Tech Talk

Check your tech: Top 5 trucking safety systems

Truck safety begins with your pre-start checklist. This guide from NTI provides information on the technologies designed to keep you safe, why they matter and what to look out for to check that they’re working.

Drive, don’t fly

Even though your seatbelt is not a new technology, it’s still the number-one safety device.

Three-point seatbelts, or seatbelts that go over the shoulder and lap, with pretensioner and load limiter technology, give you the best protection in the event of a crash.

A pretensioner tightens and locks the seatbelt in place, which keeps you in your seat and reduces your chances of being thrown against the wheel, dashboard, door or roof. Load limiters then loosen the webbing to prevent your seatbelt from over-tightening and putting too much force on your chest.

CHECK: To test if your seatbelt is working properly, check that it retracts freely and is not faded or frayed.

DATA: If you’re not wearing a seatbelt, you’re 8x more likely to die in a crash.

How safe is your office?

Do you know if your cab is R29 compliant? R29 is a cab integrity test that checks how safe you are in a collision.

While not mandated in Australia, R29 compliance is a requirement to access certain regulatory concessions, and most new trucks comply with the strength requirements.

CHECK: How do you know if your cab is R29 compliant? Normally there is a sticker in one of the door jambs to show the cab conforms to UN/ECE Regulation No. 29.

DATA: R29-compliant cabs can reduce fatalities in truck crashes by 35 per cent.

Always brake straight

ABS uses wheel speed sensors to detect when wheels have locked up under heavy braking and then uses electrically controlled actuators to release and re-apply the brakes.

A locked wheel does not provide as much stopping power, so ABS can shorten stopping distances. It also improves directional control under emergency braking and greatly reduces the likelihood of trailers jack-knifing under brakes.

Other braking technologies include load-sensing proportioning, which adjusts braking force to match the load carried by each axle or axle group, and electronic braking systems (EBS).

EBS also play a role in stability control and brake distribution.

CHECK: If the ABS is working properly, the ABS warning light on the dash should light up briefly when you turn the key to the ‘on’ position. If the light stays on, your ABS should be reported.

DATA: If you need to brake suddenly, you’re 18 per cent more likely to be involved in a multi-vehicle crash without operational ABS.

Rollover on your bunk, not the road

Electronic Stability Control and Trailer Stability Control systems can prevent rollovers and loss of control.

Using accelerometers and wheel speed sensors, stability control systems can detect high G-force turning events and modulate the vehicle’s brakes to attempt to stabilise the vehicle.

This can involve braking individual wheels to reduce sway and, if needed, pull a swerving trailer back on track.

The same sensors also help with traction control, helping avoid wheelspin while accelerating.

CHECK: Like ABS, if the ESC/TSC warning light stays on, report it.

DATA: Operational ESC and TSC systems can make you up to 35 per cent less likely to crash.

DMS is on your side

Fatigue and driver distraction are common causes of heavy vehicle accidents.

Driver Monitoring Systems can help save you from crashing due to distraction, drowsiness, and more.

DMS use cameras, facial recognition and artificial intelligence to judge if you’re becoming fatigued or even falling asleep. They sound alerts to bring your attention back to the road.

CHECK: Make sure your device is not obstructed.

DATA: Data from Seeing Machines have logged more than 8 million distraction events in the last 12 months.

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