James Ward – Director, Safety and Regulatory Compliance
It goes without saying that truck safety technology has improved in many ways over the last 50 years. For instance, in 1969 most trucks were fitted with very little safety equipment. In 1969, seatbelts had become mandatory by the federal government and aside from seatbelts you also had padded dashboards, air-brakes and clearance lighting that were mandated. But that was pretty much it.
Fast forward to today and it’s a new world. While the overall design of trucks look similar to their ancestors, underneath it’s a whole different ball game. We now have what are called “Active Safety Systems.” Some active safety features that are available on commercial trucks are:
• Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) which detects the vehicle in front of a truck and automatically slows the truck down to maintain a safe distance.
• Lane Departure Warning (LDW) activates an audible warning when it detects drifting across lane markers without the use of a turn signal, alerting the driver to take corrective action.
• Electronic Stability Control (ESC) automatically corrects a truck’s suspension when it begins to lean too far to the left or right to avoid rollovers.
• Blind Spot Detection (BSD) uses radar on the sides of a truck to monitor vehicles that may be in a truck’s blind spot.
These are just a few of the systems that are now available on commercial trucks to help a driver stay safe on the road. A far cry from where we were in 1969.