ELYRIA, Ohio — No matter how advanced the vehicle, or how complex its safety system is, you’ve got to take care of the basics.
With this year’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance International Roadcheck coming up June 5-7, a look back at some key numbers from last year’s check emphasizes the importance of foundational maintenance in keeping vehicles on the road and operating safely.
“Almost 9,400 vehicles received out-of-service (OOS) violations during Roadcheck 2017, and more than half of those – 56.5 percent – were related to tires or wheels and brakes: the two categories at the base of what we call the hierarchy of safety system maintenance,” said Fred Andersky, director of government and industry affairs at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC. “And if those aren’t maintained properly, you can’t expect the best performance out of a vehicle’s higher-level safety technologies, from antilock brakes to stability and collision mitigation.”
As North America’s leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles, Bendix offers insight on how fleets and owner-operators can both prepare for this year’s Roadcheck and establish best practices now that will strengthen safety down the road.
Over more than three decades, International Roadcheck — the largest targeted commercial motor vehicle program in the world – has involved more than 1.5 million total roadside inspections in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. On average, the 72-hour period will see roughly 17 trucks and buses inspected every minute, with most of them undergoing the North American Standard Level 1 Inspection, a 37-step procedure that reviews both driver operating requirements and a vehicle’s mechanical fitness.
Vehicle safety practically begins at the tires – the contact points where all of a driver’s efforts and a truck’s control capabilities come down to physical interaction with the road. And one key aspect of tire maintenance is proper inflation.
“Running on an underinflated tire is going to increase stress on it and generate a higher internal running temperature, and both of those things increase the risk of a blowout,” said Jon Intagliata, product manager of tire pressure monitoring systems at Bendix. “In fact, industry studies have calculated that about 90 percent of tire failures can be attributed to underinflation.”
Use of a system such as the SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) by Bendix CVS can help reduce that risk by providing real-time pressure alerts to the driver. Bendix SmarTire systems use a wheel-mounted sensor that continuously monitors temperature as well, allowing alerts that compensate for changing operating conditions, and can point to other potential wheel-end issues that lead to high tire temperatures, such as a dragging brake.
Brake systems and brake adjustment accounted for 26.9 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively, of Roadcheck 2017’s vehicle OOS violations, reflecting a range of issues that are easily prevented through regular pre-trip inspections and preventive maintenance. Standard walk-arounds with an eye out for obvious problems like loose hoses or damaged brake components – air chambers or pushrods, for instance – can be crucial in catching a problem before it impacts a vehicle’s safety performance in a critical situation.
In the shop, air brake system inspections should include the following – all of which relate directly to items inspected during Roadcheck:
- Conducting a 90- to 100-psi brake application and listening for leaks
- Measuring chamber stroke at each wheel-end to ensure proper brake adjustment
- Examining friction for good condition and minimum thickness
“If you find it’s time to replace brake friction or drum brake shoes, it’s key to remember that your choice will impact not just the brakes, but the effectiveness of your higher-level safety systems,” said Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake. “It’s important to select components that will ensure the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements are met, especially if you’re talking about remaining compliant with the standards required of reduced stopping distance (RSD) braking systems.”
Similarly, Bendix recommends remanufactured drum brake shoes that have been re-coined back to their OEM-engineered shape, as opposed to those that have simply been relined with new friction. Relining a shoe that’s been exposed to the extreme force and temperature changes of normal use without having been re-coined can lead to reduced stopping power and premature wear.
With trucking safety technology evolving more quickly than ever on multiple fronts, and the regulatory environment shifting to keep pace, fleet safety programs need to incorporate up-to-date expert training and information. Certified technicians are irreplaceable members of a fleet team, providing insight and experience that are vital in keeping vehicles and drivers safe.
Bendix supports industry education through its in-person Bendix Brake Training School – an annual series of multi-day courses offered across North America – and its Bendix On-Line Brake School, as well as the Bendix Knowledge Dock®. At brake-school.com, participants can access more than 70 courses for free, including Bendix’s comprehensive and interactive Air Brake Training course. The Knowledge Dock at knowledge-dock.com complements Bendix’s online instruction with a multimedia repository of resources, including Bendix Tech Tips, videos, blog posts, podcasts, and white papers covering a wide swath of truck maintenance, operation, and safety information.
