A recent article in US publication Transport Topics deals with a subject close to the heart of many a fleet operator – driver acceptance of technologies such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which are proven to reduce accidents and improve efficiencies, yet which have sometimes encountered resistance from those behind the wheel.
In revealing that drivers and fleets have now become more comfortable with these systems, the article presents some interesting insights from those at the coalface.
Over time, it says, drivers have come to realise the benefits of systems which alert them of impending danger and/or intervene to prevent collisions. They have learned “how these systems can actually relieve stress, complement their skills and even reduce the physical demands of operating an 80,000-pound vehicle for hours at a time.”
Greg Orr of truckload carrier CFI is quoted as saying “It’s a process. You always have a break-in period and familiarity time, but once [drivers] get used to the technology, understand and incorporate it into their skill set, they realize it helps make them better.”
It’s not so much resistance that’s at play, he says, but scepticism that the system can prove itself in two ways: “It does not diminish or get in the way of my ability to control and operate the truck, and it never fails or gives me false information.”
For another fleet operator, the key to accelerating acceptance of the technology is to test it with groups of drivers and invite their feedback at an early stage.
Explaining the value of ADAS, not just in reducing accidents, but in exonerating drivers in the case of collisions, is important too. Research suggests at least 80% of crashes involving commercial vehicles are the other driver’s fault – yet the drivers of those 80,000-pound vehicles often fear the blame will be cast in their direction by default.
Other fleets emphasise training and making sure drivers have a clear understanding of how an ADAS feature works and what it is intended to do.
In terms of which ADAS features are deemed most important, haulier ODFL had lane-departure warning and ESC as standard on its vehicles for many years, but it is the more recent addition of pedestrian collision warning technology which has proven most beneficial to its 11,000 drivers.
According to the article, younger drivers are the most likely to embrace ADAS technologies. Not only are they more tech-savvy, but they have not grown up with the ‘spirit of independence’ that drew many drivers into the business years ago. That independence has characterised the life of the truck driver for decades. It may explain why collision warning technology, such as offered by adas.ie, is often welcomed more readily than intervention technology, which is sometimes seen as taking away some of a driver’s prized autonomy.
Read the complete article here: