According to a study conducted by the Iowa State University on the value of equipping trucks with collision warning systems, a collision warning system should warn the driver of much more than merely potentially dangerous collision situations. A collision warning system is designed to issue a warning to the truck driver at the time he is headed for a collision with another vehicle. The collision warning gives him sufficient time to try and avert the accident by deft maneuvering or alternative corrective actions.
The study found that most collisions occurred when trucks moved to change lanes. When the driver was fatigued, these lane changes are unintentional and are very often indicative of potentially hazardous collisions. The study suggests that instead of only warning the truck driver about collisions, the system should issue a warning about other possible accidents too. The system in its current state warns the driver of roadway departures too. The collision system will be able to add better value and prove to be advantageous when it is able to warn the truck drivers of other vehicle maneuvers near the truck.
For example, if a smaller vehicle is making a lateral lane change and coming uncomfortably close to the truck, the collision warning system could set off a warning beep. The study suggests that this kind of added functionality will render the collision warning system more effective and bring lasting benefits.
Truck collision warning systems can be two different kinds. One is the passive warning system that will issue a beep when it senses imminent danger. Though the system will warn the truck driver, subsequent action devolves around him. The other type is the active warning system. This not only warns the driver but also participates in the subsequent action and partners in his effort to avert the imminent collision.
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1990 statistics revealed that tired or sleepy truck drivers were responsible for almost 31 percent of trucking accidents. Unintentional and sudden lane changes were also traced back to driving fatigue which took over when the driver had been driving for long hours. The research found that ready made compiled data on trucking accidents were lacking in detail. To remedy this, they collected their data straight from the trucking companies themselves. Six trucking carrier companies agreed to provide data for the research study on trucking collision warning systems.
The data collected included important details such as age, training and experience of the truck driver. The study was however unable to collect more relevant detail such as mental condition of the driver at the time of the accident etc. The study also analyzed other related data such as the type of road the truck was driving on (Rural or Urban) and the weather condition on that day. Other details included the truck model type, the cargo it was carrying and the nature of the cargo.
After analyzing all this data, the research came to the conclusion that a warning system that takes into account other drivers on the road would offer more economic value to trucking companies.