ELYRIA, Ohio — There’s no shortage of ideas on promoting fleet and highway safety across the trucking industry, and no clear-cut answers to the many questions that arise on the topic.
Some groups tout the importance of driver training, while others pronounce the superiority of technology; fleets report varying experiences when using the same types of systems; is crashworthiness or collision mitigation more valuable?
In the interest of furthering the discussion and improving safety for fleets, owner-operators, and all who share the road, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems has released “The Fleet Safety Equation,” a two-part paper authored by Fred Andersky, director of government and industry affairs, and director of customer solutions-controls, at Bendix.
Part One, titled “Thinking Beyond a One-Step Solution to Safety,” is currently available at the Bendix website and at knowledge-dock.com.
“Safety is multidimensional, whether you operate one vehicle or 100,000,” Andersky said. “Bendix’s goal in this paper is to provide a starting point for thinking about fleet safety in its entirety, enabling an open conversation to develop solutions that fit the wide-ranging needs of fleets and independent drivers across the trucking industry.”
Bendix, a North American developer and manufacturer of active safety and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles, recognizes and stresses the importance of ongoing industry dialogue, as well as fleet and owner-operator support, in key topics such as maximizing highway safety, Andersky said.
Peak fleet safety performance, the paper offers, is driven by optimizing a combination of technology, drivers, culture, maintenance, monitoring, and regulatory adherence over a period of time, while also factoring in the cost of crashes. “Thinking Beyond a One-Step Solution to Safety” explores these factors in detail, while the forthcoming second part, “Putting the Fleet Safety Equation to Work,” will consider how to assign values to the equation’s factors — and how those numbers might be used to quantify safety in practice.
“Although there has been great progress in enhancing highway safety, crashes involving heavy trucks are still an issue, as seen in reports from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,” Andersky said. “Too many crashes, too many injuries, and too many crash-related fatalities that may be preventable — with the right focus.”
The Bendix paper cites a parallel with the National Transportation Safety Board’s 2017-2018 “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements,” which contains multiple items to help enhance safety across transportation modes. “The NTSB’s list — with its concept of more than one approach to safety — reinforces the need to address a variety of factors when wishing to strengthen safety for the fleet and owner-operator,” Andersky said.
“It’s not one quick fix, but a combination of elements that, when combined, may add up to a safer fleet. And a safer fleet can mean a positive ROI through fewer crashes, better driver retention, and other benefits,” Andersky remarked. “The more a fleet does to optimize each of the variables in the Fleet Safety Equation, the higher the likelihood that it becomes safer, especially compared to those fleets that do not take the opportunity.”
Bendix invites feedback on the paper via email at FSE@bendix.com.
Further Bendix insight on advanced safety technology development, driver assistance systems, and commercial vehicle safety regulations — as well as a host of other product and service-related content via podcasts, blogs, videos, and more — can be found in the Bendix multimedia center at knowledge-dock.com.
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