DON MILLS, Ont. - Truckers, and in fact all highway users, will drive to a uniform level of risk say researchers at Queen's University.Experts in the realm of truck safety have used these findings to ...
DON MILLS, Ont. – Truckers, and in fact all highway users, will drive to a uniform level of risk say researchers at Queen’s University.
Experts in the realm of truck safety have used these findings to explain the ever-increasing speeds on Canada’s primary truck routes, such as the 400-series highways around the Toronto area. While speed is often the greatest determining factor in traffic accidents, other variables do play a part as well.
As part of the 39th annual Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar, delegates took time to ponder the latest statistics, equipment and initiatives related to truck safety in the hope of later bolstering their company’s safety performance.
“Driver actions are the critical factor,” says John Billing, a consultant to Transport Canada.
When a truck and car collide, Billing explains in about 66 per cent of cases, it is the motorist who is at fault. However, he also stresses that fully one-third of these incidents likely could have been avoided if the trucker involved had been behaving a little differently.
“There is an insufficient level of defensive driving (among truckers),” complains Billing.
In a perfect world increased training could correct this problem.
Since we all know there will always be less-than-attentive operators out there, manufacturers have been working overtime to develop technology to help compensate for these imperfections.
Don Coldwell, who works for Volvo Trucks Canada, points to Bendix’s infrared X-Vision and the Eaton VORAD collision avoidance system as two of the best when it comes to increasing the time a driver has to respond to potentially hazardous traffic conditions.
“An extra second to react would prevent about 90 per cent of the head-on and rear-end accidents truckers are involved in,” he explains.
While he also sees value in new products like backing cameras, rollover risk advisors and, electronic brake modulators, he looks to the industry’s lowest point to raise safety efforts.
The new advancements in wide-base tires – and more specifically Michelin’s X-Ones – are capable of preventing rollover accidents Coldwell contends.
“I see great potential for the super single tires,” he says. “They’re moved a little further out off the truck.”
This mounting practice leads to greater vehicle stability. Add this to the X-One’s enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced weight and Coldwell says you’ve got a great product the industry needs to capitalize on.
He adds it is important for a fleet to review all of its accident data before attempting any new initiatives or products.
“You’ve got to make sure it is right for you,” he says.