It used to be that whenever a truck was involved in a collision, the trucking company could end up paying regardless of whether the driver was at fault. SmartDrive is changing that.
The new technology involves video cameras located in the truck and the cab. The cameras face forward toward the road and inward toward the driver, recording on continuous 12-second loops. If anything should occur, that shakes the truck—even if a driver hits the brakes—the cameras retain the previous eight seconds of recording and records the next four. These records can be invaluable in protecting drivers who are not to blame in accidents.
Some drivers have expressed concern about their privacy, but the cameras do not record them at all times.
SafeDrive also contains another safety feature, a collision avoidance system which includes detectors on the truck’s bumpers. The bumpers measure the space between the truck and other vehicles and detect the truck’s speed and following distance. If the truck is approaching another vehicle too rapidly, the device automatically shuts off cruise control. In newer trucks, it will also start applying the brakes. Similarly, if the truck approaches a line on the road without using the turn signal, a device will send a signal to the driver.
The SafeDrive technology comes in tandem with the implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs). Nationwide, ELDs are set to become mandated by Dec. 16, 2017. The mandate has been met with significant criticism from some drivers and companies. But proponents say they will further enhance driver safety. The primary purpose of the ELDs is to record how long the driver has been driving and require they take the appropriate breaks to avoid fatigue.