Trucker Fatalities Continue to Be On the Rise – Find the Safety Solution Right for Your Fleet

Many people who drive for work are continuing to leave their homes to ensure that essential supplies and services reach those in need during this difficult time. Unfortunately, trucker fatalities have been on the rise for a number of years, and with a higher demand being put on fleets during the current crisis we are facing globally, the use-case for safety suites has continued to spread. Now customers are demanding OEMs offer safety systems, or they may take their business elsewhere.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) traffic death report, they found fatalities involving large trucks have increased for the fourth consecutive year, and pedestrians killed in crashes involving large trucks increased by 13 percent last year. Overall deaths involving crashes with large trucks also continue to rise NHTSA data found:

  • In 2018, 885 large truck occupants died, the highest in more than 30 years.
  • In 2017, 4,369 people died in collisions with large trucks, and in 2018 the numbers went up more than 1% to 4,678 fatalities.

Of those on our roads today, pedestrians and cyclists are the most difficult to detect, both visually by the driver and via sensor technology. Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety noted, “We remain concerned but the increases in truck deaths, pedestrian deaths, and cyclists’ fatalities, (” But oddly enough, medium to heavy-duty trucks are only just beginning to adopt blind spot monitoring systems.

“The numbers are even more reason that we shouldn’t head in the direction of loosening safety rules proven to work to make trucking safer, and that help reduce the risks for people who share the road with trucks,” said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the Trucking Fatalities report.

Radar: Heavy-Duty vs. Automotive Solutions

In search of a solution, research says looking to the automotive industry and its new safety solutions may not be a viable option for OEMs, leading truck manufacturers, and fleets looking to adopt integrative proximity detection solutions to prevent collisions with VRUs.

According to a 2019 AAA study, the advanced technologies automakers have been putting into new cars to help avoid collisions are “ineffective.” Not only are these new automotive sensor systems unable to automatically brake for pedestrians crossing the road, they are also unable to actually detect pedestrians, resulting in a collision 60 percent of the time. When AAA tested the systems with child-sized “dummies,” a crash occurred 89 percent of the time. *All tests were conducted during daylight hours at speeds of 20 mph. At night, none of the model 2019 cars AAA tested were able to detect an adult pedestrian.

At the moment, AAA says automakers are equipping new vehicles with safety features, which can still alert drivers in some scenarios, reducing some types of incidents by up to 50 percent, while other features such as, rear-view cameras and blind spot alerts significantly reduce traffic deaths as well, according to the IIIHS (The Verge).

Not All Radar Detection Systems Are Alike

It is no wonder then that for a sensor to work for medium and heavy-duty trucks, the technology must be both reliable and accurate, while the system itself must be sturdy, all-weather, and all-terrain. No false-readings or non-detections like the automotive sensor systems display in the 2019 AAA study. The right radar system has no room for error; the right detector must be built for the industry, and flexible to meet the needs of your fleet – think PRECO’s PreView Radar.

PreView’s radar technology is engineered explicitly for large, heavy-duty mobile equipment. Unlike the sensor technology used in many systems on the market today, which are adopted and adapted from automotive. This difference is an important factor for those searching for proximity detection and blind spot systems to consider. With the everyday environment, terrain, and levels of activity encountered during the operation of such massive mobile equipment in mind; our radar systems are built for maximum reliability. 

Leading truck manufacturers such as DAF, and truck equipment manufacturers like MEKRA Lang, as well as Daimler, Scania, and others have been equipping fleets with safety features, blind spot radars, and proximity detection systems to reduce traffic deaths and protect VRUs. Coupled with other solutions, specific, multi-sensory, integrated systems are possible with PRECO’s PreView Radar technology.

As sensor technology continues to innovate, solutions like Side Defender®II serve as an example of the direction medium to heavy-duty trucking, autonomy, ADAS, and safety systems are headed in the future.

To learn more about our integrative solutions, connect with us today!