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Collision Reduction in Fleets

March 25th, 2015

  Safety

According to studies by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI):

  • 93% of all collisions are due to human error, with driver inattention being the primary cause
  • Nearly 74% of all collisions involve driver distraction three seconds prior to incident
  • 40% of rear-end collisions have no brake application whatsoever
  • 60% of road collision fatalities are due to unintentional lane departure

These statistics should cause concern for all of us as a society; however, for fleet managers responsible for fleet safety, this information is particularly alarming.  The impact of a collision can affect the business in a number of ways from possible fatalities/injuries to increased insurance premiums to vehicle repairs, even the reputation of the business can be put on the line.  In fact, a report by NHTSA and others shows the average collision cost to an employer is $16,500.

Fortunately, there are a number of products and services available to help fleet managers keep their fleet drivers as safe as possible, as well as keep other road users safe.  Many of these solutions can be implemented as a singular system or integrated with other solutions to enhance the overall capabilities of each system.  One such system is a Collision Avoidance System (CAS).  This system is worth considering as it excels at addressing the primary causes of collisions – driver distraction.

The CAS is a tool for pre-emptive action.  The system identifies potential threats, and when danger is imminent, visual and audible alerts warn the driver to make necessary corrections in sufficient time to avoid potential collisions or mitigate their severity.  It focuses solely on collision prevention, which includes improving compliance of safe driving behaviors, by detecting tailgating and speeding, as well as lane drifting or departure.  

A typical CAS includes a vision sensor and a visual display.  Figure 1 shows such a CAS, in this case one by Mobileye.  The vision sensor, about the size of a toll tag, mounts to the inside of a vehicle’s windshield.  The Mobileye System happens to be quite sophisticated in that as it views the road ahead it can recognize and distinguish between vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, it can even detect lane markings and speed limit signs.  The system continuously measures the distance and relative speed of the objects.  With this information, it determines which ones pose a potential danger, and warns the driver with visual and audio alerts. The visual alerts are reflected on the display.  This all happens in real time.

Figure 2 provides an example of how the micro-computer of the vision sensor views and analyzes a road scene.

 

mobile eye collision avoidance system

Despite the advanced technology of the device and its algorithms, it is extremely easy to implement and requires very little driver training.  It all boils down to a few simple alerts:

  • Lane Departure Warning – the vehicle is deviating from its lane without the appropriate turn signal
  • Forward Collision Warning – a forward collision is imminent with a car, truck or motorcycle; 
  • Pedestrian Detection – a collision is imminent with a pedestrian or bicycle
  • Headway Monitoring (Following Time) – displays the amount of time to the vehicle in front and alerts when time becomes critically short
  • Speed Limit Warning – alerts when the vehicle is exceeding the posted speed limit
  • High Beam Control - automatically turns on/off the high-beams depending on the level of light and relative distance from other traffic

Time to Effectiveness

A CAS is effective upon installation and, with minimal driver training needed, the safety benefits are quickly apparent.  In addition, drivers become more aware of their behavior resulting in improved driver behavior over the long term.  The system can also be integrated into a telematics or fleet management system for enhanced reporting capabilities and insight into the number and type of driver alerts generated by vehicle.  Depending upon the fleet management system, users can manage privacy issues, driver scorecards and other options regarding the data captured and with whom it is shared.

Cost 

With CAS there are no recurring fees, additional service charges or connectivity required.  There is only the one-time cost of the hardware, plus installation.  In fact, ROI on the Mobileye System is typically less than 12 months.  

In addition, a system such as Mobileye’s is an all-in-one solution providing Following Time, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning in one system, eliminating the need for multiple devices for these features.

Does it Really Work?

Some of the best-run fleets have installed CAS realizing significant reductions in incidents, collisions and associated costs.  Results using the Mobileye System include:

  • 37% reduction in crash costs per mile travelled
  • 29% reduction in DOT crashes
  • 43% reduction in lane departure-related crashes

What Others Are Saying

Still have questions about the value of a collision avoidance system for your fleet?  Consider what some of the national safety organizations have said about the subject.

Summary

CAS, by design, is a tool for the driver to keep him safe, with the sole purpose of trying to avoid collisions.  CAS addresses the primary cause of most collisions – driver inattention - by warning the driver and providing critical time for him to react.  Other than the cost of the system and installation, there are no additional fees or ongoing expenditures needed to implement CAS.  And, there is very little driver training needed.  Finally, CAS can be integrated with existing telematics systems for additional reporting capabilities.

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