Trucking can be a rather dangerous business. Roads are unpredictable places, and truckers work long hours in very dangerous machines. Technology increasingly has a hand in keeping truck drivers safe from harm. Here are five safety features being fitted to trucks with safety in mind.
Automatic braking systems are a lifesaving technological innovation being introduced into the trucking industry. They use RADAR, LIDAR, or smart cameras to detect fast-approaching objects – slamming the brakes on if an object appears to be on a collision course with the truck.
Automatic braking systems are very effective. Trucks equipped with these systems experienced a decrease of around 71 percent in the amount of rear-end collisions they were part of, according to the Truck Safety Coalition.
Blind Spot Detection
Commercial trucks are extremely big. The biggest commercial vehicles used in the USA can be up to 72-feet long. There is no maximum legal length for tractor-trailer trucks in the United States. This means that truck blind spots can be incredibly large. As any driver will know, blind spots are very dangerous. Small vehicles and pedestrians can be trapped and crushed without the driver having any knowledge of it having happened. Blind spot cameras allow truck drivers to keep their sides clear at all times, preventing accidents.
Fatigue is a major killer of truck drivers all around the world. Long hours and poor driving conditions lead some drivers to lose focus and even pass out on the job and keep the average truck accident attorney extremely busy. Ultimately, an improvement in truck driver working conditions is the only foolproof way of stamping out fatigue-related accidents. Technology is helping in a small way. Fatigue detection technology alerts drivers when they appear to be drooping their heads often or sliding down in their chairs. It usually takes the form of a camera or wearable tech such as a headband or hat. Some drivers have complained that this technology infringes upon their autonomy by monitoring their behavior.
Although powerful headlights are sufficient for most night time driving, they are not good enough for truckers that need to complete extremely difficult maneuvers in pitch black. Infrared cameras positioned around the cab and trailer of a truck allow for near 360-degree night vision in all weather conditions.
Lane Departure Warning Systems
Truck drivers stray out of their lanes for many reasons. Fatigue caused by long hours, substance abuse, other drivers on the road, and just about any other stimuli you can think of end up with a truck veering out of its intended path. Staying in lane, however, is extremely important. Most lane departure warning systems only work on roads that are well marked. They use cameras to track road markings, alerting the driver if they pass over one. If the driver is indicating, the lane departure warning system typically becomes passive and will not inform the driver of a lane change.