Investing in active safety systems pays

I recently had the chance to drive trucks equipped with the latest active safety systems, including a new Cascadia with the most recent Detroit Assurance and a Volvo VNL with the new Volvo Active Driver Assist (VADA). You really have to experience these systems from behind the wheel to appreciate their capabilities.

When coupled with electronic stability, forward collision mitigation systems can greatly reduce or eliminate two of the most common types of accidents: rollovers and rear-enders.

There are many good reasons to adopt these systems.

Because it’s the right thing to do: Collision mitigation systems are always on and fully alert, which even the most safety-conscious driver cannot be. They’re inexpensive insurance for those instances when a driver is not on the top of their game and they can react faster than a human when circumstances beyond the truck driver’s control require an instantaneous reaction. Spec’ing active safety systems shows drivers you care about their wellbeing and as a driver, why wouldn’t you want to work for a company that’s investing in your safety?

Because government will force you to: Stability control will soon be required in Canada and there is a movement afoot south of the border to also regulate the use of collision mitigation systems with automatic braking. It’s only a matter of time before these technologies are mandated, as their ability to save lives has been proven.

Because your insurance premiums will be lower: In a recent chat with Angelique Magi of The Guarantee Company on the use of safety technologies by fleets, she revealed implementation of safety systems absolutely plays into the pricing of a fleet’s insurance. If you are spec’ing your trucks with the latest active safety systems, be sure to bring that up with your insurer so that your rates reflect the investment your business has made.

Because ambulance-chasing lawyers are waiting: If your truck is involved in a serious accident that could have been prevented by spec’ing readily available active safety systems, look out. Personal injury lawyers that specifically feed off trucking companies have become very knowledgeable about the technologies available on trucks today. History has shown that a favorable outcome will be unlikely for a company that has chosen to forego investing in something that can improve safety for the sake of economics. If a plaintiff’s attorney asks in front of a jury why your fleet didn’t invest in widely available safety systems that could’ve prevented a crash that occurred, saying it was too expensive isn’t going to be an adequate response.

Active safety systems have improved significantly in recent years. Previously, they had limited capabilities, such as functionality only when in cruise control and an inability to recognize stationary objects. The latest versions of these systems are far more advanced and effective and, in my opinion, well worth the investment. If you’re still not a believer, give them a try and you will see the benefits first-hand.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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