UPS, which operates one of the nation’s largest commercial trucking fleets, is on a mission to make the highways safer. According to the company, it plans to make collision mitigation technology standard equipment on every new Class 8 tractor the company orders.
Each of the more than 2,600 new Class 8 tractors that UPS takes delivery of this year will feature this accident mitigation technology, which alerts drivers to moving and stationary objects in front of the tractor and moving objects surrounding the vehicle.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that all passenger and commercial vehicles use this technology. The NTSB’s special report “concludes that collision warning systems, particularly when paired with active braking, could significantly reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.”
“Safety is of the utmost importance to UPS. We’re investing in technology that provides UPS drivers with opportunities to increase visibility of their surroundings in constantly changing environments,” said Randy Stashick, president of engineering for UPS. “The safety benefits of these technologies make incorporating them into UPS’s fleet the right thing to do for our employees and fellow motorists.”
The collision mitigation systems on UPS’s new Class 8 tractors feature lane departure warnings, electronic stability control, and anti-lock air disc brakes. Stability control monitors the tractor trailer’s motions and, especially during turns and slick conditions, automatically distributes braking power to each wheel for a more precise control.
“Collision mitigation systems make good drivers even better,” said Paul Savill, UPS Freight driver and a captain for the American Trucking Association’s America’s Road team. “Traffic conditions can change quickly as other vehicles change lanes. These technologies are an excellent complement to safe driving techniques.”
Bill Lazarski, a UPS Circle of Honor driver who has driven without an accident for 36 years, concurred. “I can’t say enough good things about the collision mitigation technology. I was a little hesitant at first, but adapted very quickly and easily. After using the technology for more than a year, I’m convinced collision mitigation systems can make a positive impact on road safety.”
The collision mitigation features adaptive cruise control, which maintains a constant distance behind the vehicle in front of the UPS tractor. With the adaptive cruise control turned on, the UPS tractor will automatically slow to avoid a collision. Secondary benefits include reducing the accordion effect caused by traffic and, from that, enhanced fuel economy.
Each new UPS Class 8 tractor also features an automated manual transmission, which offers the power and efficiency of a manual transmission with the simplicity of an automatic transmission. Eliminating the need to shift gears provides the driver with greater opportunity to implement proactive defensive driving techniques.