Con-way Freight completes rollout of Drive Safe Systems

March 11, 2014

Con-way Freight has finished the rollout of Drive Safe Systems, a suite of “monitor, sense and alert” systems that are part of its efforts to improve safety and operating efficiency of its 8,600-truck fleet.

Drive Safe Systems incorporates five in-cab technologies that alert drivers to potential safety risks and help them respond, improve situational awareness, provide feedback to refine safe-driving skills and defensive-driving techniques, and maximize safe, fuel-efficient operations.

“Drive Safe Systems is first and foremost about supporting our drivers in the safe operation of our fleet and equipping them with tools to continuously learn and improve,” said Tom Clark, senior vice president of operations. “These technologies provide real-time feedback and coaching that helps our drivers recognize and correct unsafe behaviors, ultimately reducing accidents and near-misses. We want to be proactive in preventing crashes from even happening, and that means investing in proven technologies that complement and enhance the driver’s professional skills.”

The complete rollout of Drive Safe Systems includes the addition of two new in-cab safety technologies which join three existing “sense and alert” on-board systems that have been factory-installed in every new Con-way Freight tractor since late 2009. The two new systems are DriveCam powered Lytxz event recorders and Vnomics Corp.’s real-time on-board performance management.

The event recorders are compact, windshield-mounted units that record activity inside and outside the cab. The recording is continuously erased unless the unit is triggered by an event such as hard braking, turning or rapid deceleration. When activated, the unit saves a 12-second audio and visual recording— eight seconds before and four seconds after the event. The recording and other supporting data is uploaded via cellular networks to a “cloud-based” software application where it is subsequently shared with drivers to recognize exceptional defensive-driving performance which avoided an accident or incident, and provide coaching to identify opportunities to improve driving skills.

The on-board performance management technology provides real-time feedback that helps the driver employ best practices for fuel-efficient driving. The system takes into account vehicle, road, load and environmental conditions, and gives the driver input in areas such as shifting ranges and pace of acceleration to achieve optimal fuel economy. Vnomics Corp. manufactures this on-board performance management platform.

Con-way Freight tractors already include Meritor Wabco’s OnGuard collision avoidance system and roll stability control system as well as Iteris’ AutoVue lane departure warning system.

According to Clark, the use of the systems is not unlike that used by professional sports teams to fine-tune athletes’ performances.

“We’re doing the same thing with our professional drivers and how they operate our trucks,” he explained. “It’s a fundamental shift in our approach. Before we reacted after-the-fact, analyzing accidents and why they occurred. Now we’ve flipped the process, focusing instead on using technology and real-time information as a positive, proactive coaching experience to adjust behaviors, remove risk, prevent incidents and improve safety.”

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