What if you could wave a magic wand and get rid of all the things that slow down your fleet. The things that make your drivers work harder and longer and cut into your company’s profits? Imagine rolling a truck into a repair bay before a tire blows out or the brakes fail. Imagine drivers being automatically guided to the most affordable fuel and best route. Imagine if the industry didn’t have to spend 51 million hours a year reviewing and storing paper logbooks. These and similar problems can take a serious bite out ofproductivity and profits. Fleet telematics is becoming the go-to solution for these and a host of other fleet-management challenges.
Ask safety experts what makes American roads so dangerous and they tend to reduce it down to three simple words: belts, booze, and speed. Of course, there are other contributors to traffic deaths. An improving economy has more people commuting to work by car. Mobile technology has led to a serious spike in distracted driving. And, in many parts of the U.S., a crumbling infrastructure makes the simple act of driving more dangerous. But those three perennial problems are the main causes behind a shocking 14% increase in traffic deaths in America from 2015 to 2017—amounting to more than 40,000 deaths per year.
PRECO Electronics is pleased to announce our sponsorship of the 2017 Fleet Safety Conference. A premiere industry event, the Fleet Safety Conference assembles all aspects of fleet management; including risk, safety, sales, and human resources. PRECO’s Bronze sponsorship brings attention to collision avoidance solutions and the valuable role safety technologies play in the daily operations of fleets to help improve operations and lower business costs.
PRECO Electronics is excited to announce the immediate availability of our expanded vision system offerings. The new suite of monitors and cameras, including PreView® Monitor 5 HD, PreView® Monitor 5 LD, PreView® Mini Cam, and PreView® Mirror Monitor, provides customers with a wide range of flexibility and the ability to integrate PreView® radar sensors to help mitigate accidents, improve fleet operations, and further assist with blind spot monitoring.
There is a safety arms race in progress. Advances in collision mitigation technology are being undermined by advances in personal technology that distract heavy-duty operators and people on the ground from noticing potentially dangerous situations.
Who knows what will happen in 2017, but we are hopeful that by the end of the year we will be closer to the time when man and machine are able to ensure every worker makes it home safely. When they do, we might be able to put a stop to—or at least slow down—the safety arms race.
Busy worksites include a dangerous mix of oversized trucks, service trucks, and people on the ground in constant motion trying to meet deadlines. With all of this activity, operators often focus on an immediate danger or maneuvering without realizing a new hazard has entered their blind zone.
The US Department of Labor has reported that 4,386 work fatalities were investigated in 2014, 20.5% of which were in construction-up 6 percent from 2013. Being struck-by an object was one of the leading causes of these construction worker deaths. According the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 75% of struck-by fatalities involved heavy equipment.
Despite improvements in safety training, the number of accidents and fatalities as a result of collisions between motorcyclists, pedestrians or cyclists and commercial trucks & buses has remained high over the past 30 years – even increasing in our biggest cities. In the USA alone there were 587 such deaths in 1989, 519 in 1999, and 531 in 2014, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Efforts by commercial fleets to improve vehicle safety are counteracted by more traffic and an increase in driver distraction – e.g. the use of handheld devices. It seems like people would rather scroll through their social media feed than pay attention to where they’re walking or driving.
Forward collision mitigation technologies—those that detect how far and fast a vehicle in front of you is moving, and automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision if you don’t—are rapidly advancing in the trucking industry. Good news, since forward collision avoidance systems can result in a 20% to 25% reduction in rear end fatalities and injuries. The even better news is that this number is expected to grow to 40% to 50% in the next generation of forward collision mitigation systems, and to 50% to 60% in future iterations.
Blind spots behind all moving vehicles and equipment can cause serious physical harm and financial damage. The problem will soon be addressed for passenger vehicles. In May 2018, a decade after the enabling legislation was passed, a law will go into effect requiring that all automotive vehicles be equipped with backup cameras and monitors. The Department of Transportation (DOT) law will apply to new vehicles under 10,000 pounds. It is not hard to imagine that these same requirements will soon be extended to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
Drivers and pedestrians are understandably nervous about the presence of semi-autonomous passenger cars and, soon, fully autonomous passenger cars on our roads. What would these same people think if they got a glimpse of the vehicles moving through underground mines from Wyoming to Western Australia? How would they feel about 100-ton driverless bulldozers moving in unison through cramped tunnels, filling their buckets with ore and highly trained operators in offices thousands of miles away? The use of autonomous and semi-autonomous equipment is more of what we might expect at a futuristic mining colony on Mars than at a present-day mine here on Planet Earth.
For a variety of reasons, the use of remotely controlled or programmed vehicles is slowly making its impact in the underground mining industry. Underground mining is dangerous. It is competitive. And it is taking place further and further beneath the earth’s crust. For all of these reasons, mine operators and the vendors who equip them are working furiously to get human operators out of the mines and into safer locations.