Con-way invests in safety technologies

Aug. 6, 2013

Con-way Truckload has announced it will invest in three state-of-the-art safety technology systems — front collision avoidance, electronic stability control and lane departure warning — for all of the 525 new tractors it will take delivery of this year.

The $2 million investment reinforces the company’s commitment to operating safely on America’s highways, and in particular, to the safety of its drivers, according to Saul Gonzalez, Con-way Truckload’s president. The systems provide early-warning alerts as well as proactive intervention that will enable significant reduction of the most common highway safety incidents in which trucks are involved, he explained.

The new systems both complement and enhance Con-way’s existing safety-development programs, which include compulsory skills testing and remedial training, continuing education, personal safety plans and bonuses for achieving safe-driving performance goals.

“We already believe we have the safest drivers on the road,” Gonzalez said. “These systems will serve to supplement our drivers’ skills and good habits, and help us contribute to safer roadways for all who travel them.”

The three systems being installed are:

  • Front-collision avoidance: Combining onboard, forward-looking radar and adaptive cruise control, the system monitors the vehicle directly in front of the tractor and sounds an alarm when the truck closes to less than a safe, three-second stopping distance of the vehicle it is approaching. If the driver does not take timely action, the system intervenes and begins braking the truck independently. The system also issues visual and auditory caution alerts to improve reaction times. The Kenworth and Navistar tractors feature Bendix Wingman Advanced Collision Mitigation Technology, while the Freightliner tractors feature Meritor Wabco’s OnGuard Collision Safety System.
  • Electronic stability control: Developed by Bendix, this system automatically corrects vehicle speed to prevent potential rollover incidents. The technology monitors the tractor for G-forces and automatically begins braking to slow the tractor down and decrease the amount of lean, or tipping of the trailer in a turn, thus minimizing rollover risk.
  • Lane departure warning: Developed by Takata, this system immediately alerts a driver if the vehicle begins veering unintentionally (without first engaging the turn signal) into another lane. Depending on which direction the truck is heading, a sound resembling that of a “rumble strip” on the apron of a highway emits from the corresponding radio speaker. This sound immediately alerts the driver, who can then take corrective action by using their turn signal or guiding the tractor back into the proper lane.

Con-way Truckload selected these safety products after extensive research with an eye to avoiding the lure of new, but often under-tested, equipment, Gonzalez said. The newly adopted technologies have a proven track record of accuracy, effectiveness and reliability.

Initial feedback on the new technologies has been positive, he said. Drivers report that it not only helps them identify a potential situation in the moment, but also serves as a training tool.

“These new safety systems take ‘continuing education’ to a whole new level,” said Eric Ponce, a seven-year Con-way Truckload driver. “Getting real-time feedback while on the road helps us become better drivers. This is an investment not only in our safety, but in the safety of everyone sharing the road with Con-way Truckload.”

About the Author

Deborah Whistler

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