By May 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and over the road trucks. This field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. Let’s take a look at what prompted this forward thinking change in safety regulation.
Once an accident has occurred, you can’t go back. The simple act of backing up a vehicle can turn tragic in a matter of seconds. But these common accidents can be avoided by utilizing a combination of safety technologies available today.
On average, backing accidents account for 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries every year. The NHTSA found that children under 5 years old make up a shocking 31 percent of these fatalities. Elderly adults over age 70 account for 26 percent. While these statistics focus heavily on accidents within the automotive industry, we must also consider the repercussions of backing accidents in heavy-duty industries. The larger the vehicle, the larger the blind zones. With the combination of these large blind zones and heavy duty vehicles operating on busy roads and worksites, the severity and probability of backing accidents occurring increases significantly.
Vision systems have become a critical part of heavy equipment safety. Currently, many OEMs are offering rear visibility cameras to help companies avoid unnecessary accidents and potential litigation. However, this technology is a passive approach to collision avoidance; camera/monitor systems require the attention of the equipment operator, putting the responsibility of the operator to identify an obstacle or person.
Active warning systems rely on sensor technology, such as object detection radar, to identify the potential danger. As soon as an object is detected the operator receives an alert, which gives them the opportunity to identify the potential threat using the vision system and make the appropriate action.
By integrating active and passive safety solutions, operators achieve the best of both worlds. Radar/vision fusion provides an object detection solution with both audible and visual alerts to actively notify an operator of potential collision danger. So regardless of where the operator’s attention is directed, if an object or person is in the vehicle’s blind zone, the operator will know and be able to react before a potential accident occurs.
As the new NHTSA regulation demonstrates, it’s time to take active measures to protect the safety and lives of those around us. By fusing active and passive technologies, we can increase the level of vigilance, and decrease the number of accidents in heavy-duty vehicle industries.
To improve you overall safety outlook, contact a blind spot specialist.