Less than 10 years ago, blind spot safety meant an alert spotter, well-placed side mirrors, and maybe a rearview monitor and camera. It has come a long way, and we all understand the benefits of improving fleet safety.
There are many options available to improve your fleet safety. There is also the reality that even with a large budget, it isn’t feasible to install every option on your fleet overnight.
Although most would like to incorporate all things safety on their fleet, fleet and safety managers must consider many factors when deciding which fleet safety technology to implement.
Creating a fleet safety technology roadmap allows you to meet budgetary and critical needs today while planning for the fleet tomorrow. The following
are a few fleet safety technologies available today and items to consider for protecting your safety investment:
- Basic Rearview Cameras and Monitors: These are all but a requirement on waste vehicles today. There are more options than most people realize when purchasing a system. Make sure the options you chose have the flexibility to expand. Items to consider include:
- Field of view: viewing distance, viewing width (FMVSS 111 compliant)
- Camera features: standard, heated, or shuttered cameras; if you plan on adding mobile digital video recording (MDVR) in the future, a heated camera and/or camera washer would make more sense than a shuttered camera that can interfere with the recorder
- Monitor features: check to see if the monitor you chose has extra inputs that support additional cameras and will include automatic triggers based on the vehicle maneuvers
- 360 Vision or Surround Vision: Providing drivers with more views around the vehicle allows for smarter and safer maneuvering. Today, more people are installing 360/Birdseye systems that stitch together multiple camera images to provide the driver with an “overhead” view of what is happening around them.
When choosing the system that is right for you, consider each system’s features and how they meet your needs:
- Birdseye 360 Vision: Providing drivers with more views around the vehicle allows for smarter and safer maneuvering. Today, more people are installing 360/Birdseye systems that stitch together multiple camera images to provide the driver with an “overhead” view of what is happening around them. When choosing the system that is right for you, consider each system’s features and how they meet your needs:
- Provides a simulated overhead view
- Automatically switches the monitor to show full views of cameras based on the maneuver. For example, when in reverse, the monitor will automatically switch showing the full screen of the rearview camera while still maintaining the side window overhead view
- Surround Vision: Provides a more “traditional” view of the cameras without distortion
- Does not provide the graphic showing the view from the top of the vehicle
- Allows you the choice of where to put the cameras on the truck
- Allows for automatic switching and customized triggers to show the appropriate camera view in the monitor
- Allows drivers to see and hear multiple cameras at once
- Object Detection Sensors: These sensors provide drivers an audible alert with some form of visual distancing information. When something is in the blind spot, the driver receives an audible alert while receiving visual distancing information on the monitor (or through an LED display if not integrated with a monitor). When choosing an object detection system, consider the following:
- Vehicle type, environment, operating conditions: Vehicles over 10,000 pounds usually work in more extreme conditions and environments, have a higher vibration rating, and must withstand power washing. Consider using a more rugged system with at least an IP69K rating.
- Detection zone: Make sure the system you chose either has the detection zones and pattern built for your vehicle or can be easily customized.
- Dashboard Cameras: Dashboard cameras are a great tool for drivers’ training and exonerating the driver and company in the event of an accident. These systems record what is happening in front of the vehicle. There are two primary options to consider:
- Forward facing camera only. This is a camera mounted to the windshield that has a camera facing outside the vehicle only and captures what the driver sees.
- Forward/in-cab facing camera: This has two cameras—one facing toward the driver, the other facing toward the road.
- Mobile Digital Video Recording (MDVR): As with dashboard cameras, more organizations are implementing MDVRs for training and potential litigation protection. Instead of only capturing what is happening in front of the vehicle, it also captures every other camera attached to the MDVR before, during, and after the event.
- Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS): This is a proactive driver coaching tool. The system informs a driver as an infraction is occurring, allowing them to change their behavior in real time. It also allows Safety and Risk Managers to see driving patterns that they should address before there is an incident.
Whatever path you plan on taking to improve fleet safety, protect your investment by choosing quality safety systems that are effective today, that have a history of integration with other tools, and that can grow with your future needs while protecting your most valuable asset…your people.