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Bendix making safety push

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC is ramping up its efforts to push commercial truck safety to a whole new level

LOUISVILLE, KY – From supporting legislation for safety-system tax incentives to developing new accident mitigation technology, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC is ramping up its efforts to push commercial truck safety to a whole new level.

“Over the next 10 years, we feel there’s going to be a growing appetite for active vehicle safety systems in the U.S.,” Joe McAleese, Bendix president & CEO, said during a press conference here at the Mid-America Trucking Show. “We believe the best way to drive adoption of safety technology is through incentives, not mandates, because we believe there is substantial payback fleets can achieve from them. And once fleets see that payback, such technology will become ingrained.”

That’s one reason Bendix is strongly supporting the Commercial Motor Vehicle Advanced Safety Technology act of 2007 (H.R. 3820) on Capitol Hill, although McAleese admits that in the current tight-budget climate, tax incentives for anything face an uphill battle.

“I’m not optimistic about this bill’s passage, but it’s good legislation,” he said, pointing out that the bill offers tax credits of up to $1,500 per system, $3,500 per vehicle and $350,000 per fleet for installing a variety of safety technologies on commercial trucks.

Bendix is also in the final stages of work on a new active cruise control (ACC) system it plans to roll out in the fourth quarter this year. The ACC system ties a truck’s brakes, engine, transmission and the company’s electronic stability program (ESP) system together with radar sensors so a truck can automatically slow down and come to a full stop if it detects a slowing vehicle ahead.

“As long as the vehicle ahead of the truck is moving, the radar can detect it and bring the truck to a full stop without driver intervention,” McAleese said. The next step for Bendix’s ACC is to include a camera system as well for full object detection so the system can react to vehicles stopped in the roadway.

McAleese added the reason Bendix won’t offer ACC without its full stability control system is because it is needed to prevent further control loss issues from developing, such as braking on slick surfaces.

“These are the kinds of safety technologies that not only make a big difference but offer fleets significant payback,” he stressed. “They are enablers for drivers and fleets both large and small to greatly improve highway safety in the future.”

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