DALLAS — A Pennsylvania Turnpike connected-truck pilot program that provides in-cab safety alerts to commercial drivers has helped reduce truck speeds and boost traveler safety on curves and ramps on the PA Turnpike system.
In the first six months of a program operated in partnership with Drivewyze of Dallas, the Pennsylvania Turnpike delivered more than 70,000 driver-safety notifications to truck drivers. Last September, truckers who received in-cab notifications reduced their speed 7 percent more than those who did not receive alerts.
“Results of the pilot program show the benefits of technology in changing driver habits and improving traveler safety,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike Chair Leslie Richards, who also serves as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). “This vehicle-to-infrastructure technology is helping us improve safety at no cost to toll-payers by delivering timely alerts when they can alter driving behaviors.
“Sadly, driver error continues to be the leading cause of crashes in Pennsylvania and around the country,” said Richards, who is considered a national leader in the adoption of pioneering transportation technology. “Innovations like the Drivewyze alerts offer an opportunity to apply technologies to positively affect driving behavior before a crash occurs.”
Drivewyze began testing in-cab driver-safety notifications in 2015. That initial proof of concept has developed into a large-scale pilot program involving more than 100 sites in 19 states, including 32 curves and ramps on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“Safety and innovation are core values of our strategic plan, and the Drivewyze partnership along with the driver-notification program clearly embody both ideals,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Thanks to the efforts of the folks who made this collaborative venture happen, this rollout has been a noteworthy success, enhancing safety for both commercial and passenger vehicles alike.”
The Drivewyze platform operates on standard in-cab telematics equipment managed by fleets and does not require the driver to download or interact with the application. The notifications are fully automated and provide both visual and audible notices to drivers. As drivers approach rollover-risk areas on the Turnpike, the Drivewyze application issues an audible tone and displays a standard federal roadway warning symbol on the in-cab display.
“The concept was based on the belief that drivers can be safely encouraged to improve driving behaviors when provided with in-cab notices when, and where, they are most needed,” said Drivewyze CEO Brian Heath. “The data has proven this hypothesis correct, with the primary measurable benefit being a reduction in high-speed vehicle events through ramps and curves on the roadway.”
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission operates and maintains 552 miles of toll roads in the state. It oversees 68 fare-collection facilities, 17 service plazas and 27 maintenance facilities. With more than 2,000 employees, it generated $1.1 billion in annual toll revenue from 200.3 million vehicles in fiscal year 2017. Known as “America’s First Superhighway,” it opened Oct. 1, 1940.