As long as road accidents keep happening, Volvo Trucks will continue to find ways to improve road safety to achieve its vision of zero accidents. Using research and cutting-edge technologies, the aim is to help prevent road accidents before they happen.
Today’s trucks are typically equipped with an array of advanced technologies, including sensors, radars, cameras, and data processing capabilities, all of which have enabled the development of advanced safety systems designed to help prevent accidents before they happen. Many such systems have (or will soon) become legal requirements: however, advances are still being made and many of the solutions offered by Volvo Trucks go beyond the demands set by these requirements.
Are active safety systems making our roads safer?
A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US, showed that forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems reduce rear end collisions by more than 40 percent.
Anna Wrige Berling, Traffic & Product Safety Director at Volvo Trucks, has worked extensively with accident research for many years and is convinced that active safety systems make a difference. “For example, truck rollovers on curves due to speed being too high, used to be really common. But since electronic stability control became a legal requirement in the EU in 2015, these accidents have been reduced significantly.”
The key is to identify the most common types of accidents, understand their root causes and find ways different technologies can be used to help prevent them. For example, a common accident involving trucks and cyclists occurs when the truck is turning towards the passenger side. Research shows that the most common cause is poor visibility from the cab so an obvious solution is to find ways of making it easier for the driver to spot cyclists in this area – such as the Passenger corner camera or Side Collision Avoidance Support. if all the common accident types can be prevented, the result will be countless saved lives.
It’s obviously hugely beneficial to address high-risk situations before an accident occurs, and data can be a really useful tool for enabling that.
How data and digitalisation can contribute to safer truck driving
Advances in technology are also making it easier to identify risky behaviours and encourage safer driving, with data being able to reveal a lot about a driver’s technique or driving conditions. For example, frequent instances of harsh braking and accelerating might suggest that a driver is either applying an aggressive driving style or is often in a stressful situation. If their active safety systems are being activated often – even just the warnings – that also suggests a driver is at a higher risk of an accident.
Volvo Trucks’ Safety Service, available through Volvo Connect, collects and uses this kind of data to generate insights into driving behaviour. Through its reports, it’s possible to identify areas for improvement and take actions such as driver training, in order to reduce the risk of future accidents. For example, if a driver is frequently braking harshly, then they can receive training on how to drive with better anticipation, which will contribute to making them a safer driver overall. Or if an active safety system is often activated at a certain intersection, the company can look at ways of better handling it or even collaborate with local authorities and planners to find ways of making the intersection safer.
“Sometimes drivers can find themselves in potentially dangerous situations because of the road and traffic conditions, and sometimes they can even be unaware of unsafe driving practices,” says Johan Rundberg, Service Owner Fleet and Transport, Volvo Trucks. “Regardless, you want to identify these situations so you can investigate their root causes. It’s obviously hugely beneficial to address these high-risk situations before an accident occurs, and data can be a really useful tool for enabling that.”
Why drivers will always be pivotal to road safety
The most important contributor to road safety is the driver, who always needs to be attentive and responsive. However, even the most skilled and experienced drivers are still human and fallible, and they’re often impacted by circumstances outside of their control. The purpose of active safety systems is to support drivers and complement their skills. Afterall, one early warning or an extra second to react can easily be the difference between a near-miss and a fatal accident.
Want to know more about how to reduce the risk of common accidents with active safety systems? Download our white paper, which covers:
● Eight common road accidents and their causes.
● The primary active Volvo Trucks’ safety systems that can help prevent them.
● The secondary driver support systems that can help with safer driving.