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Truck Driving Safety Expert Witness:
"Some Truck Safety Systems In Practice"

FMCSR Expert / Trucking Safety Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

Volvo Trucks introduced a built in system to stop a semi-truck as it approached something in its way. This active braking system,created by Volvo's Trucks Division, was introduced in 2012. The collision warning and emergency brake system helps prevent an 80,000 pound truck from rear-ending a slowed or stationary vehicle. According to Volvo, the system employs radar to detect vehicles ahead. The system then warns the driver with a blinking red light. If the driver fails to notice and take action, the system then adds an audio alert. If those alerts fail, Volvo Trucks' system takes action. First it gently applies the brakes, slowing the truck down. If the system determines a collision is likely, it uses the emergency brakes to bring the truck to a full stop. According to Volvo the system works in trucks moving at up to roughly 43 mph.

Integrated Vehicle Based Safety System - Truck Safety Expert Witness

Now Con-Way Freight , whose headquarters is in Ann Arbor, MI has chosen to install a safety system in all of their commercial trucks. Con-Way Freight (CWF), is a less-than-truckload (LTL) motor carrier and subsidiary of Con-Way Inc. (NYSE:CNW) a $5.5 billion diversified freight transportation and logistics services company. According to the CWF website, CWF has 15,000professional drivers operating its 8,600-truck fleet from 425 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

In March of 2014, CWF announced it will deploy the Drive Safe Systems™ (DSS) safety suite of products on its tractors.

DSS has several components. CWF has chosen to implement five technologies:

  1. Event Recorders: These devices are windshield mounted cameras capture safety related driving events. This will allow CWF to see and review safety events that happen with their Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV).
  2. Lane Departure Monitoring: This technology audibly warns the driver if their CMV is leaving its current lane.
  3. Collision Avoidance: A forward looking radar system warns the truck driver if they are following too close and helps keep the proper distance between the truck and other vehicles.
  4. Roll Stability Control: Sensors automatically adjust the engine speed to reduce instability of the tractor and trailer due to speed.
  5. On-board Performance: This monitoring system assists the driver in developing best practices which lead to improved fuel efficiency and safety.

One of the simplest vehicle safety technologies to implement are camera systems. These systems generally include forward out of cab and rea rfacing in-cab cameras. Cameras monitor and capture the outside of the vehicle as well as the drivers actions inside the cab. According to a study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, cameras mounted in vehicles which weigh more than 10,000 pounds would save approximately 800 lives and reduce injuries related to truck accidents by an estimated 38,000. This study was sponsored by Lytx, Inc. headquartered in San Diego, California, which manufactures the DriveCam system of on-board cameras.

Jeffrey S. Hickman, group leader for the Behavioral Analysis and Applications Group under the Center for Truck and Bus Safety at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute headed up the study. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was also studied.

According to research done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), human error is a cause of more than 90 percent of all truck-involved crashes. Therefore it makes sense by providing the commercial driver with warnings and systems which take corrective action, some accidents could be avoided.

Evidence Solutions, Inc. has the know-how and ability to examine many types of systems found on trucks. Each system is unique but may contain critical evidence to prove your trucking case. For more information about data found in truck accidents, contact our Electronic Evidence Division: 866-795-7166

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