Recent advances in truck and car safety features

Each year, car manufacturers and designers are coming up with unique and innovative technologies to enhance safety in all automotive vehicles. This is excellent news for fleet managers, who need to keep track of their drivers safety at all times and manage any fleet maintenance tasks accordingly. 

While the majority of news media reports on safety advances in cars, fleet managers also frequently have to use trucks and so being updated on progress in truck features is just as important. It is no surprise that truck crashes can be more harmful both for fleet drivers and other motorists on the road. In the state of New South Wales alone, accidents involving heavy trucks resulted in 20 per cent of all fatalities on the road in 2012, according to the NSW Centre for Road Safety's report on heavy truck fatal crash trends. 

To help improve safety from both cars and trucks, fleet managers can keep an eye out for these features in any new vehicles they plan to add to their fleet.  

Cars 

Pedestrian-sensing technology is being developed in certain cars by Volvo and Toyota. This feature uses pre-collision sensors to detect when someone is standing or walking in front of a car and automatically activates the brakes.

Advanced internal features such as steering wheels equipped to detect drowsiness from drivers are also being added to some Nissan cars. This tech learns the motions and habits of the driver and sounds an alarm when these are broken. For instance, when they stop making small adjustments to the steering or their movement slows down significantly, the dashboard infotainment offers a visual and audio prompt to take a break. 

Geo-fencing technology is another leap forward for Nissan. Originally designed with parents of teenage drivers in mind, this feature tracks when a driver crosses a certain pre-set limit. This can be just as handy for monitoring fleet drivers. 

Trucks 

Lane departure warning systems are being installed into a wide range of trucks to combat the issue of large and heavy trucks drifting into another lane if drivers are tired. Scania trucks use this feature, and also take into account weather conditions in their alerting program. Volvo trucks also offer this service, using a windshield-mounted camera to track the road markings and sound an alert when these are unintentionally crossed. 

Volvo is also providing Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology, or VEST, to make emergency braking more efficient and safer by minimising the risks of a jackknife or rollover on both wet and dry roads. This is achieved by high-calibre sensors that accurately detect potential dangerous driving and respond by reducing the engine torque. They also activate the relevant brakes if needed.

These advances offer a partnership between fleet drivers and their vehicles' technology, to optimise safety and caution from both sides.