“Adoption of advanced safety systems, and the march to an automated future, isn’t slowing down,” Andersky said. “Just look at full stability: After we launched Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program in 2005, it took six years to deliver the first 100,000 – and our current pace is continually skyrocketing. Current and future collision mitigation technology is being built upon it. And yet getting the most out of this continued advancement will still require close attention to the technologies nearest to ground level – tires and brakes.”
Andersky noted that even with the wide range of integrated, advanced safety solutions, one thing remains unchanged: responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times. He stated that Bendix safety technologies complement safe driving practices. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training.
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, develops and supplies active safety technologies, energy management solutions and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix brand name for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles throughout North America. An industry pioneer, employing more than 3,200 people, Bendix is driven to deliver solutions for improved vehicle safety, performance, and overall operating cost.
Augmented reality game designed to attract next generation of techs
ORLANDO, Fla. — Design Interactive, providers of augmented and virtual reality-based fleet maintenance training solutions for the transportation industry, says it is providing a mobile augmented reality game of the Technology & Maintenance Council’s (TMC) National Technician Skills Competition. TMC is a technical council of the American Trucking Associations.
The game is called TMCSuperTech.
“We made the decision to create this game with Design Interactive for two primary reasons,” said Robert Braswell TMC executive director. “To promote awareness of the vocation among middle and high school students who make up the next generation of vehicle maintenance personnel and to help technicians prepare for the TMCSuperTech competition by providing a hands-on training experience for the skills challenges.”
Available on Android and Apple smartphones and tablets, Design Interactive’s gamified TMCSuperTech skills challenge uses AR technology to project a fictional city with a fleet of moving trucks. As the vehicles require service, they are brought into a virtual garage where the game will ask users playing the role of a technician to execute tasks inspired by TMCSuperTech events. Points are awarded for the time trucks are repaired and for the longer they remain in service.
“Augmented reality has already had a significant impact in other industries compared to traditional training methods,” said Matt Johnston, division head of commercial solutions for Design Interactive “For fleets, this technology helps lower labor and parts costs, increase vehicle uptime and shop productivity, and makes it easier to attract new technicians.”
Behind Design Interactive’s TMCSuperTech game experience is its Augmentor transportation focused training solution, which uses augmented reality to more effectively train technicians in the environment where service and repair tasks are performed. Augmentor sources content from fleet experts and ensures training consistency by bringing the best solutions onto the shop floor and enabling access to updated content for all technicians.
“With Augmentor, especially as new technologies continue increasing the complexity of the repairs, tools and skills needed by technicians, fleets can reduce classroom time and training costs,” continued Johnston. “It provides technicians with knowledge in a manner that is effective and productive and leads to higher quality and shorter times for vehicle diagnosis and repair processes.”
TMC is seeking sponsors to help support the adoption of its next-generation-workforce-focused product —TMCSuperTech: The Game. There are four levels of sponsorships available. TMCSuperTech is an annual two-day event organized by TMC’s Professional Technician Development Committee. The premier skills competition for professional commercial vehicle technicians from all segments of the trucking industry will be held September 15-19, 2019, at the Raleigh Convention Center in conjunction with TMC’s Fall Meeting.
For more information on sponsorships email email@example.com
North American Commercial Vehicle Show 2019 opens online registration
ATLANTA — The North American Commercial Vehicle Show, a biennial B2B trucking industry event focusing on the needs of fleet owners, managers and decision makers, said Wednesday that online registration is open for the 2019 trade show.
The NACV Show 2019 will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center from October 28-31. NACV Show 2019 exhibition space is predicted to exceed NACV Show 2017 event space by 60 percent.
Fleet industry professionals can register to attend online at https://nacvshow.com/registration/. Accredited media are eligible for complimentary registration.
“The NACV Show 2019 will showcase leading truck and trailer manufacturers and commercial vehicle parts and components suppliers and emerging technologies, including electric trucks and new innovations in safety, mileage and fleet maintenance,” said Carmen Diaz, show manager for the NACV Show. “Our team has worked tirelessly in developing content, both for the show floor and classroom, as well as interactive experiences to allow us to more than double our 2017 attendance.”
