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Tracking the use of onboard safety technologies across the truck fleet

UMTRI-2009-22

In: Sponsored by: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Authors: Bruce M. Belzowski, Daniel Blower, John Woodrooffe, Paul E. Green.

The Transportation Safety Analysis and the Automotive Analysis Divisons at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) initiated the Onboard Safety Technologies project in 2007, supported by FMCSA, to collect detailed information about the penetration of onboard safety technologies in the trucking fleet and future use of these technologies. The five technologies examined included: lane departure warning (LDWS), electronic stability control (ESC), forward and side collision warning (FCWS/SCWS), and vehicle tracking systems (TRACKING). Previous work in estimating the penetration of onboard safety technologies never approached the question of technology penetration by sampling the popluation of trucking companies. This project uses that approach through the use of a random sample survey of the entire fleet of trucking companies to measure current penetration, future use, and the advantages available to companies employing these technologies. The source for the sample was the 2007 Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) file. Interviews were also conducted with companies with high penetration of the technologies as well as system suppliers of the technologies, in order to gather more detailed information about usage and future technology direction. The results of the survey show the expected low levels of usage of LDWS, FCWS, and SCWS, slightly higher levels of usage of ESC, and much higher usage of TRACKING. Analysis shows higher usage related to larger company size. Company usage of these technologies is expected to double over the next five years. The main factors noted by participants for using the technologies that vary little among the technologies include: proven safety benefits of the technologies, positive feedback by drivers, driver improvement, improved safety culture, reduced cost of accidents, and insurance benefits. The interviews yielded important views about the cost [...]