ADAS and Dash Cameras Credited with Increasing Fleet Safety
Since the inception of the technology, manufacturers of ADAS systems and dash cameras have claimed that their products can reduce collisions and increase safety on the road. And many commercial fleets have begun to equip their vehicles with such systems. However, are these claims based on facts, or just empty marketing promises.
According to a panel of experts at the annual Technology & Maintenance Council by the American Trucking Association, in-vehicle camera systems and Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can reduce liability and increase safety for commercial fleets. At the event were representatives from industry leaders, such as Covenant Transport and Southeastern Freight Lines.
Rick Reinoehl, senior vice president of safety and risk management at Covenant Transport stated that his company had seen a 40% reduction in rollovers due to Electronic Stability Controls (ESC) and a 14% reduction in trucks drifting off the road after installing Lane Departure Warnings (LDW). They also reported 23% fewer accidents after installing various ADAS technologies in their fleet.
Southeastern Freight Lines reported similar results, with a 2.48 times lower accident rate for vehicles equipped with ADAS systems than those that didn’t.
However, merely installing ADAS into fleet vehicles won’t magically improve fleet safety. Driver training, stronger policies, and safety programs are all necessary to get the most benefit from the technology. At Southeastern Freight Lines, one common problem they experienced was that fleet drivers would often tamper with systems that notified them of maintenance issues. Rather than hear the alerts and audible warnings of the system, many drivers would try to disconnect them.
This led the company to put a zero-tolerance policy in place to ensure that drivers would not damage or tamper with the systems. They even had to be let some drivers go to send the message that they were serious about the new rules. One of the most effective methods of improving driver acceptance of the new systems was by sharing cases in which drivers were proven innocent by video footage.
“They become believers quickly,” said Reynolds as he spoke about fleet camera systems. “Without video, you don’t have the same level of accountability.”
Many drivers behave differently when they know they’re being monitored, but the systems aren’t designed to punish them—they’re designed to keep them safe and assist them with their work.
At the end of the day, the key to operating a safe fleet comes down to both implementing technology and training drivers. “One hundred percent of you do have a collision mitigation system on your trucks. And that collision mitigation system is your driver,” said Brian Daniels, manager of powertrain and component product marketing at Detroit.
In conclusion, technology alone isn’t enough to protect your fleet. It’s necessary to train drivers on how to use it and change their opinions regarding these new systems. Some may feel like ADAS and dash cameras are an extension of “Big Brother.” The truth is that fleet managers want to increase safety and profit margins, while reducing costs.