By Daniel Patterson, Director of Safety, Western Express Inc.
Technology shapes every industry in the United States. Trucking is no exception. Over the last 10 years, there have been many trucking industry uses of technology in the back office, from fuel and route optimization software to load and truck planning software. Today, the vehicles themselves have also made huge strides in on-board safety technology. Collision mitigation, roll stability braking and critical event reporting were once all expensive aftermarket upgrades. Today, collision mitigation and the like are part of the standard on-board brake system shipped direct from the manufacturer. Intelligent speed limiters are another of the latest technologies and can easily be added on aftermarket.
Paul Wieck, CEO at Western Express Inc., has been a big proponent of adopting technology to help the company improve the safety of its drivers and the motoring public. Over the last several years, Western Express has implemented several safety technology advancements to its equipment. These technologies are aimed to help improve and influence driver behavior. In 2019, Western Express began testing an innovative technology that provides intelligent speed adaptation, which is active, real-time speed control of any vehicle in any posted speed zone or geofenced area. This means that the truck’s speed adapts to the posted speed based on the speed zone the truck is actively in and can even impact speed at high-accident areas, customer yards and other customized zones.
Western Express is seeing great results due to the implementation of this product in its fleet. Throughout the later part of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, the company has seen a drastic reduction in both frequency and severity of speeding events. In the last few months, when compared to previous years, Western Express has reduced speeding frequency by 53% and severity by 50%. The speeding violations that are currently seen primarily occur when the truck is coasting downhill because the driver has not maintained their speed.
When asked about the impact this product has had and the future of where it could go, Wieck said: “We are convinced, as a company, that the future will bring better safety through technology. That is why we have embraced this innovative technology. The reductions in speeding violations have been significant. Additionally, we have been able to geofence low bridges and this has all but eliminated bridge hits. At the beginning of March 2021, we implemented geofencing for all weigh stations and provided a verbal command to our drivers to enter the weigh station which will help us to reduce our ‘failure to obey’ violations.”
The overall results Western Express has seen from reducing speeding violations and the ability of this vendor to think outside the box to help us improve multiple areas, makes the company very excited for what the future holds.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Western Express headquarters at 800-316-7160. n