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Mack Trucks to offer “automatic braking”

March 19, 2009
LOUISVILLE. After July 6 this year, Mack Trucks plans to offer as an option Bendix’s upgraded adaptive cruise control (ACC) equipped to its Roll Stability Advantage (RSA) safety system – a technology that could soon, in the words of Jerry Warmkessel, become the guardian angel of the transportation industry

LOUISVILLE. After July 6 this year, Mack Trucks plans to offer as an option Bendix’s upgraded adaptive cruise control (ACC) equipped to its Roll Stability Advantage (RSA) safety system – a technology that could soon, in the words of Jerry Warmkessel, become the “guardian angel” of the transportation industry.

“Cruise control is a great feature for highway driving since it can reduce driver fatigue and improve fuel economy,” Warmkessel, highway products marketing manager for Greensboro, NC-based Mack, explained here at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

“But conditions can quickly change due to slowing traffic or ‘cut-ins’ by other vehicles,” he said. “Our RSA system in combination with ACC equipped with ‘automatic braking’ not only alerts the driver when the distance in front of his or her vehicle changes, it also takes action to maintain a safe following distance and, in some cases, to prevent or reduce the severity of a collision.”

Warmkessel said the default time for the ACC system to react is 2.8 seconds, which equates to 246 ft. at 60 mph. If it detects a slowing vehicle, the system will in sequence reduce the throttle to the engine, apply the engine brake and – as a last resort – deploy the truck’s foundation or service brakes.

Though Mack isn’t releasing a price for the ACC/automatic braking function as of yet – that will be revealed in a month when it gets added to the OEMs data book – Warmkessel highlighted data showing that this technology could possible save fleets significant money by reducing highway crash rates.

“The consequences of distraction can be catastrophic on the highway,” he noted. “About 81% of truck crash fatalities occur in rear-end collisions – the type this technology can prevent. According to federal government data from 2006, the average cost of a truck-involved highway fatality is $3.4 million, an injury $217,000, and property damage $12,000. All told, truck-car crash costs total $35 billion annually.”

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Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean reports and comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry -- light and medium duty fleets up through over-the-road truckload, less-than-truckload, and private fleet operations Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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