By Art Liggio, President and CEO, Driving Dynamics
Have you ever read the technology disclaimers that come with the vehicles put into your fleet selectors? Here are a few excerpts of disclaimers found in vehicle owner’s manuals, which address the use of vehicle safety technologies:
- Lane Departure Warning is designed to read lane markers under certain conditions and provide visual and audible alerts when lane departure is detected. It is not a collision-avoidance system or a substitute for safe and attentive driving. Effectiveness depends on many factors.
- The Pedestrian Detection System is designed to detect a pedestrian ahead of the vehicle, determine if impact is imminent and help reduce speed. It is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors, such as speed, size and position of pedestrians, driver input and weather, light and road conditions
- Drivers should always be responsible for their own safe driving. Please always pay attention to your surroundings and drive safely. Depending on the conditions of roads, vehicles, weather etc., the system(s) may not work as intend
- The Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) system is designed to help avoid or reduce the crash speed and damage in certain frontal collisions only. It is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. Effectiveness depends on many factors, such as speed, driver input and road conditions
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is designed to assist the driver and is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving practices. System effectiveness depends on many factors, such as weather, traffic and road conditions.
- Brake Assist is designed to help the driver take full advantage of the benefits of ABS. It is not a substitute for safe driving practices. Braking effectiveness also depends on proper brake-system maintenance and tire and road conditions.
Are drivers being advised to review this important, maybe lifesaving information? Or are they getting the keys to their fleet vehicles along with an assumption that the vehicles’ technology will keep them safe? Imagine this scenario: One of your drivers, in a vehicle equipped with an Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) system, is following a SUV on a multi-lane highway and traveling at a reasonable speed of 35 miles per hour. Suddenly, the SUV in front moves into an adjacent lane and ahead is a stopped vehicle. What was the outcome?
Car and Driver magazine, in its November 2018 issue, published a report on the efficacy of the AEB system. One of the tests conducted measured the success of target switching. Four sedan models from various manufacturers used in the test were typical of what you would find in a light-duty fleet—from high-end executive models to standard mid-size cars. IN EVERY SINGLE TEST CASE, the AEB system under these conditions failed to switch focus on a timely basis to the new target (the stopped vehicle) resulting in a collision.
What can you do to help make sure the driver in our scenario avoids the collision? Here are a few practical suggestions to help your fleet avoid over confidence in safety technology.
- Create Awareness: Pull the owner’s manuals for each vehicle in your fleet selector and list the safety technology disclaimers for each model. You may have to search as the disclaimers can be scattered throughout the manual. When a driver is assigned a new vehicle, present that vehicle’s make/model specific disclaimer list for the driver to review.
- Make it Policy: Consider requiring the driver to sign anad acknowleedge he or she understands the limitations of the systems and accepts the sole responsibility to safely operate the company vehicle.
- Provide Training: Enroll your drivers in Driving Dynamics’ DriveReady Advantage™ behind-the-wheel safety course which includes an extensive training segment on the practical use and limitations of vehicle safety technology systems. Offered at hundreds of sites across North America, this open enrollment course will potentiate the ROI on your vehicle safety technology investments.
While ads and press may give us the impression that technology will create a completely safe environment, the OEMs themselves are communicating important facts to bear in mind, that vehicle safety technologies are:
- Not collision avoidance systems
- May not work as intended
- Not a substitute for safe driving practices
Remember, you, the driver, not the vehicle’s technologies, must always be in control and competent to avoid or mitigate hazardous traffic situations.
- Safety & Risk is presented by Driving Dynamics provider of driver safety training and risk management services. Continually building and delivering programs based on sound research, proven learning methodologies and expert instruction, we are dedicated to improving drivers’ abilities to stay safe by leveraging risk management tools, principle-based learning and applied techniques. The One Second Advantage™ safety training principle developed by Driving Dynamics is rooted in research that shows 90 percent of all traffic crashes can be avoided when the driver has just one more second to react and knows what to do with that additional second. Driving Dynamics encourages all drivers to Steer Toward Safety™
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