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Safety technologies delivering ‘strong payback,’ says Bendix official

To gain acceptance safety technologies must deliver payback, and they do, said Bendix President and CEO Joe McAleese.

By DOROTHY COX
The Trucker Staff

3/21/2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. ? Amid multiple regulations coming at the trucking industry at the speed of light, cost constraints and aging fleets, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems officials here said they expect emerging safety technologies to gain more and more acceptance and to be mandated by the federal government.

Of course to do that, safety technologies have to deliver a “strong payback,” noted Bendix President and CEO Joe McAleese here during media events leading up to the Mid-America Trucking Show that began Thursday.

And, they’re seeing that payback, he pointed out, referencing the SafetyDirect video capture component of the Wingman technology in which a real-life video presentation showed a truck hitting the back of a car stopped on the interstate with its hood up. The car driver claimed in court that the truck hit it and made the hood go up but after seeing the video, the case was dismissed.

The goal is to save lives but fleets can’t keep getting cost upon cost heaped on them and still be expected to adopt new safety technologies, McAleese said.

With savings from the above-mentioned example, it could pay for safety systems for several more trucks, he noted, adding that customers are starting to realize that through real-world experiences.

Bendix supports legislative initiatives which offer tax incentives to fleets and owner-operators for purchasing safety technologies. “These incentives help fleets and owner-operators of all sizes equip their vehicles with technologies, such as stability control, forward-collision warning and mitigation, lane departure warning, and others,” Bendix officials said in a news release. “These are proven technologies that can help drivers mitigate some of the most common commercial vehicle crash scenarios, such as rollovers, loss-of-control, and rear and side collisions.

“Government estimates show that, on average, large-truck crashes involving injury cost more than $300,000 per event, while those involving fatalities cost more than $7 million per event. These costs are borne by fleets involved in the accidents, as well as the communities in which the crashes occur — from cleanup and infrastructure repairs to productivity and environmental costs of increased traffic congestion surrounding accident scenes.”

Generally, there are three types of groups when it comes to the adoption of safety technologies, Bendix officials said:

· Motor carriers that gain interest in safety technologies only after an incident occurs

· Carriers that want to be proactive in adopting safety systems but are stymied by the potentially

higher cost of vehicles equipped with such devices, and

· Carriers that equip vehicles with safety technologies who must then compete in a highly price sensitized marketplace against those that have not made the sizable investment.

“Creating a more balanced operating environment by incentivizing carriers to more rapidly adopt technologies, will, we believe, offer the potential for a more direct correlation to crash reduction.”

Bendix spokesmen maintained that safety technologies can mean the difference in good and bad CSA scores.

“A proactive approach that ties safety technology adoption credits [or incentives] to strengthen or maintain fleet and driver CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) scores is an effective potential stimulus,” officials stated. “This approach is rooted in the acknowledgement that CSA scores can be either favorable or detrimental to a motor carrier’s overall revenue and profitability. “. . . By incentivizing fleets and/or drivers via a CSA score ‘credit,’ or ‘alternative compliance’ approach, government and industry will realize their joint goal of helping reduce commercial vehicle crashes through increased market penetration of these technologies.”

Bendix also noted that the insurance industry can play a key role through educational programs, premium discounts and incentives to encourage their policyholders to incorporate advanced safety and crash mitigation technologies either when spec’ing their commercial vehicles, or (where applicable) as retrofits.

“The incremental benefit of any or all of these approaches — in terms of lives saved, as well as crashes and property damage prevented — is far greater than the cost of their implementation.”

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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