Consistent naming conventions help eliminate confusion

By Joseph Evangelist

Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange

The trucking industry is famous for using different names for the same thing. Usually, folks are able to figure out what is being talked about, but the various names can cause confusion.

I recently heard of an effort on the part of the automotive industry to try to come up with some standardization for advanced driver assistance systems. And while AAA, Consumer Reports, J.D. Power and the National Safety Council are focused on bringing consistency to the auto industry, I think their idea has some merit for trucking.

Consistency in naming seems especially smart when we are talking about safety-related technologies — after all, that is what advanced driver assistance systems are.

On the automotive side, AAA found that there are as many as 20 different names for a single advanced driver assistance system feature. It also found that marketing was prioritized over clarity of meaning. To be clear, the groups are not proposing that we do away with names for the manufacturer’s proprietary systems and packages. Rather they are hoping consistent names of features on window stickers, owner manuals and other marketing materials will allow purchasers to gain a better understanding of the technology and to be able to compare features more easily.

The groups’ efforts are focusing on five broad categories:

  • Driving control assistance
  • Collision warning
  • Collision intervention
  • Parking assistance
  • Other driver assistance systems

Within each of these categories are specific products like adaptive cruise control, active driving assistance and lane-keeping assistance; they are grouped under the driving control assistance heading. You can find the complete list on the National Safety Council website. Each of the specific technologies includes a basic definition of what it is designed to do.

Clarity is essential and having the same thing called by the same name allows for a more accurate comparison and provides some assurance that you will, in fact, get what you want.

I know that cars and trucks are different and what makes sense for the automotive industry does not necessarily make sense for the trucking industry. However, in this case, I think the car folks are onto something. With so much new technology coming on the market, wouldn’t it be nice if we had some consistency in what we call things? I sure think so.


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