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Game changer: can technology make drivers perform like pro athletes?

MalloyTruck drivers and professional athletes have something in common. The pay and prestige of their professions may be worlds apart but both come with a steep price for failure. In a split second, bad performance can cost their business owners thousands, even millions, in lost revenue or in accident and injury claims.

Like athletes, drivers need the right knowledge, skill and awareness to perform at high levels, day in and day out. On the other hand, athletes generally have more time and resources available to analyze film and prepare for game day. For truckers, every day is game day.

Advancements in technology now make it possible to build and sustain driver safety on an immediate and ongoing basis. When behind the wheel, drivers can be alerted to risks in their environment. Advanced vehicle safety systems can also take control of braking and throttle systems, if necessary, to prevent crashes or at least mitigate their severity.

A growing number of fleets also use video-based event recorders and risk management systems to get a more holistic view of driver performance. With this technology, fleets are reporting a new ability to coach and train drivers to achieve better results.

Some technologies, particularly video-based recorders or “dash cams” can be difficult to sell to independent-minded drivers, however. It may take time to counter drivers’ fears of losing their privacy with tangible safety benefits. One strategy to speed acceptance is to take advantage of another trait they share with athletes: the will to win and do their best.

For an in-depth review on the latest advancements in vehicle and driver safety systems, along with first-hand experiences of how fleets are using them to maximize results, click on one or more of the products below:

Meritor WABCO

SmartDrive Systems

Bendix SafetyDirect

Lytx DriveCam

Cliff Downing
Cliff Downing

Only problem is motivation.  Pro athletes live and love the sport.  Truck drivers do not fall nearly into the same category.  They may like it as a profession, but they can live without it.  Things like this can be forced on them, but they do not have to live with it.  Until the compensation and respect are dominate in this profession, then the thrust of this article is pure smoke.  Makes for nice coffee break discussion, but that is about it.   The dash cam idea is not averse to drivers, as long as it is not them that is the aim of the video recording.  There comes a point in all business moves of the case of diminishing returns.


@Cliff Downing  The comparison between drivers and athletes is limited to the technology for training and coaching. Just like athletes watch film to prepare for games, fleets are now using video and data to help drivers perform better. That capability has not existed before. I think we all want to see drivers make a good living. What do you think their annual income should be?

Aaron Huff is the Senior Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. Huff’s career in the transportation industry began at a family-owned trucking company and expanded to CCJ, where for the past 14 years he has specialized in covering business and technology for online and print readers and speaking at industry events. A recipient of numerous regional and national awards, Huff holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University and a Masters Degree from the University of Alabama.