By: Steve Vaughn, vice president of field operations, PrePass Safety Alliance

There we stood on the frontier of truck technology…30 years ago. At the start, PrePass grew out of a collaborative effort by trucking industry, state law enforcement and state department of transportation leaders to improve the safety and efficiency of highway transportation through advanced technology. With safety and reliability in mind, the group settled on a tried and true device, the radio frequency identification transponder.

With support from state and industry partners, the electronic weigh station bypass program begun by PrePass expanded across the U.S., eventually becoming a model for other programs. Continuing innovation led to new technology including electronic toll payments and a mobile app. Meanwhile, PrePass integrated with high-tech weigh-in-motion scales, advanced cameras and other sensors, assisting in the weigh station bypass by demonstrably safe motor carriers.

Thirty years ago government and industry found common cause in truck technology. Today, a similar joint effort is underway. Once again, government and industry are working together toward a safety and efficiency goal through advanced technology.

The new collaborative effort is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Tech-Celerate Now” program. The FMCSA is bringing together government agencies and trucking organizations to reduce truck-involved fatalities, injuries and crashes through the expanded use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Joining in this effort are the American Trucking Associations, ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation, and the American Transportation Research Institute.

Advanced driver assistance systems include:

  • ADAS Braking — automatic emergency braking, air disc brakes, and adaptive cruise control systems
  • ADAS Steering — lane keeping assist, lane centering, and adaptive steering control
  • ADAS Warning — lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and blind spot warning
  • ADAS Monitoring — driver-facing and road-facing cameras, and camera-based mirror systems

FMCSA is promoting the voluntary adoption of these safety technologies. However, when it comes to technology, one size may not always fit all. Industry research shows that each of these ADAS categories — when they do fit with the type of truck and trucking operation — offers the potential for substantial improvements in highway safety while saving operational costs. Leaders in the trucking industry clearly believe ADAS is worthy of a close look by motor carriers.

Motor carriers can take a close look here:

Challenges to the expanded use of ADAS do remain. Any new equipment, much less new technology, comes with a price. The return on investment guide speaks to that consideration. Drivers must be trained to understand the technology and how it may benefit them. Additionally, truck technicians must be trained to install, maintain and repair new technologies.

Still, from the perspective of 30 years ago, electronic weigh station bypass technology has made our highways safer and the lives of motor carriers, truck drivers and law enforcement more efficient and a little less frenetic. ADAS holds the same potential. Take a look. Maybe it’s your time to Tech-Celerate now.

Steve Vaughn is the vice president of field operations at PrePass Safety Alliance, the provider of PrePass weigh station bypass service. Vaughn served nearly three decades with the California Highway Patrol and is a past president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

This blog was originally published in the IdeaXchange