I just finished reading an outcry of safety advocates. Our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the results of a 5 year, $18 million dollar Large Truck Crash Causation Study. It found that most accidents are caused by drivers—both car and truck. That’s not a surprise to me. That’s why so many truck safety systems are called Driver Assistance Systems (DAS). That’s a big reason that companies are working on autonomous vehicles and driverless vehicles. They want to take the driver issue out of the picture.
The same is true in aerospace. Many plane accidents are the result of pilot error. So, systems are being designed for planes to automatically take evasive action without pilot input.
Fuel economy is another place that the driver is a big influence on results. For years people have reported without real, statistical evidence, that the driver accounts for 30% of the variation in fuel economy. That’s why companies are developing predictive cruise control and using automated mechanical transmissions and collision mitigation systems.
Safety of the driver—safety of the vehicle—safety of the environment. That gives companies a big incentive to assist the driver and reduce the cost of operating trucks. Safety advocates might look at the data as a positive for the development of technology rather than a waste of money.