADAS technology can only be successful if the underlying stability and braking systems are successful because they are integrated with them. For instance, the mandate of electronic stability control should be implemented and brakes properly maintained. 

Concerns of the General Public 

This event targeted truck fleets. However, it also discussed concerns from the general public. That’s because truck crashes disproportionately cause fatalities just like crashes that involve passenger vehicles. For instance, there was an 8% increase in the number of trucks that had fatal crushes from 2014 to 2015. The number of trucks that were involved in crashes increased to 4050 from 3749. The number of trucks whose crashes caused injuries was 87,000. 

The members of the public traveling beside, in front of, and behind the trucks should lead in the campaign to have large trucks implement Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. This technology can warn the drivers of these trucks or even stop them if other vehicles get into their lanes or stop suddenly. 

The makers of passenger vehicles committed to the installation of AEB in passenger cars by 2022. Some automakers even plan to do so earlier than 2022. As such, the trucking industry should also do the same. And the NTSB is focused on facilitating their efforts. 

The entire trucking industry ought to step up to the challenge and send the message that the major stakeholders are concerned about safety. This is a true story based on the discussions that have taken place between truck drivers and operators. 

The Bottom Line

The trucking industry is vital to the economy. The implementation of strategies for increasing the adoption of the Advanced Driver Assistance systems is a great way to enhance the safety of truck drivers and other road users. Holding meetings that bring the major players together is a great way to encourage the adoption of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems in the trucking industry.

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