This year’s trade show features many new and enhanced attendee experiences targeting managers of both large and mid-size fleets, Diaz said. New on-floor experiences include a connectivity zone for demonstrating the latest technologies such as telematics, an “Ask the Expert” workshop where industry professionals will share their knowledge and educational programming theater free to all trade show attendees. New fee-based conference programs, featuring industry visionaries, will be held off the trade show floor immediately prior to the opening of NACV Show 2019.
The last day of the trade show will feature fleet operational bench-marking workshops, with more details released closer to the event.
The event’s organizers will publish the entire trade show floor plan and list of exhibitors online in early April.
NTI, WIT urge fleets to participate in WIT index data collection
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Transportation Institute (NTI) and Women In Trucking (WIT) are again partnering to facilitate the data collection and analysis of the WIT Index.
This annual survey of trucking companies studies the percentage of women working as professional drivers and in management positions within the trucking industry.
With the deadline fast approaching, NTI and WIT together issued a call to action for all fleets to participate in the survey.
“Our collaboration with Women In Trucking on the WIT Index has become a passion project for me and the members of our team at NTI,” said Leah Shaver, chief operating officer of NTI. “We launched the 2019 survey earlier this year, and I would strongly encourage every company that employs truck drivers in our industry to participate in the WIT Index. Opportunities are expanding for women across the industry, and one of the key long-term solutions to the driver shortage will be the further expansion of the employment of women at motor carriers. The response by carriers to the brief list of survey questions is the critical first step in the process of our work with the WIT Index. The data NTI collects from carriers will allow us to measure progress, identify best practices and continue to benchmark standards in our industry.”
NTI began working with the WIT Index in 2016 when Shaver joined the WIT board of directors. Ellen Voie, the President and CEO of WIT, sought to obtain the most detailed and accurate data available in the examination of employment trends for women found in the trucking industry. During each of the years that NTI has managed the survey and analysis aspects of the WIT Index, the participation among companies has grown and the results have shown continued increases in the percentage of women behind the wheel and in trucking management positions.
“We have seen firsthand the increased participation of women in all areas of trucking throughout the 12 years that the Women In Trucking Association has been in existence. Quantifying the growth of women within the workforce of the trucking industry is one of the most important tasks that we have as an association,’’ Voie said. “We are very grateful to be able to call upon the expertise of the National Transportation Institute for the 2019 update to the WIT Index. Once again, this year, NTI is donating its time and services to facilitate the survey, tabulate the results and provide WIT with the kind of trend analysis that helps our association in planning some of our key initiatives. The pro bono work that NTI performs on the WIT Index is a very important and generous contribution to our association and to the industry.”
Shaver is again overseeing all aspects of the data collection and analysis of the WIT Index. Throughout NTI’s work on the WIT Index for 2019, Shaver has emphasized that, as in past years, confidentiality is guaranteed for those carriers participating in the survey.
“The WIT Index allows us to accurately track progress and identify trends and best practices by fleets nationwide. The top issue plaguing every trucking company today is enough people. We’re operating at a historical low unemployment in the U.S., and there are more jobs than workers to fill them,” Shaver said. “There is so much opportunity to gain from recruiting and retaining more women, highlighted by the 2018 WIT Index results which revealed that fewer than eight percent of drivers were women. The 2019 results can be used by participating carriers in efforts to further address the driver shortage and their own strategy. NTI always does a deep dive into the data generated by the WIT Index survey, and that allows us to provide WIT and the participating fleets with the kind of analysis that can promote further growth of opportunities for women within our industry. Women are key to long-term solutions to our workforce shortage, and best practices to recruit and retain are likewise key to carrier success.”
“The WIT Index is a great opportunity for every fleet in our industry to contribute to the story of the continued growth taking place for women working in trucking,” Voie said. “I really look forward to this process. It’s an opportunity to accurately measure where the number of women involved in our industry stands. I see this time of year as an important call to action, and I would like to see every carrier in the nation participate in the WIT Index.”
The 2019 WIT Index Survey will run through April 8, 2019. The survey can be accessed through the following link: https://www.driverwages.com/wit-index/
The National Transportation Institute was founded in 1995 with a goal of providing accurate and authoritative mission-critical benchmarks to truckload carriers on company driver and owner-operator compensation history and changes.
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