Automobile

Active safety could prevent truck crashes, but caution needed | Automotive World

Long stints behind the wheel can lead to distraction and fatigue. Driver assistance functions must remedy, not worsen, the situation. By Freddie Holmes

New active safety technologies promise to make long-haul trucking safer. However, they must be deployed without creating new opportunities for technology misuse. Studies are ongoing to see how advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can help to prevent potentially dangerous scenarios, but also how drivers are using them in the field.

Long stretches behind the wheel can be draining even if physical requirements are often minimal; highway driving mainly requires micro-adjustments of steering, braking and acceleration, and the driver essentially sits stationary. However, hours of concentration mean drivers naturally become mentally fatigued, and with that comes distraction and an increased risk of a collision. In extreme cases—often avoided thanks to hours of service (HOS) rules which dictate how long a driver can be behind the wheel—drivers can become drowsy, falling asleep and jolting awake multiple times in a short period.

Both ADAS and driver monitoring technologies aim to tackle these issues, which are ultimately unavoidable after extended periods behind the wheel.

Driver assistance systems should not give a false sense of freedom behind the wheel

Driver assistance

Crashes involving

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